It was the beginning of the month that saw us embark on our last Stray journey. We had been saving this one for nicer weather as we were informed that it was more ‘tropical’ up north. New Zealand did not disappoint and it was in bright sunshine we left Auckland.
We met our ninth and final driver Muesli and lovely Laura and got chatting about how great the South Island was, something that has become a common theme for us when talking about NZ. (It’s just perfect).
The first stop was to see the infamous Kauri tree (which we had already seen). Muesli told us that the residue on the trunk, which resembles tears, was their own oil which they release to prevent infection. He also told how James Cameron was inspired by the Maori stories of the spirit of the Kauri tree to feature such a tree in his acclaimed film, Avatar. Cameron now lives in New Zealand and works closely with Weta Design on his projects.
Back on the bus to bomb on up to Pahia, our base whilst exploring the Bay of Islands. We had two activities to so whilst here, plus chilling out on the magnificent beaches! First to sign up for the ‘Hole in the Rock’ tour which would be our incredible chance to see dolphins (back in Wellington Skeets had seen an Orca on this tour! Bay of Islands GOALS). The second activity was the coach trip up to Cape Reinga, the Northern most point Northern point of New Zealand. Pass us the paper we will sign up for all!
The three musketeers then hopped over to Russell. Russell holds an important place in New Zealand’s history, being the country’s first sea port, its first European settlement and New Zealand’s first capital in nearby Okiato. It became more commonly known as the ‘hell hole of the Pacific’ due to it once being a community without laws and full of prostitution (imagine Tortuga in Pirates of the Caribbean). Now it is a lovely seaside town. We drank in the oldest pub and mused about life.
Back to the hostel in time for the ‘greatest’ BBQ in the world, oh but they did panic when us veggies came along. Then a night partying with the Brits, and one German of course, and one VERY drunk and very pungent Kiwi. Then away to the fairies we go.
Tomorrow is our chance to see whales and dolphins on the cruise. Fingers crossed!