Went to the Bay of Islands, all the way up north on New Zealand’s Northern Island. Captain Cook landed here in 1769 and claimed the Islands for England. That was before he got eaten, of course. Apparently, in this spot on the island the maori tribes also signed the treaty with the English that allowed for the founding of the state of New Zealand. So, justifiably, kiwis are mighty proud of this area. It’s plenty beautiful, too.
I rode up here on an intercity bus that cast some interesting figures: The bus driver had a penchant for old “Schlagermusik” (not only ballads, but downright schmaltz) that he played on the bus’ PA system and sang along with it … loudly, unfortunately, and out of key. Right behind me a maori mother with her three year old son. No matter what the mother said, the kid just did whatever it wanted, including walking up to the driver and trying to crawl onto his lap … and these New Zealand ‘highways’ aren’t all that straight or wide .. and then there’s the compulsory couple of German backpacker girls that can be overheard discussing in a whining, nasal tone everything they think is wrong with this country … Thank God for my ipod … Still, on the roadside in the middle of nowhere we passed a little piece of architectural marvel: The Austrian builder and artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser left his traces by building a toilet in one of the little places along the way up north.
Once in Paihia, the little town in the Bay of Islands, I landed in a backpacker place where the room came with a free bike. I gladly used the wheels to ride around town and towards the waterfall. Before I left, my backpacker hostess told me that the road to the water falls “might be a little hilly” …. I should have known. “A little hilly” turned into a never ending sequence of steep inclines, a big part of the way on a slippery gravel road and this on a bike with only one gear and a lousy break … Well, I’m stubborn and I made it both to the falls and eventually back; exhausted, thirsty and after dark. The water falls weren’t worth the trouble, but I did get a good workout in …
Tried to see dolphins the morning after I spent a night freezing my buns in the backpacker place. Lovely people, but I do wish they had heat in their place. From the photos you’ll see what a tremendous difference the presence of sun can make in the colors you’ll see. The sea can be a color of deep and vibrant jade, or some rather uninspiring grey.
Off to a 28 hour flight back home tomorrow. Enjoy the pictures for now.
|Bay of Islands|