Aug 29th- 31st
Another 3 hour drive back down the coast to Paihia in the Bay of Islands we checked into the 'Caravan Park Bay of Islands' at €15 pp. The site was lovely , set amongst hills and trees with friendly ducks passing by and miniature ponies in the field. The facilities were top notch, free wifi hot showers (€2), bbq area, clean spacious toilets, there was no indoor sitting area but the laundry room had plenty of sockets so we charged everything there. It was to be raining the whole time though and the soil under the tent was gravelly, but over all a lovely campsite.
We were here to visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where in 1840 a treaty was signed between Maori's and the UK to have New Zealand as part of Britain. There had been a lot of terrible mistreating of the Maori previous to this and this would make better for them. It was €35 pp to visit the museum and treaty house, it was deeply interesting and I love being more culturally aware of the Maori culture.
We also made our way across the harbour to Russell, once notorious for its grog shops and whore houses by the passing sailors. We took a walk to the high point in Russell which looks over many of the islands dotted around and looks back on Paihia. The Bay of Islands has more than 140 islands scattered around, the best way to see the beauty of this place would be from a sky dive on a clear day.
We visited the Harura Falls which is only a 5 minute drive from Paihia centre, the falls were cascading over rocks at great force, it was special to look at, but have a feeling we will see more...
Then on the way back down the east coast we went in search of the Waipu Caves, we parked at the side of the road crossed a sodden muddy field and expected to find the caves soon after, we ended up on an hour long trek instead, the ground was wet and muddy and we both took a few tumbles, all for nothing as the caves were indeed right across from the car! The caves were really cool, you need to walk through a river to get deep inside, then turn off the torches to see the wonder of the glowworms.