Day 3 Bay of Islands
The next morning we headed out to the Waitangi Treaty grounds. They are significant because the Maori signed a treaty with the British here in the 1800’s. We were blessed with warm and sunny weather and the grounds were just beautiful. We spent about 2 hours looking at the Treaty House, exploring the amazing grounds and taking in the extensive views of the area. The area had a real “San Juan Islands” feel, with the flora and fauna of a more tropical climate, like Hawaii.
Our guidebook recommended the cafe on site for lunch, and we decided to eat there because of the lovely ambiance even though the prices seemed high; most of the entrees were in the $18-22 range. Marc got fish and chips ($22) and I got a pumpkin, pine nut, mint and cheese ‘salad’ ($10) that was quite delicious. Lunch was $32. We skipped dessert but they looked delectable.
After the treaty grounds, we went back to the hostel. We decided to go on a “Hole in the Rock” boat cruise, even though we had been advised to go in the AM when it’s less windy. Bob booked it for us and we got a backpacker’s discount ($80 pp). Bob also advised us to go to Russell for a good swimming beach. As we set out towards the Paihia wharf for our cruise, it began to cloud over. The boat was packed full of people and we got the last 2 seats in the outdoor seating area. We did see dolphins on the cruise, but there were so many people it was hard to see over them and it was also hard to get any good photos. I wish we had done a dolphin swim cruise instead… The weather was by now very windy and overcast and even though we were wearing pants and jackets, I was still way too cold. The water was extra choppy and I was glad I had put on a Transderm Scop patch that morning… Someone on the boat was quite ill and threw up multiple times. We were supposed to stop at Urupukapuka Island, but because of the rain storm that was hot on our tails, the boat didn’t stop there. The cruise was supposed to be 4 hours but ended up being less than 3. They offered to drop people off at Russell and gave out free ferry tickets, so we took this option.
We walked around Russell for a bit and had cappuccino ($4), hot chocolate($4), and a piece of carrot cake($5) at Sally’s near the water. Then we wandered some more and decided to eat dinner at Tuk Tuk, a Thai restaurant. We got a Massuman curry with lamb, Swimming Rama with fried pork and 2 glasses of house wine for $56. The food was good, but nothing to write home about. We caught the 7:00 pm ferry back to Paihia and wandered around Paihia; most of the shops were closed. Marc got 2 scoops of ice cream in a cone ($6) and I ate most of the hokey pokey scoop; it was delish.