Woe, that bread certainly made for some great toast this morning!
Another day of beautiful weather was only matched by the scenery encountered.
Today was spent exploring the Bay of Islands. Captain Cook counted 144 islands in the bay. However, since a more formal definition of an island states that it must have vegetation and never be buried under the tide, the number of islands has subsequently been recalculated to 88 - still a fair few. The rest are now classified as rocks or reefs.
This morning I embarked upon the Fuller Great Sights Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise, a pretty prescriptive title, upon the Dolphin Seeker. Our first stop across the bay was the historic town of Russell, to pick up more passengers. As we left the town, a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins escorted us. A great sight but, unfortunately, not matched by my photographic skills.
We then cruised along the bay, stopping a various points of interest, until we ventured into the Pacific itself to our ultimate goal, Motukokako, aka Hole in the Rock. In Maori, Motu means island. As the name suggests, this is a big rock with a hole in it. When the conditions are right, the boats can sail through the hole. I'm pleased to report that the conditions were right and through we went.
On the way back we briefly stopped off in Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island, where I clambered up a hill for more spectacular 360° panoramic views.
I disembarked at Kororareka, aka Russell, to explore the historic town, which was once known as The Hellhole of The Pacific, due to the reputation of the sailors and whalers that frequented the town. Now it is a romantic, picturesque little town.
I ventured on a little walk to Maiki Hill aka Flagstaff Hill. This was once a focal point of a battle between a Maori chief and the British. I continued my walk to Tapeka Point, encountering many spectacular views. My poor camera took a pounding today. The walk took about 2 hours.
Back in Russell, I caught the ferry back to Paihia. Although Russell is on the mainland, it is at the end of the Tapeka Peninsular, and takes a long time by road.
I revisited 35° South Cafe, not just for the wifi but because last night's meal was so yummy!
This is a spectacular part of the country, my visit being all too brief. But tomorrow it is time to move on.
Distance driven today, just 8km. Distance cruised and walked today, unknown.