Posted by: monsonmadness | May 29, 2012

Dolphins, seal, Hole in the Rock, waterfalls, stunning views and excellent food

Day 2 – Tuesday 29th May

The first real day of our holiday could not have been more perfect. If you remember, we needed to pull over on the side of the road for a rest on the drive up to Bay of Islands, so we weren’t sure that we were going to make it on time. We had wanted to arrive at Paihia by 8.30am so that we could go on a 9am dolphin cruise and to see Hole in the Rock.

As we drove north and the sky started to lighten, we could finally see where we had been driving for hours. It was gorgeous. Just as I compare Samoa to an American Samoa but better, New Zealand to me is like Great Britain but better!

The people talk the same, the roads and shops are the same, the food is the same, the scenery is the same…but they are all better (sorry, just my opinion!) There are rolling green hills everywhere. Sheep and cows dot the fields. I felt very much at home driving through the beautiful countryside.

We stopped for a bathroom break at a petrol station, and I realized that I was checking for lizards and rats before I took care of business! Got to remember that I’m not in American Samoa right now!

We arrive in Paihia just after 8.30am and had time to get a hot chocolate before we boarded the boat. IT WAS STILL FREEZING COLD. The captain announced that on yesterday’s cruise, there were no dolphins, and that the sea had been too rough to drive through the Hole in the Rock. Michael and I had bad luck on a whale watching cruise in Alaska several years ago, so we were disappointed at the though of just going on another boat ride, but we decided to stay and see if today would be luckier.

The Bay of Islands is gorgeous. We saw lovely islands, lighthouses, a seal, and DOLPHINS! Lots of them. They said they were in a “mega pod”, and usually the tourists are allowed to get in the water and swim with the dolphins, but our pod had young babies in with them, so we were not allowed to get in the water.

Hole in the Rock was cool, it was such a tight fit to get through, but we made it.

Then, we stopped at Otehei Bay, for a 1 hour break. We bought some delicious fish and chips, and Michael became obsessed with the cool glass bottle that his water came in. After lunch, we took a short hike to a lookout of the bays. It was absolutely stunning and reminded us of our honeymoon in the Lake District.

Had to take a couple of photos with the cool Mauri art.

On the way to our bed and breakfast, we happened to find this cool waterfall.

And then, we arrived at our bed and breakfast at Whangaroa Harbour. LOVED IT. Apart from the amazing views, there was a HOT shower, super fast internet, and free cookies and candy.

We were so tired that we took a nap when we arrived, woke up with just enough time to Skype the kids (who were all excited except for poor Emma who didn’t understand what was going on and broke my heart by calling out “Mama, Mama” over and over again.

When we were done, we went out for dinner, and following my parent’s recommendations, ordered steaks. We had our own private chef who cut the steaks for us, and served us delicious piping hot steaks that were to die for. A nice surprise for us was not having to pay for our ice water! Not used to that in American Samoa!

Driving back to our accommodation we spotted a rabbit in our flashlights and it wanted to run along with us. We couldn’t get a good photo but it was cool.

Wow! What an amazing start to our vacation. An absolutely perfect day.



  1. WOW! Sounds wonderful. The scenery is breath-taking. I hope Emma recovered, poor sweetheart.

  2. Wow- beautiful pictures. The dolphins are so cool!

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