Hello again. As i said in my last entry i have just returned from a three day jaunt up to the Bay of Islands north of Auckland. We left very early on Thursday morning on my first Kiwi Experience bus. It did not take long to get out of Auckland and it was really nice to see some countryside after a couple of days in the city. It took us about 4 hours to get up to a little coastal town called Paihia which is situated in the Bay of Islands. The great thing about the bay of islands is that they are in the sub-tropical part of New Zealand meaning that it was going to be hot. When we arrrived we were given a list of all the best things to do in an around Paihia. A number of us decidied to take atvantage of the good weather and head out into the BAy of Island on a boat to exlpore. But we did not choose any boat, we chose a boat called the Excitor. The excitor is a speed boat with a 1600 brake horsepower engine which can shift at a speed of over 45 knots. So we boarded the boat with all our wet weather gear on because we were warned just before we were about to leave that there was a rain storm heading our way. But this was not to be no ordinary rain storm. I have never been in such heavy rain. It was so heavy that is stung the skin worse than hail. And if you then combine this with a face moving at 45 knots it is a recipe for pain. So for the first 15 minutes of the trip we were all huddled over ourselves trying to protect any bare skin against the bombardment. Luckily it then cleared up but the waves and swell that the storm brought with it did not. This made the trip even better because it meant that we were crashing through the waves and taking off and everything. When we got to our destination, the Hole inthe Rock we had to wait about 10 minutes before we could go through the hole because of the 10 - 15ft swell. Anyway we got through and then we came across some dolphins which was a bonus. It was then back to Paihia via a look at some of the smaller Isalnds in the bay. On Fiday i decided to upgrade my bus pass and pay a little extra for the trip up the Cape Ranga, the most norther part of New Zealand. This involved about a three hour drive up via the rainforest where we stopped to wander around briefly. It was then up to the cape to see the famous view of the light house and the meeting of the two seas, the Pacific and the Tasman. We could not have asked for a nicer day as there was hardly a cloud in the sky. After the cape we dropped down onto a small beach nearby where we stopped for lunch and a quick dip in the Pacific. After lunch was the main activity of the day SandBoarding. This was different to the one in Peru because this time it was on body boards and was about 4 times as fast. Then came the drive back to Paihia which was along the famous 90 mile beach. Our bus was specially designed so that we could drive down the river to get onto the beach and then drive 60 miles along it. Today was a quiet day which i took to explore Paihia. Paihia was the location of the signing of the treaty between the British Empire adn the Moauri Chiefs. There is a museum to comemorate this which was really interesting. Then as the weather was so good again i spent the rest of the day, before cathing the bus back to Auckland, sitting on the beach reading. Anyway it is nearly time for bed as i am absolutely wiped. I am in Auckland tomorrow (Sunday) and then i head off on Monday morning for the first leg of the bus south to Mercury bay. I hope everyone is well at home and that everything is going well lambing wise. I will try and upload my photos soon and i will write again soon.