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There is something about the Bay of Islands. Perhaps it’s the clarity of light that renders the colours so intense and varied in hue? Perhaps it’s the residual warmth that is characteristic of the subtropical north? Add to this the more leisurely approach to life up north and the stresses of any travel-weary body are soon washed away.
The Rock Overnight Cruise has weighed off the magical formula that captures all these intangible elements, delivering them in one memorable 22-hour boat trip through the 144 islands that make up this archipelago.
Leaving Paihia in the late afternoon sun, the guests are shown to their accommodation, invited to a welcome drink and left to relax as they cruise away from the bustle of town. Activities are readily available throughout the evening, all with expert guidance: from fishing and target shooting to night-kayaking and night-swimming.
By the time you settle to a barbecue dinner, there is great sense of camaraderie among the passengers. The warmth of the staff is genuine; it’s clear that they live for the moment and love to share this beautiful place and their unique vessel with their guests.
Dawn on the water in the Bay of Islands is a serene and exquisite experience. It as though you’ve caught the world out, before it has yawned and rubbed its eyes. At first light, the ocean is mirror calm and the sun’s early watery rays have a contented kind of warmth. It’s the sweetest breakfast you could ask for.
As the day warms up, the activities get going: there are island walks and beach games, kayaking the crystal clear waters and snorkelling for kina. Of course, you can’t forget the ever present wonder of nature that surrounds you – lively birdlife, colourful underwater wonders and, with luck, a visit from dolphin or orca.
If you are going to spend just one night on the water in the Bay of Islands, make sure it’s this one.
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