We all set our alarms so we would be up bright and early for 7am. We quickly finished packing and ate breakfast. Homemade lunches (we made amazing homemade sandwiches again!) were prepared before we said goodbye to The Pickled Parrot hostel and were on our way to Goat Island. We aimed to be back in Auckland in the late afternoon so we wanted to get an early start on the day.
We arrived at Leigh just after 11:30. It’s a coastal village just an hour north of Auckland. We found a place to rent snorkel, fins, and a mask just before heading to the beach. The beach was a short 10 minute drive away. We ate our delicious lunches in the car before squeezing into our wet-suits We headed out into the water looking hilarious with all of our gear on. My goggles were too big, Ana’s fins were too tight, Kaik’s goggles pinched and Em’s fins were wonky. We were lucky enough to have Emma’s underwater camera to capture pictures of the fish we saw and some action shots of us snorkeling. None of us had any proof of the time but it kept feeling like we were swimming forever. The sun wasn’t really out but the water didn’t feel cold with our wet-suits on. We swam out to Goat Island but only sat on the rocks. Once you’re up close it doesn’t really seem like there is much to see but a huge rock. We were in the water just over an hour swimming around and enjoying all the underwater sights around the side of the island. We were all a little disappointed because we were hoping to see a lot of different kinds of fish. We saw a few big fish (snappers) and lots of pale pink and white fish but we didn’t really see a huge range of fish. It was pretty neat how close I was able to swim up to the fish. All the underwater pictures are on Emzie’s camera so I will try to post a few once she has them organized.
We had a small crisis when Kaik misplaced her wet-suit at the end of the day but the lady at the rental place seemed very chill. We suspect that while Kaik was changing someone might have swiped her wet-suit OR that we left it on the roof of the car when we drove off. We were nervous that we wouldn’t get our deposit back on our rental equipment but the lady was pretty confident that it would show up and that we could leave without paying any money for it. *There are still some good people in the world!! Crisis averted. There was no way we wanted to pay $115 for a wet-suit we didn’t have!
We were all pretty tuckered out after snorkeling and had a quiet drive back to Auckland. We were able to dropp Emzie off at her house around 2pm and drove the rest of the way home for our well deserved rest. We unpacked the car and were able to get some laundry done before the rest of my family returned home.
We enjoyed a family dinner outside on the patio and caught up with the boys. We easily shared stories and laughed our way through the meal. It was a great way to end off our unforgettable road trip.
I would say the trip was a success. We were able to not go too far over our budget and made really smart purchases. It helped knowing that we were all basically living out of backpacks and would have to carry whatever we bought! We are thankful for the GPS and all the sunshine!!!
It was our last full day in the Bay of Islands and we were all hit with the feelings of sadness that our trip was nearing an end. Emzie and Ana are morning people where as Kaik and I prefer a sleep in. The four of us made sure to promise each other we would be up early each morning to make the most of our time! Another reason for being up between the hours of 7-9am was so we could enjoy the benefits of our complimentary breakfast. The basics of coffee, tea, toast and cereal were provided. I disappointingly found out the hard way; the later you got up in the morning the less selection of cereal!
After buying a few gifts and trinkets in the shops we headed off to find Coopers Beach. Another sunny day another search for a beach! While pulling over at a random gas station for a quick bathroom break we came across a unique Jandal fence and took a few minutes to admire it. While heading towards Coopers Beach signs advertising for a market caught our eye. We detoured in hopes of discovering a great big shopping market. The market we came across didn’t quite live up to our expectations. Luckily the detour led us to a great view of Doubtless Bay.
The drive was around an hour and half after having to stop in and ask for directions. We were so close to it (but again we found) the signage for the place to be so minimal that we weren’t able to spot it from the roads. The beach was gorgeous and lined with beautiful trees. We spent the afternoon lounging and reading on the beach before heading back to our hostel.
The girls cooked up an awesome BBQ dinner before we began indulging in yummy adult beverages. We engaged in another great round of Jenga. We wanted to hit the town on our last night in Paihai. We ventured out to a pub which we thought looked promising but ended up to be pretty quiet with a small showing of people. So we had to start the dance floor ourselves before leaving that bar to head to another one with more dancers in attendance. A nice stroll along the beach and some greasy burgers (for some) was a lovely way to cap off our final evening of the roadtrip.
Thanks Ana for your undying commitment too the blog 🙂 You are an exceptional co-writer!
We left Pukenui around 10am. We all had an earlier than usual morning as members of our hostel were super LOUD for a long time in the kitchen this morning. The large family did not realize it might be courteous of them to whisper if they were planning to cook and eat around 7 in the morning! Even though we started the morning off a little grumpy our moods all picked up when we realized it would be another gorgeously sunny day! We arrived in the Bay of Island after a fairly quick 2 hour drive. We drove straight here with no stops as we didn’t eye any Thrift Stores or souvenir type stores along the way. The Pickled Parrot Backpackers hostel is a very cute and quirky place that we are finding to be very cozy. We did find it very hard to spot from the roads as the signage was pretty small and minimal. We are in a 3 bunk bed room and only 1 of the beds is vacant.
We unpacked the car then went for a walk around the town lots of touristy stops. We saw the (noisy early birds) family that was at the hostel we were last at and had joked about running into. We all secretly hoped they weren’t perchin’ at the parrot like us! We dined on yummy fish and chips on an outdoor patio then walked back home. We were able to grab some cold drinks en-route to the hostel before jumping into our beach gear and heading straight to the beach. We had fun tossing a frisbee around and enjoying some drinks on the beach. It was pretty evident that we weren’t the only ones who had the idea to have a refreshing drink on the beach. The evening menu is any college students staple meal of: noodles, crackers, cheese and left over sandwich meat.
We were easily entertained by Jenga and throwing in little rules and playing “never have I ever during rounds”. I have never played a more entertaining round of Jenga before playing with Kristy and Ana! Kristy was also christened with the new nickname of Kaik, which is pronounced cake. We went to 2 bars and really got to see there was not much of a nightlife on a Thursday night here. We played pool and tried to teach Emzie how to handle the cue. She wasn’t haven’ any of it and preferred to watch the 3 of us struggle through a game.
During our first night on the town we can say we were fortunate enough to meet an Irish lad and unfortunate enough to meet 2 Aussie’s one of whom claims to have been a contemporary dancer…years ago. Without getting into too many details I can say we left the bar after receiving a “phone call” from another friend who wanted to meet up with us. After drinks, cowboy shots and 2 rounds of tequila shots we all got home safely. We were able to get into out beds and get somewhat of a good night’s sleep. The heat is so hot and is pretty harsh on the people who are stuck on the top bunks but we are managing. We DO keep the windows open at night but all the moths and flies love to LAND on our bodies. NOT fun.
Complimentary breakfast is offered from 7-9 daily so we all plan on taking full of advantage of the free food. Tomorrow we have another beach day planned out. It’s a hard life sometimes 🙂 I forgot to mention that Ana did an excellent job of taking Myrtle for a quick spin yesterday. She did a wonderful job of staying left and working the indicator lights! Proud of her.
Thanks for reading – and I hope the snow isn’t too much of a nuisance for those who are getting lots of it right now.
Lots of warm thoughts to you all,