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  • Day14

    Bay of Islands

    December 29, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    After 2 days of cold water diving, we were ready for some rest and relaxation. We drove another hour north to the Bay of Islands. This is the area of some of the first European settlements and site of the treaty establishing New Zealand as a country. It's also a popular tourist destination due to, you guessed it, lots of islands and water activities. The accommodations were at a luxury home stay, Point Veronica Lodge, run by two friendly British expats in a fantastic location overlooking the bay.

    We started off the rest and relaxation straight away by enjoying the awesome views from the hot tub. It was the perfect way to wind down after 2 days of cold water diving. We headed into the small town, Pahia, for dinner and made it an early night.

    One of the reasons we chose to stay at the lodge was for the breakfast, which many reviewers had commented on. We weren't disappointed. John did an excellent job commanding the kitchen, cooking up perfect scrambled eggs with salmon over English muffins and lox. They also had a big selection of cereal, cheese, croissants and fruit. We rounded it all out with a couple cups of coffee. On more than one occasion, Nico was asked if he was sure that he didn't want any meat. A common thought by people is that he's forced to not eat meat by Brittany. :)

    The lodge is situated off one of the walking paths that follows the shoreline and leads to the neighboring villages. We ventured over to Opua with full bellies and enjoyed the views of the coast along the way. The entire country sees a lot of rain so there was greenery all around us.

    After our walk, we took the car ferry over to Russell which is a quaint little town that lies on the opposite side of the bay. We wandered through the little town, enjoyed some local oysters for lunch, stopped by a beer garden, and then visited the Pompellier Mission, home of the country's first printing press. The press was used by a French bishop to translate the bible into Maori in an effort to convert the native people. It was surprisingly interesting to see the entire book making process in work, from printing to binding to the leather cover.

    After that, we checked out the nearby Long Beach. Unfortunately the good weather only lasted around 20 mins until clouds and wind moved in. As the (made up) saying goes, if you like the weather in New Zealand, just wait 10 mins and it'll change.

    For dinner, we ate at the Thai/Indian restaurant Greens which actually prepared both cuisines quite well.
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