Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Bay of Islands by car and boat :)


Yesterday we very effectively emptied our tank by driving the long way to Russel. It was a beautiful trip, partly on gravel road, through the bush and some more amazing untouched landscapes.
We were forced to fuel up in Russel on the only gas station within miles - New Zealand's oldest gas station operating since 1930. The age added to the price, obviously: 14c/litre more than elsewhere.

We had a walk on the beautiful "Long Beach" right next to the town, with clear blue and green waters that really tempted me to go swimming. My feet were in at least :)

And to round up the day we did the Tapeka Point track to a stunning lookout - in about half the time it was supposed to take. Nobody can say we don't do sports here...
From up there we could see the whole Bay of Islands. It was a stunning view.

The school busses really seem to go everywhere - even at the places that are only accessible by gravel roads like this one :)
Kay fighting for good shots :)
One of New Zealand's specialties. The cooler version of Sprite

The boat perspective

We were lucky! Just as we had already decided that we should go north today, we got a message from a local who offered to take us on a trip with his boat! David lives at a house that can only be reached by boat, depending on the tides.
He took us on his 'dinghy', a small motor boat, and showed us some great places around one of the Inlets of the Bay. We even landed on a small island and had a little walk over it.
David grew up here and had some great stories to tell - for example how they had to row all the way to town every day as children to get to school.
He also took us on board of his friend's ship, an amazing 150 year old sailboat called 'Iris'. We loved it. There were many original pieces left inside, but some modernisations as well, such as a motor.

Many people actually live on boats here in the harbour. We were immediately infected with the idea :) Must be really cool to have your own floating home and be able to go wherever you want with it. And some of those boats were really big enough for whole families to live in.

On the way back David pointed out some shipwrecks to us. Hard to imagine how they came to be, but apparently there are people who are lucky enough to have an own boat and then just forget about it and let it rot or sink.
 But it was impressive, how nature conquered it back with mussels covering it and even some trees and grass growing on the top.

We had an amazing day on the water and were really happy the boattrip worked out (without us having to pay for one of the big ferry companies) and we got to know another friendly Kiwi.

Tomorrow we head north to Cape Reinga...


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