Location: Paihia – Bay of Islands (North Island)
Hostel: Haka Lodge – Bay of Islands
To do: Haruru Falls trek, Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Full day tour to Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach (with Intercity).
I was finally out of a city environment and on the way to the New Zealand I’ve always wanted to see. I got on the Intercity bus from Auckland to Paihia and that was a pretty straightforward journey. The bus station was right next to the hostels both in Auckland and in Paihia which made it super easy.
My schedule for this part of the journey can be seen below.
Getting to Paihia around 3pm was absolutely perfect since I had enough time to do the Haruru Falls walk that afternoon with Axel who I’d met whilst checking in at the Hostel.
I didn’t really have this planned but I’m super thankful that the receptionist at the Hostel recommended it. It was the first proper walk/track I did in New Zealand and I was so overwhelmed I actually felt like crying. The Waitangi National Reserve is beautiful and I don’t think I’d ever hear birds singing that beautifully ever before. It’s also right next to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds (protected site of the signing of the first accord between the British Crown and the Maori people), which is obviously quite famous.
The Hostel was also absolutely amazing and had one of the best views I could have hoped for. Everyone was super nice and there was a really good vibe overall.
On the second day I had my full day tour to Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach. What a dream this tour was. The tour guide told us sooo much about Maori history and about more recent events regarding the land and how things have changed etc. He even sang some very traditional Maori songs! I’m so happy I signed up for this tour, it’s definitely worth it.
We went to Cape Renga and where there for a good hour and the 90 mile beach where we spent another hour. I was slightly disappointed when we got to the Kauri Forest since we are only allowed to see a small part of it, the rest is protected.
On the way back to Paihia we stopped at the Mangonui Fish shop (http://www.mangonuifishshop.com/) and we had the best fish and chips I’ve ever eaten in my life. Considering I live in the UK, that’s a big statement.
Advice for Paihia (and north peninsula)
- I’d recommend trying to stay a few more days if you’ve got the time and go see some of the islands. Apparently they’re gorgeous. Unfortunately, I had to prioritise and was only able to stay for a few days since I only had a month in New Zealand.
- Do go to Cape Renga on a tour or rent a car.
- Yes….have those fish and chips at the Mangonui Fish Shop. What a dream that was =D