I don’t think my words or my photos can do this place justice, but I’ll try. For Easter break (Friday, March 25 to Tuesday, March 29), I went to the northern most area of New Zealand called Bay of Islands (specifically Paihia, a town) with 5 other mates. 4 (Evan, Karli, Katie, and Justin) also go to Chaptown and 1 (Emelia) is from Maine! We knew each other from our ISA group.
Friday (March 25): We had our 5 hour bus ride up to Paihia and went to the beach once we got there. It was a pretty chill day. We decided no one was allowed to talk about or bring up homework for the next three days. It was a good rule!
Saturday (March 26): Katie, Evan, and I walked 6 km (not used to the metric system yet) to get to this waterfall!
We ran into (not literally, that’d be kinda weird) Tom and Julianna while we were on the trail. I went to Rangitoto with them, so it was a nice surprise to see them again. The waterfall was super brown because it had just rained the night before (so it made it muddy water), but it was still a neat sight.
We all went to Russell for dinner, a short 15 minute ferry from Paihia. We were ordering some pizza when I saw the sun setting, so I ran outside to take it all in. I got a very Pirates of the Caribbean vibe from Russell.
I was actually admiring the stars and the sky, but I just wanted to make a OneRepublic reference. Evan and I decided to stay in Russell for a couple more hours to take the beauty in a bit more, and this was taken while we were waiting for our ferry ride back to Paihia. It was definitely time well spent and the ride back was so peaceful. Being on the water, guided by moonlight, and staring at the stars. It was breathtaking.
Apparently at some point in the middle of the night on Saturday, I yelled out, “MOM!” I guess my subconscious also misses you!
Sunday (March 27): I went on the Hole in the Rock sunset cruise! I was so glad Ben and Kat were also on the cruise because my mates I came with went to Urupukapuka for the day, more on that later.
We spotted the famous ship after we picked up some passengers from Russell. It’s well-known in New Zealand because people can actually go sailing on this working tall ship. I just think it looks really cool.
I didn’t even know seeing dolphins was part of the cruise, but I’m so glad it was! Dolphins are my favorite. We saw HEAPS of them and they kept constantly coming out of the water. If I never take another good photo again, I’ll be happy knowing that I captured this. Also, the water is so so (did I say so yet?) clear here, holy moly. I can’t get over it/probably won’t get over it.
The hole is about 16 meters wide and the boat could actually go through it! ..but we didn’t go through because the water wasn’t tame enough. BUT it doesn’t make it any less cool, I promise! There were also heaps of birds and fish and you could actually see the fish because of the super clear water I was talking about!
The ferry ride my friends were going to take to get back to Paihia broke down, so my cruise captain went and picked up everyone on that ferry ride at Urupukapuka. It was cool to see the expression on their face when they saw that I was on the boat! The sunset wasn’t a bad sight either. I love this place.
This photo makes me laugh. It was really nice to not be on my phone all the time and just be able to take in and be a part of everything around me. So, while there wasn’t always WiFi, I think we all got a better connection ..with our buds, nature, and life in general. 🙂
Monday (March 28): This whole day was action-packed and probably my favorite overall day, by far. We woke up at 6 am and came back around 6 pm.
Taken on the bus ride to the ninety mile beach! I don’t know if it’s possible to take a bad photo in NZ.
The ninety mile beach is a real, registered highway that people can drive on, which is so awesome. I don’t really know how they made it a registered highway, but I’m definitely not complaining about it.
I feel like the clouds here look unreal..except this is real life. Behind the bus are some sand dunes, and we went sand boarding on them after stopping off at this beach for a few photos!
Cape Reinga is the northwestern most tip of New Zealand. It’s also where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meet, so it has that going for it too.
Our final stop before heading back to the hostel was this forest, where we met a 2,000 year-old kauri tree.
Tuesday (March 29): We headed back to Auckland, but not before I snapped this photo.
It’s so beautiful. Look at that photo, somehow make it 10x prettier in your head, and that still wouldn’t capture its beauty. If there’s one thing I’ve truly come to appreciate while being here, it’s Mother Nature.
On the bus ride back, I called Auckland home. As beautiful as Bay of Islands was, it was good to be back. I missed the familiar territory, the hustle of the city life, and even walking uphill. Eh, maybe not the walking uphill part.
It’s safe to say I left Paihia with lots of memories, laughs, and bug bites.
Other highlights before Easter break:
Monday (March 21): I thought I was using the oven incorrectly, but it turns out it’s just broken. Go figure. Kedisha let me use her oven (thanks again, Kedisha!) to cook my pizza.
Tuesday (March 22): I took a photo of this person’s back because it reminded me of Dad..sorry man. (Dad works at WorleyParsons.)
Thursday (March 24): I hung out with Yasmin, her brother, and her friend! Yasmin is also a fellow Chaptown student and went to NZ for spring break, so we met up and grabbed dinner at BurgerFuel. It was so fun catching up, thanks again for hanging out!
So yeah, that was my past week and a halfish and the reason for this late blog post. I’ll be BACK (haaa. I’m so sorry. You can tell my humor hasn’t changed) with another post soon!