Opua and the Bay of Islands

We arrived in Opua nearly two weeks ago! The Bay of Islands is a great cruising ground with many islands, bays, anchorages and plenty of activity ashore. This is one of the favourite holiday destinations for New Zealanders and feels a bit like Britain in the summer (yes it is still quite chilly compared to what we have been used to!).

Our first stop was Russell, a historic small town in the Bay of Islands. This cute little place has several good restaurants on the waterfront and a well stocked grocery store. We must have looked like four lunatics when we made our way around the isles ooh-ing and aah-ing at everything we saw: bagels, strawberries, blueberries, fresh milk, … and many more delicacies we had been deprived of for months!

After a few days of R&R and a visit to the local museum (interesting display about the Maori heritage and a replica of Captain Cook’s Endeavour) and the Pompallier house (hands-on demonstration of how they used to turn animal skin into leather and how the French missionaries printed religious text and books in Maori language) we went back to Opua. Total coincidence: one of Seathan’s best friends from Australia turned up on Friday evening. A few drinks were had in the yachtclub and then the next day we went back to Russell for a daysail on Rehua with our first Southern Hemisphere guests. We had a lovely waterfront lunch and then returned to Opua late afternoon. On Sunday we went to Kerikeri and visited a local vineyard.

Meanwhile, several cruising friends have turned up and there are some kid boats around including another Antares boat (Fieldtrip). Seathan started working through his list of things to do and to get … and it’s such as refreshing change to be able to order things online and see them arrive the next day! A novelty for us after having been in remote places for 12 months were nothing ever arrives on time (if at all!).

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The pier in Russell


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The anchorage in Russell


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Our first Southern Hemisphere guests onboard Rehua


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That’s one way to park your boat …


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View from the restaurant


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Russell museum, replica of Captain Cook’s Endeavour


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Pompallier Mission where French missionaries printed religious texts in Maori


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hands-on demonstration in the Printery


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Beautiful gardens at Pompallier house


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We love New Zealand!

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