After sailing all of 139 nautical miles, we woke up anchored in the Bay of Islands on the northeast coast of North Island to spectacular views of some of the 144 islands that give the area its name. Besides its natural beauty, the bay is home to the most important historic site in the country, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where New Zealand’s founding document was signed.
After a quick breakfast of fresh fruit and possibly the best ham I’ve ever eaten, we headed to the tender for the quick ride to shore. The highlight of our day was visiting the Kawiti Glow Worm Cave, owned and operated for generations by a Maori family. These little bio-luminescent living flashlights are actually carnivorous beetles and were really fun to see. We followed a wooden walk into an honest to goodness cave with stalagmites and stalactites carrying lanterns which we turned off once we were far enough in. Boom, the ceiling of the cave looked like the Milky Way as the faint little light from tens of thousands of glow worms decorated the ceiling. Our guide told us all about the life cycle, eating habits, and peculiarities of these little creatures.
We enjoyed a stop at Te Waimate Mission Station, fourth mission built in New Zealand. It was established by the London-based Church Missionary Society to instruct Māori in European farming techniques while promoting the Christian way of life. Besides the charming house and beautiful gardens, there’s a sweet church with a graveyard and a building called a Sunday school. We were treated to scones and tea. A point of pride for Te Waimate is that Charles Darwin visited in 1836.
Totally unanticipated was the unassuming one-stoplight town of Kawakawa where we visited the Hundertwasser toilets designed by the world famous artist of the same name. Seems he wanted to honor this country he loved, so he designed and installed these beautiful, unusual toilets. Picture multicolored tiles of random shapes and sizes arranged hodgepodge on the floor, walls, and in the stalls; a wall of bottles that let natural light through; and a tree growing onto the roof of native grass. It certainly ranks up in the category of unique public toilets, especially considering its location. While we were in town we grabbed one of the highly recommended mock cream doughnuts. Think glazed doughnut without the hole, sliced almost in half, stuffed with a slightly sweet glob of cream and a smear of jelly. Divine!
Today’s conversation question: What is your favorite quote?
Worst surprise of the day: There is a scale in our room! Why? We decided, for grins, to weigh ourselves this morning and then again at the end of the cruise. Fingers crossed.
Best surprise of the day: Dan put $10 in a slot machine … pulled once … and won $500!!!
Hiking is called tramping.
Timber is the #3 industry in New Zealand. Pines are sold all
around the world but particularity in Asia.
There are nine sheep per person in New Zealand, making it the country with
the highest ratio of people to sheep in the world.
In 1893 New Zealand became the first country to give women the right to vote.
There are no snakes in New Zealand. None. Zero.
4 thoughts on “Bay of Islands (Nov 21, 2018)”
What a fun and interesting day! Loved hearing about the glow worms!
They were really cool.
I loved the glow worm pictures
I would love to see one up close to see how big they get.