Travelling to the Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands

Imagine waking up, strolling 50m to a coffee shop for a large flat white (Kiwi classic) and proceeding down another 50m to the beach.

Sand, water, islands and just the sound of the small waves brushing the shore spreading out like lace before sliding back into the ocean.

Long weekend (Auckland Anniversary weekend) and I’m not in the UK, where I used to plan extensively and make the very most of every long weekend. Instead I’m here in New Zealand and I did take a road trip up north of Auckland (first time in my life) to the incredible Bay of Islands.

Paihia - sunny the day I arrived

Paihia – sunny the day I arrived

I’ve stepped it up a notch these days and while I stay at backpackers I treat myself to a private room since it’s only for a few days. The Mousetrap Backpackers were a clean and quiet option, very close to the beach and town.

First day I arrived the sun was beaming and I was shattered – this is the most I’d driven since being back in NZ after 6 years of no driving. It was a good 3.5 hours in total with a stop in Whangarei for lunch (information centre just before town where there was plenty of parking and clean toilets!). From Whangarei it’s not too far, so that was a good break-point in the driving.

View of the Bay of Islands from the beach in Paihia

View of the Bay of Islands from the beach in Paihia

Onwards, as I enter Paihia, my base in the Bay of Islands, I see stunning vistas. Taking myself on a few ‘tiki tours’ I hunt out a few good spots for photos before settling into Paihia itself. By ‘settling in’ I mean, going for a swim and checking out the town. The water wasn’t super clear because there had been rain, but it was pretty warm which was nice. Strange thing is that most people sat on the grass by the sand rather than the sand itself!

It’s interesting noticing the people around the town, they’re not Kiwi’s, they’re tourists. Seems in my effort to see more of New Zealand I’ve taken the tourist route more than once! I start to remember that it’s a common thing for Kiwi’s to just ‘head to the bach’ with family or friends on long weekends, rather than going to a new spot and being a traveller.

Dinner had to be fish n’ chips by the beach as the sun goes down… doesn’t get much better than this!

Paihia - perfect fish n' chip spot

Paihia – perfect fish n’ chip spot

Stay tuned: Next stop was a day trip to Russell!