Friday, October 11, 2013
New Zealand Diary: Auckland to Paihia-The Bay of Islands
Thursday, October 3, 2013
After saying goodbye to our friends near Auckland, we set the Garmon for Paihia where we are to stay for three nights. Paihia is on the North Island of New Zealand and near the Bay of Islands. We travel north on Highway 1 marveling at how many shades of green there are in the landscape. The several days of rain before our arrival coupled with the sunny day are bringing out the best that the New Zealand spring has to offer.
We stop for coffee in the hopes that it will help keep us awake. Around lunch time, we make a little side trip to what is marked on the map as a beach town thinking that we will find a restaurant or café. The one we find doesn't have anything that appeals to us so we check out the little convenient store just down the road. It has the bottled water we need but no sandwiches. We retreat to the car and find our way back to the main highway while I fish in our backpacks for the two peanut candy bars I stowed away for a snack. They turn out to be our lunch.
It takes us a little over three hours to drive from the Auckland area to Paihia due in part to lots of construction on the roads. Just like back home what we call "orange barrel season" but they use orange cones instead. The road isn't wide enough for barrels.
In Paihia, we wind our way up the hillside to Allegra House, our B&B for three nights. We are greeted by Heinz our host who tsk tsks our choice to drive all the way on the same day we have arrived in New Zealand. He is quick to plug in the water heating pot for tea and present us with some wonderful cookies. He gives us the rundown of the room, the services, and of course where breakfast will be served in the morning.
I only half hear what Heinz tells Bob because I am standing in front of the sliding glass doors that lead out to our balcony space drinking in the spectacular view. We face the town of Russell on the peninsula across from us and off in another direction, we can see several small islands. This is the Bay of Islands. On a cruise to NZ and Australia a few years back, we stopped here, anchored, and took tenders to one of the islands. We learned that it is a big-game fishing area made popular by the writer, Zane Grey, when he wrote of it back in the 1930s.
Keeping true to his philosophy of staying awake as long as possible to adjust to the time change and jet lag, Bob has planned that we will go look at Haruru falls just a few kilometers away from where we are. I wistfully look at the soft pillows and inviting comforter on the bed and sigh.
We find the falls without a problem (love that Garmon) and take the requisite pictures. We try to find a meeting house where a treaty was signed but can't seem to locate it. So, okay, the Garmon isn't perfect but then we are tired and maybe not functioning as well as the Garmon either.
At a nice sized grocery store we find an inexpensive insulated bag, some bottled water, apples, and chips but no sandwiches. We plan to pick up some the next day perhaps at a bakery before we set off on our trip to the northern most point of New Zealand.
Thanks to Tripadvisor we find a restaurant that is recommended. It's a little rough around the edges almost qualifying as a hole-in-the-wall place but the menu looks good. I am surprised and pleased with an excellent meal of chicken, pork, rice, and salad.
It is still early when we return to our BB but I slip into bed to warm up. It has cooled down quite a bit since the sun set and I am chilled as well as dead tired. A few pages into the novel I'm reading and I can't keep from nodding off. I give up and turn off my reading light. As soon as I close my eyes, I'm out, a prayer lingering on my lips that we will sleep through the night and wake refreshed for our first real day of experiencing New Zealand.