I spent the last few days in beautiful Paihia in the Bay of Islands at the top of the North island. It is one of them most beautiful places I have seen out here which seems impossible after so many awesome sights. On my first day I booked a boat tour out to the hole in the rock, bypassing some of the 144 islands that make up the bay of islands and stopping on one, urupukapuka for some lunch. Even got to go through the hole in the rock in the boat and saw a pod of bottlenose dolphins on the way back! Afterwards I took a short walk to the treaty of waitangi grounds and saw a cultural show in the only marae that is for the whole of new Zealand rather than attached to one particular iwi.
The next day I booked on another tour to the most northern tip of the North island, cape reinga or Te Rerenga Wairua which means the leaping off place of spirits, a very spiritually significant place to Maori as it's where the spirits of those that die leave the mortal world. The trip included a stop at the ancient kauri kingdom which includes a beautiful staircase carved from the trunk of a old kauri tree found buried in swampland. Scientists still do not know how they trees came to be buried but the wood is used to carve furniture and ornaments as the kauri that is still growing is protected. The trip also included a stop to try sandboarding down the Te Paki Sand dunes which looked like the Sahara to my mind. Although no one wanted to go first cause it looked like a long, steep way down, it was so much fun once we got over the nerves and we had to be dragged away! The day trip ended with a drive along 90 mile beach ( which is actually only 60 something miles long) which is still considered a state highway and subject to all normal road rules, a very unique experience!
Then it was an early start this morning g to catch the coachbto Auckland and a flight to Nelson ready for my South Island adventures to begin!