Friday 23 February. A small group goes up to Paihia. Driver Seagull tells about Mauri history and New Zealand. One stop is at an 800-year-old Kauri tree. An impressive big tree. Amazing is that the tree let its branches fall, if so there is no trace in the wood of the tree afterward. This was the main reason the British cut 99% of these trees for ships, masts and construction wood. In Paihia a visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a museum about the treaty between the Crown and the Mauri chiefs. A nice guide tells a lot of stories and explains everything. We see a 37,5 m long Mauri boat, the flags and the house where the treaty is signed. A Mauri dance show and the museum completes it. The ferry takes 10 minutes to Russell. And 15 minutes to see the town. Formerly known as the ‘Hell hole of the Southern Hemisphere’. Nice name.
Saturday we take highway 1 up north. Including 90 mile beach. Quite cool to drive over the beach as part of the highway. We stop to take some pictures and then drive through a small river around the dunes. Climb on one of the bigger dunes. Put down the board and rush down. Good fun. Further up to Cape Reinga. A short walk to the lighthouse and nice views on the shores. On the ride back we stop in a Kauri forest. Impressive big trees. More driving and more chatting with Canadian Cate.
In the morning of next day a boat trip through the Bay of Islands. Nice views of the islands and a group of bottle nose dolphins show up. Left and right from the boat. They’re fast. Cool. Further to the sea. A big rock with a hole in it. Shall we? Yes, we sail through the hole. Go around the rocky island and back to Paihia. On the route more dolphins, now the Common Dolphins. And as a bonus some floating blue penguins.