Day 344 on the Road
Cruising the Bay of Islands
Today we are jumping on a cruise in Paihia to the Hole in the Rock! If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities AND get some awesome NZ bucket list inspiration then jump on over to our epic YouTube Channel and subscribe!
So this morning we are finally arriving in Paihia which is the hub for water based activities here in the Bay of Islands and of course we are not wasting any time we are getting straight on the water this morning.
So we are making our way through the fog right now from Kerikeri where we have been spending that last few days to Paihia which is the gateway to the Bay of Islands. We are going to be spending over two weeks in the Paihia or under just two weeks in Paihia and explore ever nook and cranny of the Bay of Islands. It starts with a cruise to the Hole in the Rock.
I have to say that the drive from Kerikeri to Paihia at sunrise is absolutely stunning. The sun is slowly peaking through the horizon making everything look golden and beautiful.
As soon as we arrive in Paihia we head straight to the Paihia wharf which is where most of the tours in the Bay of Islands start.
Even before starting our Hole in the Rock slash dolphin cruise with Fuller GreatSights, we are seeing heaps of wildlife already just on Paihia Wharf. We’re seeing all sorts of birds like this cute little kingfisher and then we are hopping onto the cruise.
The cruise we are taking is with Fullers Great Sights which is called the Hole in the Rock and Dolphin Cruise and that’s cos it’s half a sightseeing tour where we get to explore the whole of the Bay of Islands but it’s also gives us the opportunity to do dolphin swimming if we have a dolphin encounter.
During the beginning of the cruise all the people that want to do dolphin swimming while on this cruise are gathered around and given a bit of a briefing of what will happen if we actually encounter a pod of dolphins. They have all the wetsuits and the snorkel gear here so we’re all set up and ready to go. All we need now are the dolphins.
In the meantime, we have a scenic cruise of the Bay of Islands to enjoy.
The Bay of Islands is a real treat to cruise through. It features over 144 islands. that is a tonne of islands if you’re counting. There is a tonne of different sizes, shapes, as well as vegetation and wildlife that you can find around the Bay of Islands so cruising through it is always a little bit different. For example, today we are looking for some dolphins but we might not find any we might see some seabirds and other marine mammals that are sometimes found in the Bay of Islands.
As we are cruising through all the islands we are having amazing reveals of islands hiding other islands. It’s just absolutely stunning. We are taking a million types of pictures and we are basically making our way all around the boat to always try to find some awesome viewpoints if this stunning place on earth.
For example, this island here is Motukiekie Island and we get to see its owner which welcomes the mail boat, yes, cos we’re delivering mail and provisions sometimes to them, with a guitar, they sang to us as we departed. That’s so cool.
There’s so much to see during this cruise that we are given a map with all the points of interest on it. It helps us know what we are looking at but best of all is Taira’s commentary. Taira is both our skipper and our tour guide she uses the microphone around the boat to give us constant commentary about every single island we see.
Taira has been sailing around the Bay of Islands for ages and she knows both the stories of the inhabitants on each different islands as well as the story of the island itself. I really enjoy listening to her in-depth commentary the whole way.
After a wee while, we are keen for some wildlife and Taira knows it so she finds us Seal Rock. Seal Rock is a very known part of the Bay of Islands where basically there is a massive rock and heaps of seals.
The boat circles the rock several times giving us awesome views of the huge seal colony there’s about 30 seals here right now and they have all moved up to The Bay of Islands for winter because yes, believe it or not, it is winter right now and that’s why they call the Bay of Islands the Winterless North cos it’s always got awesome weather.
The New Zealand fur seals are absolutely adorable and after spending a lot of time looking at them we continue on the rest of our tour going to the highlight of the day which is the Hole in the Rock. Meanwhile, Robin and I go into the little cafe that’s in the middle of the boat to pick ourselves up a nice hot drink to keep our hands warm. And to be honest, there’s nothing better than having a nice cup of coffee to some awesome views.
Yes, we finally arrive at the crown jewel of the tour. This is the Hole in the Rock. It’s a stunning rock standing 148m tall above sea level this makes it a breeze for the boat to sail right through.
In real life this hole in the rock is called Piercy Island or Motukokako in Maori it’s a well known island where lots of seabirds are nesting. The Hole in the Rock is at the end Cape Brett where we can see the Cape Brett Lighthouse. It’s a super isolated lighthouse. I really don’t know how people were living here back in the days because yes, it used to be operated by a man we can see his old house there as well.
But luckily now it’s operated by a big computer cos you know, who can live that isolated? There is no way you can check out Instagram or Facebook!
The Hole in the Rock marks the turning point of our cruise. We are now gonna be making our way back toward Paihia but it’s gonna take us a wee while we’re gonna go through a tonne of absolutely stunning islands and we’re gonna see a few extra sights plus, we also gonna be able to unboard the boat and check our Urupukapuka Island.
As everybody is unboarding the Dolphin Seeker we get about 30 minutes to enjoy the island. There is plenty of stuff to do on Urupukapuka Island. There are some awesome hikes, and some awesome viewpoints we actually get back onto the island in a few days cos there is so much so explore there but because we only have about half an hour we decide to find ourselves a nice little spot on the waterfront and have our lunch. And it’s not cos I have a broken arm that I can’t be a clown.
Urupukapuka Island is such a stunning island with its beautiful clear waters its long stretching white sand beaches and there’s actually a few walks that you can do to explore the island as well. But for us our walk is taking us back toward the Dolphin Seeker where in fact, we actually see loads of fish in the water cos the water is that transparent.
However, it looks like it’s the fish and the birds are the only wildlife we’re going to be seeing today cos yes, we haven’t seen any dolphins. Nevertheless, the guys at GreatSights do offer no-expiry vouchers to come back literally any time for free and try our luck again at swimming with dolphins whether that’s in a week or 20 years time.
Back on the boat we enjoy a super relaxing cruise making our way back toward Paihia. The Hole in the Rock cruise is definitely an awesome way to explore the Bay of Islands seeing all the highlights and we are super stoked that we made it our first activity here but make sure you subscribe guys cos we actually have so much more planned in the Bay of Islands so you’re not gonna want to miss a thing.
For us now we are heading our accommodation for our stay in the Bay of Islands which is Base Backpackers otherwise known as the Pipi Patch.
Did you get that?