Hiking Bay of Islands
1st September 2012
It’s time for the Northlands of New Zealand today! I went on a fantastic hike this afternoon through Opua Forest and then on the Coastal Walk that wraps around The cliffs of the Bay of the Islands. While I talk about the place, enjoy the pictures I’ve taken of the walks. Absolutely stunning.
Seeing where the North Road went from my perch in the SkyTower in Auckland, I caught the Naked Bus straight to the Northlands. Okay, Naked bus you say? No I didn’t get naked on the bus. It’s just a brand name that offers no frills. Naked.
I was pretty amazed by the views while the Naked Bus speedily went round the bendy roads and the rest of the morning seemed to go by in a blur. Perhaps waking up at 6am knackered did that to me.
Arriving at Bay of the Islands and Paihia, I could see what lures visitors here to this absolutely breathtaking scenery of the coast, islands and the seas.
So what can I tell you about Bay of the Islands and Paihia?
This is the cradle of European colonisation of New Zealand and focal point for the Maori thanks to the treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s most important document.
In 1840, the British Government sat down with the Maori tribes to work out a way of peaceful co-operation with Maori choosing to do with the land as they wished providing they recognise the Queen of England as their supreme sovereign. However, since then, both the British and Maori have different views and understanding of the treaty and every year on Treaty Day, there have been issues raised. I will go this in more detail when I write a post on my visit to the treaty grounds later.
So why is the Bay of Islands called that? 6 large and 140 small islands scatter in this bay. Most are inhabitable and restricted in order to consolidate the Project Island Song that aims to rid many islands of introduced predators and turn them into wildlife havens. Waitangi island is one of them to preserve the kiwi bird.
I walked from the I-site (tourist information) where the bus dropped me in Paihia to my YHA Accommodation where I met 2 German Guys also sharing my room. Freddie and Stefan. Both invited me if I wanted to go on this hike. Sounds great. Meeting others from the hostel, we all set off through Paihia and into Opua Forest, a 6km trip to the other side.
It was a good walk and I got to know the others pretty well especially as we had to help each with the most challenging aspects of the path that involved scrambling up very steep pathways. We got lost a few times trying to gain access to the coastal walk that would show us the cliffs and stony shores of the Bay of the Islands. Hopefully we didn’t trespass on private property!
I really enjoyed the coastal walk as the sun set. It so was tranquil and the water seemed so relaxing to my mind. I think we were pretty chilled out…possibly too much that we didn’t notice the tide coming in at time so we had to climb over some rocks!
But walking 12km was definitely the workout I needed, so we celebrated by going out to a local pub that evening and played some pool and chatted up some girls. Wicked.
Here’s to the crew!