Bay of Islands, Travel Digest, October 2012


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Bay of Islands, Travel Digest, October 2012

  1. 1. 30 October 2012, Travel Digest see a lot more than what you could cover by foot. Russell is full of historic buildings and fascinating stories, which your tour guide can fill you in on. He’ll even give you an insight into how expensive buying property here is today – you’ll be shocked! Afterwards, you can visit Pompallier, an early French Catholic Mission and the only example of Lyonnaise style architecture in New Zealand. Not only a witness to The Birth of the Nation, Pompallier is also a uniquely French Provincial building that stands as witness to wider French influences in New Zealand and the Pacific. As a visitor you’ll receive a unique hands-on experience seeing the mission factory and hearing the stories of the people who worked and lived through these fascinating times of treaty-making and subsequent war. Learn the interesting and lengthy process of how they printed Maori language books for the Roman Catholic Mission – from the printing press to the bookbindery and tanning pits. Paihia is the perfect base to take in the breathtaking beauty of the Bay of Islands and enjoy it’s many activities. Edgewater Palms is a beachfront paradise located in the heart of Paihia offering luxury self- contained one and two bedroom apartments. Russell or Paihia. By now you’ll have worked up an appetite for lunch and Sally’s Restaurant, in the heart of Russell, has one of the best locations along the waterfront just by the wharf. Hosts Sally and Graham Taylor will make you feel right at home and offer good honest food at reasonable prices. From their prime beachfront location, you’ll enjoy watching the world go by and soak up the sunshine and glorious food. And if you’re feeling like a sweet treat, all their cakes are homemade, plus they serve great coffee. Discover 200 years of history in Russell, known by its Maori name Kororareka and described as “the hell hole of the Pacific”. Russell Mini Tours has been running since 1975 and provides a great snapshot into New Zealand’s earliest European history. Their mini bus tour departs daily from Russell Wharf and visits areas of historic interest such as the Giant Sundial, Long Beach, Queen’s View, Tapeka Point and Flagstaff Hill which was cut down by Hone Heke four times during the Flagstaff War in the 1840’s. From here you’ll enjoy stunning 360-degree vistas of the Bay of Islands. This tour is great if you’re pushed for time and if you’ve arrived on the passenger ferry – you’ll W hen you’re in the Bay of Islands, you notice the clear blue waters surrounding the islands. Whether you charter a yacht or launch, dive or snorkel, paddle a sea kayak in and out of the islands or swim with the dolphins. A must-do is the popular Fullers GreatSights Dolphin Cruise to the Hole in the Rock, which takes in some of the best sights of the bay, including the spectacular Hole in the Rock, Grand Cathedral Caves and the Cape Brett Lighthouse. It also includes an island stopover at Otehei Bay, where you can explore the historically significant Urupukapuka Island reserve. The purpose-built dolphin and whale watching catamaran, Dolphin Seeker, cruises past the islands and if you’re lucky enough, you’ll get to see pods of common and bottlenose dolphins up close as they dive in and out crystal clear waters. The onboard tour guide has been showing visitors around these waters for years and knows nearly every single dolphin name! Enjoy the views from the large outdoor viewing deck as you cruise past Cape Brett Lighthouse, before arriving at the majestic Hole in the Rock. Depending on the size of swells, the talented skipper can navigate the catamaran carefully through the narrow 18-metre passageway – but don’t hold your breath! On a good day, you’ll be lucky to spot seals bathing in the sun on nearby rocky islands. An island stopover at the historic Urapukapuka Island reserve gives you time to relax on the beautiful sandy beach before departing the cruise from either From a thrilling adventure to the perfect peaceful retreat, the Bay of Islands has natural beauty, stunning beaches and idyllic islands. SARAH WEEKS explores the birthplace of New Zealand and finds there’s plenty to see. Breathtaking Bay of Islands
  2. 2. 31Travel Digest, October 2012 Bay of Islands chef can be arranged for the stay. Further along Marsden Road, Paihia, the Sea Spray Suites promise convenience and value in smart, modern self-contained suites in one and two-bedroom configurations – perfect for families and extended groups. One of the newest restaurants to hit the Bay of Islands scene is Tito’s Bistro & Bar. Located on Kings Road, within a few minutes walk of the beach, this unassuming bar and restaurant produces some stunning and delicious dishes. Dining here with a group of friends, we all agreed the standout dishes of the night was the pork belly and their spiced creme brulee was simply divine. Guests can expect a high level of food here in a relaxed and sociable environment. Owner Mike makes sure all guests are satisfied and most importantly, have a great night out. Want to enjoy a great BBQ dinner and a cruise along the Waitangi River? Why not enjoy both at the same time with Darryl’s Dinner Cruise. Aboard the 16.5m vessel, Ratanui, Darryl and his team will ensure guests are taken care of as they relax and enjoy this two and a half hour cruise through the Waitangi River. As the sun sets, you can enjoy a drink from their bar and take in the From a pool or garden view to an ocean view or waterfront apartment, all offer a level of comfort and style one would expect at a five-star hotel. Staying in an apartment is a great option for families and groups of friends as it gives you the flexibility of cooking your own meals in their full kitchen with luxury amenities. You also have the use of a full laundry, which is very handy for long-term stays. All rooms have convenient elevator access to a basement carpark and you can enjoy the great sea view from your balcony or patio. As well as a pool and spa facility, there is also a BBQ for guests to use. You’ll definitely leave here feeling rested and relaxed from a great holiday away. The new Heritage Boutique Collection developed by Heritage Hotels already has seven New Zealand properties including the Waterfront Suites and Sea Spray Suites in the Bay of Islands. Set on Marsden Road in Paihia, the elegant Waterfront Suites’ stylishly appointed suites offer superior interior design, modern facilities and a superb location right in the heart of Paihia overlooking the water. Of particular mention is the exquisite three-bedroom penthouse suite ideal for VIP guests where a personal The original 3 Day/2 Night Sailing Cruise around the Bay of Islands. Phone 0800 43 26 27 or email A unique way to experience this stunning part of New Zealand. • Small groups, relaxed atmosphere, great food. • Scheduled trips depart Paihia twice a week. • From $595.00 per person all inclusive. "A highly recommended sailing cruise with an emphasis on marine wildlife and environment" Lonely Planet 2012 Sail, kayak, snorkel, swim and walk - or just relax. * We are currently fundraising to rebuild Longbridge and complete the journey to Opua. All donations welcome Train Timetable We run Friday, Saturday, Sunday all year. School Holidays & Statutory Holidays every day For further information visit or Phone Mike (09) 404-0684 or Mobile 021 171 2697 Email Leaves Kawakawa • 10.45am • 12 noon • 1.15pm • 2.30pm Fullers GreatSights Dolphin Cruise to the Hole in the Rock.
  3. 3. 32 October 2012, Travel Digest Bay of Islands scenery, wildlife and history as Darryl guides the boat through the estuary. The cruise culminates with a delicious seafood entree, gourmet BBQ with your choice of meat and a range of salads at the foot of the gorgeous Haruru Falls – a spectacular sight! The boat can host up to 55 guests and is a great way to socialise and enjoy the sights at the same time. Everyone loves cheap and cheerful fish and chips on the beach in summer but Shippey’s takes this to a whole new level by serving this on a dry docked ship. Located just before the bridge to Waitangi, this place makes a great outing for a group in a fun and family-friendly environment. The history of this ship, Tui, goes back to 1889 when it was used as the old Chelsea sugar boat in Auckland transporting refined sugar all over the country. Today, the boat has been lovingly restored and maintains a lot of its old charm. Owner Andy makes sure all guests on board have a great time with live music regularly playing. The seafood is served fresh daily and sourced locally. Waitangi Treaty Grounds is the birthplace of our nation – it was here on the 6 February 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed between Maori and the British Crown. Whether you’re familiar with our country’s founding document or have no idea about the significance of this document, a visit here is a must. Open daily, you can enjoy the scenery and the indoor shows, crafts and Treaty House Museum, whatever the weather. Their daily guided tours are fascinating and your guide will provide a wealth of information. After your tour, you can enjoy lunch at the local Waikokopu Cafe where they serve a range of local food. Only a 20-minute drive north of Paihia is the Kerikeri Mission Station, home to New Zealand’s oldest standing European buildings: Activities en route the Stone Store and Kerikeri Mission House (Kemp House). Here you’ll discover the history and relationship between early missionaries and local Maori – a story of trade and export and alliances and strategy. The Stone Store is New Zealand’s oldest stone building, built in 1832 to 1936 and was used as a kauri gum trading store. As New Zealand’s oldest surviving commercial building, it’s here where our international trade started. Tours of these two buildings are available daily and the guides are passionate about the artefacts and displays of this important piece of New Zealand heritage. Situated opposite the Stone Store is The Pear Tree restaurant, a historic landmark and the site of the original blacksmiths shed (now used for private functions). The first pear tree planted in New Zealand still grows next to the carpark. Offering everything from a delicious brunch and coffee to an inventive and unique dinner menu – they even make to order! Chef Neil Brazier prides himself on using only the freshest local ingredients. Their pork belly main is to die for and creativity is taken to a whole new level with melt in your mouth sugar-coated banana donuts – who would’ve thought! I dare say this is the best restaurant I’ve dined at in Kerikeri, if not all of the Bay of Islands. W hy not break up the road trip to the Bay of Islands with a pit stop at Claphams National Clock Museum in Whangarei. It all started in 1889 when Archie Clapham’s father gave him a music box for his seventh birthday. This started a fascination for all things clockwork and his collection of 1,400 clocks and music boxes, some extremely rare and most in working order, are now housed in Whangarei’s Town Basin. It’s quirky and different with ticking, chiming, cuckoos, everything you can imagine. It’s actually really fascinating! Located right in the heart of the Waiomio Valley, 20 minutes south of Paihia, you’d never believe you’d find the Kawiti Caves, home to thousands of luminous glow worms, breathtaking rock formations and lush green rainforest. This hidden gem (quite literally) is filled with thousands of glow worms which make up some interesting formations. A guided tour by a local is the only way to explore this amazing maze of caves. As you journey underground you’ll find stalactites and stalagmites, which are thousands of years in the making and glow worms, so close you can almost touch them. Tucked away in the little town of Kawakawa is a true gem and slice of New Zealand history. The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway’s story starts back in 1864, with the discovery of coal in Kawakawa. Opened in 1877, this was the first railway line in the North Island and linked through to the Opua port. The Kawakawa Coal mine became one of the best producers of coal in the country and over the years the railway has had many different uses from shipping frozen meat and cream to a passenger service. Today it’s operated as a great scenic tourist route and at 11.5km, it’s one of the longest heritage railway lines in New Zealand. A great outing the whole family will enjoy. A Hokianga tourism worker has been awarded a joint Aviation, Tourism and Travel Training Organiation (ATTTO) Destination Northland scholarship. Jade Matthews has received a scholarship to train for his National Certificate in Business (First Line Management). Jade, 19, who works at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort Hokianga, was awarded the scholarship at the Northland Tourism seminar in Kaitaia. ATTTO business development manager Wendy Fisher was one of the industry judges on the panel. She said: “Jade impressed us with his professional demeanour, outstanding manners, confidence and positive attitude towards succeeding in his chosen career. Hokianga teen wins scholarship Copthorne Hotel & Resort Hokianga employee Jade Matthews ✈