Sunday, January 8, 2012

Glorious Bay of Islands, New Zealand !

They say that there are more boats than cars in New Zealand and possibly more sheep than people!
The Bay of Islands is the summer boating mecca of NZ. It's a touch of paradise where bays and scattered islands sprawl in interesting patterns into the ocean... as though they have been poured from a bucket from the sky. The desire to be on the water is strong and in many cases it's easier to get from point A to point B by boat or ferry, than to drive around hilly escarpments to the end of a rugged peninsula that juts out into the ocean. Paihia is the idyllic epicentre and hive of activity. I managed to capture these pics of some of the quaint buildings on the quay on a quiet evening.

It was our first trip up North and we revelled in it !
It turned out to be a tourists' delight - (and a romance captured on camera in the middle of the road, for which traffic and pedestrians courteously stopped !) - with backpackers aplenty and a mingle mousse of foreign languages spoken. 

It's also a place where one can indulge in an array of activities from helicopter rides, to kayaking, catamaraning, parasailing, swimming with dolphins, ferry and boat trips between islands and to the peninsula, dining on the boat restaurants, staying on a luxury cruiser, amongst others.  A must-do is to go on a 4 hour boat trip; to view a large pod of friendly dolphins aside the boat, to wend one's way between the islands, to stop over on an island for a picnic and to go through the mystical Hole in the Rock. Those were the highlights for us ! 


                                                                         Russell is an historical town - steeped in early history and reportedly was long ago described as a den of iniquity by Darwin... Long ago there was a whaling station there, and hence the many sailors frequented the rather raucous and lewd nightlife of Russell. Now it's a gentle and respectable village which thrives on tourism; the old and restored buildings home to a buzz of restaurants and holiday lodges. It's accessible by ferry, else one must drive around the peninsula.  

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