After almost 3 weeks in Auckland, today we finally started our travels around the country. We hopped on the Kiwi Bus at 7:15am (so early after waking up at 10am for the last few weeks). The first stop was the Bay of Islands in the north of the North Island. We had a pretty long bus journey up, which was filled with organising for our time over the next couple of days, but also included signing up to activities; this afternoon’s being a Eco Dolphin tour.
Once we had arrived we had to quickly grab our stuff and get ready, then we headed out on the boat to go and spot dolphins!
As you can see, the weather was pretty cloudy, but we were hoping it would warm up before we had to get in the water! Obviously as they were wild dolphins, we had to search for them in the beginning, which took a while, but in the mean time we got to look around all the beautiful islands surrounding.
After searching we finally spotted some fins poking out of the water.
We’d managed to find a really big pod, which was so cool, and they all came really close to the boat, so managed to get some great pictures.
We were supposed to be swimming with the dolphins too, however, because in the pod there was a 4 week old baby dolphin, we weren’t allowed as this can be too distressing for them. The baby dolphin was soooo cute, and his name was French Toast – named because he was born the day the All Blacks beat France in the rugby haha.
After everyone had seen everything and taken all their pictures, we left the dolphins in peace to go and have a look around the islands.
And the weather even started to brighten up, which made sitting on the front deck much more enjoyable.
Really cool experience, and amazing to see the dolphins so close.
Another early start today, as we were doing a day trip to Cape Reinga, which is the most northern part of New Zealand. Our driver was called Willy, and he was crazy – don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone talk so much in my life – but he was great fun.
The day started with a quick stop for some breakfast, and then we headed to 90 mile beach.
It was so weird being on a bus and driving down the beach – and seeing other buses just driving down this huge beach!
The main event was collecting these little shellfish which hide just under the surface of the sand, so we dug them up to eat later.
We each had to collect 10
Before hopping back on the bus, the next event was to create a human pyramid in the group. We were split into people in the pyramid, people helping people up in the pyramid, and photographers. I was photographing, and Grace was in the second top level.
It actually was pretty successful!
Whilst on the way to the next activity – which was sandboarding!! – we kept our eyes out for wild horses along the way – and we weren’t disappointed.
We eventually arrived at the sand dunes to do some sandboarding.
We started out on the “beginner” slope, just to try it out, then about 7/8 of us moved onto the “suicide” slope. We also tried some “superman sandboarding” where you had to run and jump off the edge of the dune before sliding down to get maximum speed. It was so much fun!
Next stop along the way was the Cape Reinga lighthouse, one of the most northern points of New Zealand.
It was so beautiful, the water was such a nice colour turquoise.
I’m a very long way from home
Our final stop along the way was to Manginangina walk, which had loads of different plant life, including these ferns.
We rounded off the day with a stop at the local fish and chip shop, to grab some food. They were pretty good! But the best part, was on the bus we had learnt a Maori song, which we then had to sing to everyone in the shop… But the best part was then the audience was called upon to sing back, and a South African couple sang their national anthem and it was absolutely beautiful! Really amazing way to finish the day.
Our final day in the Bay of Islands, we decided to head out onto the seas and do some stand up paddle boarding.
It was a beautiful day, and not too windy so we headed out into the open waters.
On the way back in however, the wind really picked up and it was sooo difficult to get back in, a real work out! But apart from that it was a nice way to round off our time in the Bay of Islands, before heading back down to Auckland for the night.