Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Dark Side of New Zealand

Bay of Islands is so far the best of the islands I have visited. It has many interesting historic towns including Paihia, Russel, Waitangi and Kerikeri. I, myself, cannot believe that I have explored the bay up to the edge of the world at Cape Brett.  

But before I lost control of jumping to the climax of this story, let me start with our scary flight via Air New Zealand from Auckland to Kerikeri.

Hole in the Rock ~ Cape Brett NEW ZEALAND
I am not used to fly with small aircraft with only 8 passengers on board. Though it's not the flight itself which is scary.

Kerikeri Airport - Bay of Islands NEW ZEALAND
The drama actually started when we touched down at the small Kerikeri airport.  

It's barely six o'clock in the evening with no one around except the person manning the airport facility. All other passengers seem to know where to go.  Most of them, including the pilot, went straight to the parking area,  took their cars and left.

We were supposed to take a shuttle bus bound for Paihia as per my arrangement with the resort.  And yes, the mini bus came, parked near the exit door, but, who knew they were there to pick us up?

The bus driver thought that there's no passengers left at the airport. She was right.

Why? 

It's because we just followed the pilot and other passengers to the parking area. 

Oh Christ! it was so dark in and around the building as I saw the only person turned the lights off and locked the building.  I was worried!

He saw us and called to inform the resort. After the phone call, he said that the van will be coming in the next thirty minutes, so we had to just wait outside.  

Before he drove off, he said to stop worrying as there is nobody at the airport except me and my better-half, and that their town is a safe place. The way he said it made the situation more scary.

Then what happened next? The two of us were just sitting in the cold. Then, I saw a van from afar coming to our direction. It is obvious, there is no other road leading to Kerikeri Airport. It arrived and stopped in front of us and the two lady drivers came to our rescue. I was downright ecstatic!

So, why didn't I anticipate and do research on this before I fly to this small town?

New Zealand which is my favourite destination has its dark side. Don't get me wrong! It is in a remote area and the airport needs a facelift.

In spite of all this mis-communication, I find the people friendly and helpful. The driver and her companion tried to make us feel comfortable as we pass through the darkest road from Kerikeri Airport all the way to our destination. End of the story.

Town of Paihia - NEW ZEALAND
It is our first day in the land of Kiwis. 

I familiarize myself around my spacious accommodation at the Club Paihia Resort,  a partner of the timeshare I own at QVIClub.  It's a great place to stay being on the side of a hill and a 5-minute walk to the centre.  

Mind you, Paihia is a tiny town, and yet, the centre is full of great selection of shops and restaurants. 

The resort occupies more than six acres of mostly covered with beautiful native bush that offers recreational facilities including swimming pools, spa pools, barbeques, gymnasium, tennis court, outdoor chess, bicycle, orchid house, and landscape full of native flowers, giant ferns and unique plants.

The town of Paihia is entirely beautiful!

Kiwi Friends - Paihia NEW ZEALAND
The Kiwis (the nickname used internationally for the people of New Zealand; it seems they are proud being called one) are nice people. I find them very friendly and hospitable. 

I am on my early morning walk from the resort when an elderly couple strikes a smile and express interest in talking. They live in an RV parked on the shore in Paihia beach. They tell stories about their families, their sons, and daughters. "We all live in different places in New Zealand," he says with a sigh. As we continue our conversation, I can sense that they are missing their children that much. They are very sweet and caring.


Lighthouse in Cape Reinga - NEW ZEALAND
I explored Cape Reinga at the northernmost point of New Zealand. 

I walked up to the lighthouse and took in expansive panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea.

A trip to the Cape would not be complete without making the journey up or back along spectacular Ninety Mile Beach, regarded by many to be one of the best surf casting beaches in the world.

Here you will find the most spectacular views, the mighty Kauri trees and the gigantic sand dunes. If you take a coach tour you will enter or exit the beach at Te Paki Stream, where many visitors stop to sand surf the dunes that signal access to the beach.

You might be lucky enough to see some of the many wild horses that live in the area. That is exactly what our tour guide told us. "Keep an eye and let me know if you see one," he says.  In the end, we did not see a single horse, whether wild or not!

Otehei Bay -NEW ZEALAND
The islands have sub-tropical oceanic climate with warm humid summers and mild wet winters, you can enjoy beach and water activities, go exploring one of the many nature walks, swim with dolphins, charter a boat to go fishing or to explore the 144 different islands at the Bay. It is an experience that I will never forget.  

Taking a ferry from Paihia and stop at Otehei Bay, Cape Brett and the town of Russel is an experience that you don't want to miss.
  
Each town in the Bay of Islands has it's own unique culture and lifestyle. From the more up-market lifestyle focus of Kerikeri, to bustling Paihia with its focus on providing a great visitor experience, to the calming historic atmosphere of Waitangi and the Haruru Falls, and the beautiful and sometimes quirky sea-side town of Russell.



The Bay of Islands is New Zealand's great holiday destination ~ enjoyed by 'Kiwis' and foreign visitors alike.

This is authentic New Zealand ~ 100% Pure ~ stunningly beautiful and historically significant.  New Zealand is now on top of my favourite destinations.

Moreover, Australia is close by.  You might as well include it in your itinerary.  It is equally beautiful!

If you plan on visiting the country of the Kiwis, send me an email or leave your comments here, if you have something to ask.

In the meantime, enjoy the photos I took on my journey.  Please drop me some lines if you like them.  


Happy travels!
Bay of Islands  ~ NEW ZEALAND 
Travel with me in New Zealand through Photos


From the desk of: 
Freddie Miranda
A blogger and a Canada-based freelance writer. He shares the value of his travel experiences and discoveries with his friends and fellow travellers. Share your passion, join and visit him. Send a message  @ fromatravellersdesk(at)gmail.(dot)com.


Russel ~ NEW ZEALAND

Russel ~ NEW ZEALAND

Surfers in Cape Brett ~ NEW ZEALAND

Paihia ~ NEW ZEALAND

Club Paihia ~ Paihia NEW ZEALAND

Paihia Shore ~ Paihia NEW ZEALAND

Paihia Shore ~ Paihia NEW ZEALAND

Paihia ~ NEW ZEALAND

Paihia ~ NEW ZEALAND