The Bay of Islands is a place Ben and I had been to a few times when we were younger but to be honest I remembered very little of it. For this reason, I was really excited to be going back and properly explore this area!
Known for it's untouched beaches, historical attractions, and Maori cultural artefacts, Bay of Island's is a prominent tourist destination. The Maori culture in this area is what brought us to the Bay of Island's this time. Ben has been learning Maori since July last year, so for Christmas I brought us a tour on a Maori Waka.
While we were there we also managed to visit some amazing places, including four waterfalls in three days!
One Tree Point
On our way North we saw a 'Tourist Route Sign' and thought let's take that! It really just meant we took about 263181 turn's and didn't see that much scenery, haha! BUT the beach was still really nice and it was a good was to break up the trip.
Located just outside of KeriKeri, Edmonds Ruins, are the remains of a cottage built by a missionary in 1840. This place was pretty awesome, as absolutely no one was around, and the long brown grass and intense heat made me feel like I was in a different country!
A long dirt pathway following a beautiful stream led us to this waterfall and massive swimming hole! There were people everywhere, all jumping from different spots, giving the place such a fun and happy vibe. There was no jumping from me though, I was freaking out watching all these young kids jumping from SO high over rocks.
Blue River Orchard
Anyone who knows me, know's that I LOVE real fruit ice-cream, like I am obsessed with it. When I saw a sign saying 'Blueberry Ice Cream' I was so excited and let me tell you, it was the BEST ice-cream I have ever had and I do not say that lightly haha!
The Kerikeri stone store is New Zealand's Oldest surviving stone building in New Zealand. On the same ground's is also The Kemp House and Rewa's Village which is a full scale replica of a European Maori Fishing Village. The ground's are along the Kerikeri river and are filled with beautiful trees and gardens.
From the stone store, you can walk 20 minutes along the Kerikeri river track to these pretty falls!
Something that made these fall's stand out from other's was the fact that you could walk underneath them! I can't say it was super easy to do this, let's just say, by the time I got there I had mud ALL up my legs and even on my bum?? But it was so worth it! Sitting in a cave, watching the water fall down was quite an amazing experience.
Taiamai Tour's - Heritage Journeys
As I said above, the reason we came to the Bay of Island's was for this Waka Tour! It was truly such an amazing experience. Our guide, Tani, was a local who had grown up on the Waiting River. He taught us how to paddle the waka, and as we paddled our way up the river he spoke of his tupuna (ancestors) and of his iwi - Ngapuhi (tribe). He could recite his whakapapa (genealogy) back 26 generations to the arrival of his tupuna in New Zealand. His immense knowledge and passion for Te Reo (Maori language) and Tikanga (customs) made for an exciting and informative experience. I booked this tour through their website.
We finished the holiday at a beachside restaurant in Paihia, where we ate such a delicious beef burger and fried chicken!! It is one of the best things sitting by the water, in the sun, eating good food!
Our Airbnb Accomodation
I have already received a lot of question's about our Airbnb accomodation, so I thought I would share the link with you! This was seriously the best Airbnb we have ever stayed in! It was on a beautiful 5 acre property, surrounded by fruit trees, chickens, and ponds! Best of all, it had an amazing infinity pool. The pool was next to the main house, but the hosts told us we were welcome to use it anytime! We had a fully self contained studio, behind the main house. It was so clean and tidy and, in our opinion, so much better than a hotel room! Oh and it was also only $80 a night!