Imagine a paradise removed from the fumes of busy streets, where man-made sound is scarce, besides the gentle hum of a boat-engine and the shuffle of cameras leaving busting day-packs. Welcome to the Bay of Islands. Although you’ll be sorely tempted to stay on dry-land, exploring the cosy corners of Paihia and savouring a gorgeous, golden sunset, the gateway to this often unsung island heaven lies on the white, wooden ferry terminal. The Hole in the Rock cruise is more than a boat-trip there and back – your eyes, ears and nose will be spoiled silly, leaving room for your tastebuds if you’ve packed a picnic for a lovely lunch on one of the island stops.
Intrigued? Whet your travel appetite below.
144 islands to be precise. From the canon-ball scarred buildings of Russell to the wind-swept wonder of the Cape Brett Peninsula, you’ll be asked to turn your attention to the quays, inlets, obelisks, sudden hills and crescent islands littering the sea, crowned in deep green grasses, rocky outcrops and thousands of seabirds. This is a half-day trip, so have your camera ready, taking note of the names and stories attached to each sudden swell of earth.
What Else to Bring: Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and cash for food and snacks onboard.
Go Wildlife Spotting
You shouldn’t be surprised if you spot fins, flukes or tales, as dolphins, whales and other wildlife gravitate to the warm waters around the Islands, often frolicking in the white-water wake of many tour boats and private charters. Keep your eyes peeled for a sun-baking seal, or the soaring wingspans of countless waterbirds – like much of New Zealand, the Bay of Islands teems with wildlife. Did you miss your shot? Don’t worry too much. You’ll probably be spoiled with another five opportunities very soon – they can’t help themselves.
Cruise inclusions: Engaging, accurate and historical commentary; two pick-up and drop-off points; time to explore one of the 144 islands by foot.
Visually, the Hole in the Rock is arresting. Historically, it’s nothing short of significant. Should your skipper approve the journey, you’ll be following in the paddle-path of local Maori warriors – they braved the current before battle, seeking good omens. It may not look too rough on the surface, but there’s a reason tour captains call it a natural washing machine… imagine navigating the journey in a kayak!
The Hole in the Rock
You’ve arrived! Motukokako Island and her guardian stand in wait, daring adventurous skippers to continue through – whether you do so or not will be down to the day’s conditions and the discretion of your captain. With luck and timing, you will come face to face with the silvery inner walls of the rock, as your tour vessel slides through an extremely narrow opening.
Did you know… droplets from the cave mouth are considered good luck by local Maori tradition.
Are you ready for the Hole experience? Find your sea-legs with Relaxing Journeys and speak to one of our passionate Bay of Islands specialists today.