The one about the North Island (New Zealand)

It’s as if we’ve been performing a never-ending rain dance given the weather we’ve had over the last 4 weeks, and the North Island of New Zealand was just the beginning. That being said, even with the rain and clouds, New Zealand was entirely too picturesque to be even the least bit upset about it.

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

We arrived right at summer began in New Zealand, but came prepared for sudden weather shifts as we heard that temperature and precipitation can change on a dime. We flew into Auckland on a drizzly morning and walked around as much as we could muster after the red eye from Perth (via Melbourne).

{Note that there are plenty of direct flights from the east coast of Australia and several from Perth (as well as Los Angeles) should you make your way to NZ anytime soon!}

Anyway, Auckland was fine – nothing to write home (or on the blog) about – and maybe it was just the weather for the day we were there! I’d love to go back perhaps when the weather was a bit sunnier.

From Auckland, we drove north to a region called The Bay of Islands, where we were booked into a great B&B for a few nights, Tarlton’s Lodge in the town of Paihia. The Bay of Islands is an easy (and beautiful) 3 hour drive from Auckland.

Image via

Most folks with whom I’ve spoken typically head south of Auckland to Rotorua (still on the North Island), but we had a fishing day planned with a colleague of Barr’s and with images like this, we were amped to see The Bay of Islands in person. Upon arrival at the B&B, we weren’t disappointed and the view was as stunning as we could’ve hoped:

Seriously, this was the view from our room

Seriously, this was the view from our room’

After day 1, our blue sky days kind of ran out. And though this meant that not as many photos were taken, the vistas were still dramatic and memorable.

Barr bravely stuck with his tee time Kauri Cliffs, located about 45 minutes from Paihia – in gale force winds no less!

Kauri Cliffs

Kauri Cliffs

Kauri Cliffs Golf Course

Kauri Cliffs Golf Course

And although my boat tour (with Fuller’s Great Sights) around the bay was limited in where the boat could actually safely travel, we still managed to see plenty of dolphins streak into the air with aplomb:

Dolphin watching at The Bay of Islands

Dolphin watching at The Bay of Islands

"The sea was angry that day, my friends"

“The sea was angry that day, my friends”

After our respective days in the rain, we prayed for better weather the next morning as that was the day we were scheduled to go deep sea fishing (for which the region is world renowned). Y’all, I listened to the wind howl all night long and the rain pummel our window, fearful of the day that I assumed fishing would have in store. (Side note: our Kiwi friend, who organized the fishing expedition brought by seasickness medicine the day before given the forecast for fishing.)

Needless to say, when we woke up the next morning to more driving rain, I was ready to bow out. Mercifully (but also disappointingly so), the captain of the fishing boat informed us that the 40-50mph winds were not conducive to a safe or enjoyable fishing trip and we had to cancel. 😦

But fear not! The Kiwis still showed us a cool time that morning with a visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, just outside of Paihia. Waitangi is where the British and Maori people signed the New Zealand Declaration of Independence in 1835. There’s a museum on the grounds as well as a traditional Maori demonstration. Well worth the extra few dollars.

The whare runanga or Maori meeting house

The whare runanga or Maori meeting house

And despite the mist and clouds on the drive back to Auckland, we were still stunned by all the colors, animals and beauty in the North Island. If you’re planning a New Zealand trip, I definitely recommend just driving around and getting lost a little – there isn’t a bad view that I could see. 🙂 Until next time…

Auckland Recommendations:

Bay of Island Recommendations:

  • Tarlton’s Lodge: Quaint (3 rooms only) bed and breakfast in Paihia – spectacular views, fab breakfast, and the owners are the best!
  • Fuller’s Great Sights: Tour company with lots of options for Bay of Islands and the surrounds
  • Waitangi Treaty Grounds: Quick and fun historical and cultural overview of the region

2 responses to “The one about the North Island (New Zealand)

  1. Welcome to my home 🙂 Next time you go back.. Definitely do a proper two weeks in South Island! The weather is definitely unpredictable though.. sometimes it’s up to luck 😉

  2. OH this makes me ready to go to NZ in April. Thanks