I have just returned to the urban jungle after a two night stay in the seaside oasis of Paihia in the Bay of Islands.
I have always really enjoyed time spent in Paihia - the setting on the water is outstanding; with golden beach and blue water at your feet and picturesque small, green islands framing the scene.
A half day walk with ferries in between
On this occasion took a half-day walk around the area which began and ended at Paihia. The track took us to Opua where we caught a ferry. From there we walked along a newly formed track to Russell where we caught the ferry and returned to Paihia. Warmed and fuelled by an excellent coffee we headed off.
Paihia to Opua
From Paihia to Opua is an easy walk along the beach, through well-formed tracks in the bush and across boardwalks in the mangrove areas. Seats have been positioned to give you great views both up and down the harbour.
We kept walking past the marina until we came to our second coffee stop. This time we indulged in the luscious food as well as we gazed at the marina and the remote valley beyond. Onto the ferry - a budget-blowing $1 each and off we went across the harbour.
Okiato to Russell
The ferry lands at Okiato which was the first capital of New Zealand - and I had always thought it was Kororareka. Anyway whoever chose it must have loved the view! The Russell side of the track has recently opened and is a testament to the hard work of the Rotary Club.
The stages of the track are clearly marked and the track is in very good condition. The first stage winds through wetland, then goes into a wonderful section of native bush. You do have time to admire it, as some parts are steep. Breathtaking view and terrain - well worth it! The second stage was bush again, but regenerating bush felt more like European woods than New Zealand bush. The birds liked it too.
The third stage took us down to Orongo Bay - another moment in NZ colonial history but today a very productive oyster farm. Boardwalks across the bay gave wonderful views at ground level and gave us the opportunity to view the manganese rocks - an earlier source of income for the area.
A pleasant stop at Russell
The final stage was also flat walking through a tidal bay and close to sandy beaches as we approached Russell. By that stage we were ready for another coffee and were spoiled for choice once again. This time served by a "wench from the 1800's" as Russell is currently in celebratory mode of their early settlement days and all staff are dressed appropriately. The coffee was definitely contemporary however, and thoroughly appreciated as we enjoyed the waterside view and congratulated ourselves on our great walk.
Just time for a visit to the Art Gallery - well worth the visit too - then onto the ferry and home to Paihia and another amazing night of warmth, hospitality AND very comfortable beds at The Outrigger Motel with Greg and Suzi.
Bushwalking, beach walking and boardwalking
We thoroughly recommend the walk. We experienced bushwalking, beach walking, boardwalking. We encountered some amazing vistas, native bush, flora and fauna as well as historical sites and are left with some very happy memories of the walk and the beautiful Bay of Islands.
Lindsay Amodeo was a guest of Suzi and Greg's at Outrigger Motel in Paihia.