Northland is renowned for its beautiful beaches, secluded bays and accessible islands, and is the ultimate destination for aquatic recreation and simple relaxation.
We were first of all heading up to the Bay of Islands, which is a good place to explore the water by boat as well as being one of New Zealand’s top holiday destinations.
Northland is also the place where Maori and Europeans first decided to settle and their shared history is evident throughout the region. Many historic sites remain, and it was here in the Bay of Islands that Maori chiefs and representatives of the British Crown began the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 – for the Birthplace of the Nation.
With more than 144 islands to explore, the Bay of Islands is somewhere we were keen to return to – particularly as we had such a marvelous dolphin encounter on our last trip to the area. Sadly, this time we only saw a few dolphins, and because the wind was a little breezy, making the sea choppy, we also didn’t get to sail through the Hole in the Rock either, nonetheless, we had a wonderful day out on the water.
We based ourselves in Paihia (where a young Charles Darwin paid a visit in 1835 aboard the Beagle), but got the chance to visit the charming towns of Russell (which reminds us a little of Watson’s Bay in Sydney), Waitangi (where the Treaty was signed), and Opua (where we enjoyed a wonderful walk around the harbour) during our few days in the beautiful Bay of Islands.
Only 5kms west of Paihia, we also revisited the Haruru Falls which cascade in a rare horseshoe shape (like a mini Niagra Falls) into the waiting Waitangi River.
Next stop the Far North 🙂