|Day 5 and another glorious day dawned in Russell.mick was up early photographing the endangered and supposedly rare pair of Weka birds that have taken up residence in the motel gardens. We checked out and then went to the wharf to see if the R. Tucker Thompson had been repaired overnight and was taking passengers. It was, so we watched it sail away once more, enjoying once more our memories of the great sailing adventure the previous day. We left Russell township after coffee and muffin and stopped at the boardwalk on the way to the car ferry at Opua. The boardwalk through mangroves is part of a longer walk between the two towns, which we would've liked to do had we been staying longer. Also on the way to Opua we found an oyster farm and bought a dozen natural for our lunch. Just harvested that morning. Got off the ferry and stopped at a wayside stop with a great view to eat them.
After lunch we headed to Paihia, a very popular beachside town, very commercialised with helicopter rides, lots of classy accom, restaurants etc. happy we chose to stay in Russell.
From Paihia we visited the nearby Waitangi Treaty Grounds, but were not prepared for the cost and three hours required to do the tour, so we moved on to Kerikeri. On the way stopped in at Haruro Falls which are impressive. Drove round in circles for a bit trying to find Pagoda Lodge on the inlet road, and did so eventually. Our host told us we were upgraded from pear tree cottage (very small) to silver fern caravan (twice as big). Disappointed about cottage, but van was tastefully decorated and fine. The setting is sublime. We grabbed a kayak and paddled down the Kerikeri River for an hour before tea. So beautiful. Lots of impressive yachts moored in the inlet which is tidal. Pity we can only stay one night here. A French duo camped next to us. Their beautiful language kept us entranced as well, although their English was also excellent.
Went into town for supplies for tea and vino. Coked swordfish on the BBQ and ate with salad. If this is sounding ideal it really was. Peaceful Pagoda. Except for the ducks and geese that were persistent, but added to the quaint atmosphere. Highly recommended.