What a week! Here is what I got up to and recommend if you are visiting the Bay of Islands!
The town of Paihia can be found in the Bay of Islands and is a popular hot spot for backpackers and travelers. Base Backpackers is located just 50 metres from the beach and offers a relaxed environment by day, and fun by night! I was lucky enough to spend a whole week here... this is my Top 10 'Must Do' activities:
1. Explore the Islands!
144 islands make up the bay - each differing in character. There are a number of cruises and ferrys that you can take to the islands. Urupukapuka Island is a favourite of mine. Combine with a morning dolphin experience or a hole in the rock cruise. The island offers untouched beaches, nature walks and amazing views of the Bay of Islands.
2. Get a ferry to Russell - New Zealand's first ever Capital
Russell is a beautiful, beach side historic town that can be accessed by a short ferry ride. Long Beach is located on the far side of Russell and due to its location, is the only surf beach within a 2 hour drive from Paihia.
3. Visit New Zealand's birth place - Waitangi
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are a thirty minute walk from Base Backpackers and is where New Zealand's founding document was signed: the Treaty of Waitangi. The grounds ooze a sense of cultural and historical significance.
3. Swim with Dolphins
The Bay of Islands is a popular spot for dolphin spotting. Dolphins like to visit the bay and Paihia serves as a great location to swim with the curious creatures! Tours depart twice daily.
4. See the 'Hole in the Rock'
The 'Hole in the Rock' is probably the most popular photographed location to resemble the Bay of Islands. Cruises depart from the mainland daily. Combine your cruise with dolphin watching.
5. Cape Reigna Day Tour
Venture to the very top of New Zealand, the bottom of the world and where two ocean collide! Day Tours drive you along 90 mile beach (a registered highway), offer fantastic views of the ocean leading to the middle of no where, the Cape Reigna lighthouse and Sand Boarding!
6. Kauri Forests
Rainforests surround the town of Paihia and are home to the famous Kiwi Kauri Tree - these trees are gigantic and are known to be over 2,000 years old! There are many forests that are just a short drive from Base Backpackers: Puketi Forest & Omahuta Forest are just 20 minutes away
Parasailing is a great way to gain fantastic views of the bay - along with a thriling experience!
The northland region of New Zealand is famous for its waterfalls. Rainbow Falls are just 20 minutes from Paihia - you can either drive and walk 5 minutes to the viewing platform, or take a 1.5 hour walk through the rainforest. Haruru Falls are also close by and are a great place for a dip in the lake - with a man made beach.
8. Kayak to the islands
Feeling adventurous? Hire a Kayak or take a guided kayaking tour to some of the Bay's beautiful islands.
9. Scuba Dive
The coastline is home to a number of shipwrecks that provide unforgettable diving experiences; the Rainbow Warrior, the Greenpeace flagship vessel or the newest wreck - HMNZS Canterbury - sunk for divers in mind
10. Have a Pipi Bomb at Pipi Patch Bar!
Follow Katie on her two month journey around New Zealand at www.facebook.com/basebackpackers
Bay of Islands