Bay of Islands: The Final Chapter

When I arrived back in Paihia after my trip to Russell, which I covered in my last post, I decided to hunt for some more sea glass. The evening light was beautiful, and I couldn’t resist the lure of more treasure.



Again, I found an inredible array of sea glass, and this picture only shows a small fraction of it. Blue! Yay!


I turned in for the evening after this, since I had an excursion booked for the next day, my last full day in Paihia. I had met some fellow travelers at my hostel, and they encouraged me to sign up for the “Rock Cruise,” one of the bay’s many adventure trips. It seemed like a deal, so I decided to join them. Georgie was British and her friend Alex was from Germany, and we we set out bright and early the next morning.

A ferry took us out to “The Rock,” the name of our boat, since it’s too large to dock at Paihia’s wharf.


Finally, we glimpsed The Rock.


It’s really an interesting creation. You can stay overnight on its upper deck, and the lower level features a bar. It’s more like a floating pub than a boat.

Our first stop was to go snorkeling, but it took a little while to get there. The Rock doesn’t travel too fast, so we enjoyed the view from the back deck and donned wetsuits in preparation.



Is it possible to not feel incredibly awkward in a wetsuit? I think my pose says it all.


The snorkeling wasn’t that great, since the water was still pretty chilly and there were only a few fish to be seen. The cruise hosts dove for Kina, a New Zealand sea urchin known for its roe. I preferred the view above water and headed back to the boat before too long.


Here’s a shot of the bar


Not bad at all for a boat, but it was a bit early in the day for drinks. I think it might be more fun during an overnight stay.

I also had time to examine a funky starfish that one of the hosts brought on board.


Next, we headed to Motuarohia Island for a quick climb to an incredible vantage point.



We had some free time after that to explore, so Georgie, Alex and I headed down to find some lagoons we had spied from above.


I wished we had more time, because the shallow water was really warm and the island itself was gorgeous. I wouldn’t have minded relaxing there for a few hours.


We moved on to another lagoon, which was a little off the beaten path.


Anything that requires more effort to reach is usually deserted, so that was a definite plus.



We waded through the water and enjoyed the surrounding beauty before realizing it was time to head back to the small shuttle boat that would take us back to The Rock. When we started trekking back, it was clear they were about to push off shore without us. Luckily, I got to them first and we were able to wait for Georgie and Alex. I’m not sure why they didn’t think to count the passengers. However, if I had to be stranded somewhere, I wouldn’t mind it being on Motuarohia.

We started the slow ride back towards Paihia, while our hosts showed us how to properly split open Kina to reveal their roe. It was a tad bit brutal, but apparently they are invasive in NZ’s waters and catching them is encouraged. We were all able to try some roe, and despite its unappetizing appearance, I went for it.



What can I say? I’m always up for a challenge.

It actually was pretty decent, and it makes sense that it’s typically a sushi accompaniment here.

As we neared the point where the water taxi would pick us up again, I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t do this type of excursion again. I usually like to go off on my own and do things, but if I do book something, I want it to involve a full, action-packed day. The Rock was more suitable for people who want to relax, drink and just stare at the view. We really didn’t get to do much, despite spending around six hours on board. Still, not a bad day overall.

Farewell, Paihia!


Next, I venture to the far north of New Zealand in my handy rental car.

2 thoughts on “Bay of Islands: The Final Chapter

  1. Love those lagoons. And kudos for trying the urchin!


    1. The lagoons were just incredible. The photos don’t even do them justice. You’d like the urchin, I think. It’d be great on top of some sushi.


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