Shortly after breakfast, our host, Marion, came downstairs, knocked on our door, and bid us farewell. She and her husband “Kayvn” were all dressed up and going out with a big group of friends. Marion said we should just relax, take our time, no hurry to check out. So that’s what we did.
We sat with our computers and looked for places near Auckland for Thursday and Friday, our last two nights here in New Zealand. I guess we should really have been surprised, since we’d heard this from the hotel lady when we arrived at the beginning of January, but ALL the hotels and motels are booked! Adelle is here this weekend and everything’s been booked for weeks. So we had to settle for an AirBnB place about an hour south of Auckland. But at least we got SOMETHING. That left only Wednesday night ‘open’, and with a couple of phone calls we found something north of Auckland and booked that. Whew! So now our ‘itinerary’ is more-or-less established for our remaining time here (except for an overnight in Los Angeles on our return flight — so we’re not quite set yet).
We left Whangarei at around 11 o’clock. Our 80km ride up to Paihia in the Bay of Islands took us about an hour and a half. We drove through the waterfront town of Paihia and up another 3kms to our motel. It was too far out of town for us to walk back, but we were happy with what we’d booked. Yesterday’s B&B lady had sent along grapes and tomatoes and bread and homemade date loaf — Sue unpacked our stuff and made sandwiches and we had lunch at the motel.
After lunch we drove back down to town. First, we went out to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, considered the ‘birthplace’ of New Zealand, where the Maori and the British signed a treaty in 1840. We decided NOT to go into the museum on the site — and instead drove to the Waitangi Golf Club just up the road. The course didn’t look very interesting, but the views from up there of the Bay of Islands was quite impressive. Sue clicked a few photos.
Then we drove back down to the waterfront. We parked the car and walked along the busy harbour. We bought tickets for a short ferry ride across the bay to the small town of Russell. The sun was shining, the breezes were gentle, lots of sailboats were in full sail on the water. We got off the ferry and walked around the small village of Russell. Lots of cafes, ice cream shops, souvenir kiosks, etc. After about an hour of walking we sat down and had an ice cream and a cappuccino. Then back on the next ferry and back to the mainland.
We walked around Paihia and looked at some of the restaurant menus, thinking we’d probably come back later tonight for dinner. But all that got short-circuited when we passed a sushi shop that was about to close and was offering assorted trays for half price.
Back at our motel, Sue put together a bit of a happy hour tray and we took it out to one of the tables at the pool and sat and enjoyed the quiet for a while.
Back in our room, we read a bit and watched some TV — hey, our Sky Channels include CNN! We haven’t had that since our first week in Auckland! So, an hour or so of that and we’d had our ‘fix’ for a while again!