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Day 3: Bay of Islands and Uretiti

April 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Friday, 02 April, 2010:

Sleep was interesting last night.  I slept great for a few hours, but then all of a sudden I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep for the life of me.  So what does a rational person do?  I went outside!  It was cold, but I bundled up in my sleeping bag and stayed warm.  I was able to sprawl out on the ground, and I slept really well until about 5 am when I felt a few raindrops.  I decided then to go back inside.

Puriri Bay campsite

The first campsite I stayed at. Located on the Whangaruru North Head, the campsite is the first DOC campsite I found that was busy enough to (usually) require advanced booking.

Dogs Kill Kiwi

The Kiwi is almost a mythical bird--it's the national icon of New Zealand, and yet it's nearly impossible to catch a glimpse of one. They only come out at night, and even then, it's rare.

I went for a short walk around the campsite in the morning.  Went through a small field, but I left when I found out it was a private farm.  I got in my car and headed up the windy road to Russell.  There wasn’t much to the town, but I did see some historic landing site and a nice beach.

Rocky Bay

I really wanted to swim out to that rock and climb up it, but didn't because the water was cold.

Flowers of the Mast

Flowers in front of the flagstaff on Flagstaff Hill in Russell. The flagstaff has historical significance in the early relations between the Maori and the British colonials. Originally erected as a sign of peace, it was chopped down a few times when the Maori became unhappy with the relationship.

Once you got to Russell, you either have to drive the 1.5 hours of windy road back to the main highway or take a ferry over to Paihia.  So, I caught the car ferry from Okiato for $10.  It’s funny, because the town of Okiato doesn’t really exist except for the ferry.  I was driving, and all of a sudden the road ended at the water, and you drove up on the ferry–no warning.

Car Ferry

The car ferry between Okiato and Opua in the Bay of Islands. Both are minor towns outside of the two major towns in the area (Russell and Paihia). Either way, it was the first time I've ever taken a car on a ferry. You just drove to the end of the road and right up onto the ferry.

The Old Boat and Chain

View from the car ferry.

From there I worked my way back down Highway 1 towards Auckland, planning to stop at the Uretiti Beach campsite.  I took it slow, stopping a few places, including at the Wangerei Falls in Wangerei.  Families were picnicing and people were swimming, so I hung around for a bit, eating lunch, reading, and taking pictures of the falls.

Wangerei Falls

The waterfall just outside of Wangerei up in Northland.

Under the Bridge

Bridge allowing access to the pool at the bottom of the Wangerei Falls

I got to Uretiti, another campsite with a gate.  It was crowded, but I managed to find a spot really close to the beach.  I read on the beach for a little while until it got dark and then got to sleep.

Long Beachline

Uretiti Beach

Shell

On the beach

Full Set: North Island Trip

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