Bay of Islands

We’ve covered a few kilometers since my last post.

Three days ago, we drove from Hicks Bay to Tauranga. It would have been an interesting trip but there is a very strong anti-cyclone over NZ at the moment and this is bringing some very moist air from near Tonga. We drove all day through drizzle interspersed with a few fine periods. We missed some of the more scenic coastal views. In Tauranga, we stayed at a little boutique hotel (the one where Princess Anne had stayed a few years ago – it beats us as to why she would have been in Tauranga anyway. I don’t think that they even have horses there!). We walked down the hill into town and had dinner in a Japanese restaurant.

Two days ago, we drove to Thames on the Coramandel Peninsular, The weather was much the same, so we missed more of the coastal views and ended up arriving in Thames at about 5.00 pm. All the motels were booked out and we made it to the local information centre just as they were turning the lights out. We ended up staying at a rather overpriced B&B but it was pleasant enough and certainly kept us dry from the heavy overnight rain.

Yesterday, we decided to drive north and as the weather was much better than forecast, we continued right on to Pahia on the Bay of Islands. Not much to report – just a rather long travelling day.

Today, we had a very enjoyable time doing a cruise through the Bay on what was the original ‘cream trip’. This was on a boat that still follows the original route of an old boat that delivered supplies and picked up the cream from a number of outlying islands. We stopped at about 7 or 8 islands dropping off papers and supplies and collecting mail. The highlight of the day was the trip out to an off-shore island on the Pacific Coast with a cave known as the ‘hole ion the rock’. The seas were too high for us to sail through, but we explored the opening from both sides and then headed back home.

We are staying at the Scenic Circle hotel here in Pahaia. There seems to be a large number of waiting staff (mostly young people from Europe) who seem to spend a lot of time talking to each other about procedures, but leaving the guests with minimal service. I think that the trick is to determine one’s entire order and give all the details at once as seems a long time before anyone revisits the table again. We also stayed in one of the Scenic Circle Hotels in Napier. The surname of the duty manager that night was ‘Posthumus’ but I am pleased to say that he was very active and did not live up to any implications of his name.

It’s amazing what you can hear in hotel restaurants. There were two English ladies at the table behind us and they were very disparaging of the heat that they experienced in Singapore on the way here. This place seems to be full of English tourists – all of whom seemed to have come through Singapore. Anyway, at one time they were talking about someone whom they knew who traveled to Quebec on the way to Turkey. Now that must have been one hell of a trip. Where on earth would someone have started from to go to Turkey via Quebec. Beats me!

Anyway, the night is now getting on and I’m off to wash out some smalls!