Paihia (Rātapu, Maehe 25th 2012)

We got into bed earlier the other night, that was why we got up at 5 am. Since we didn’t make it to Paihia Look out Point, Adrian and I planned to redeem it at 6 am in the morning. We only knew that the lookpoint is within 1 hour trip (and return) via School Road ( ) and We need to go back at the Hotel around 8 am to check out as well as heading to Maritime Wharf to start our Dolphin Cruise. Given that, our time was limited.

In Indonesia (Western Indonesia Time) sun usually rises around 5:30 – 6:00 am in the morning. In New Zealand sun rises at around 7:30 – 8:00 am. So we did hope we can make it to the top to watch the sunrise then go back to the hotel.

It was actually still dark when we went out, and nobody but us walking on the street. We couldn’t see clear enough the road, so we just guessed and hoped, and the uphill road within half an hour would take us somewhere high where we can see the Bay from Opua to Waitangi and over the Russell peninsula to Urupukapuka Island and Cape Brett in the distance (at least that’s the website informed at ). We passed some intersection where we chose the broader road several times, given no light whatsoever so we avoid being in the dark. However, after 30 minutes of uphill walk, we did not sure whether we took the right way, since the highest point that we could get was actually a dead-end and we thought that lookout point should not looked like that. So there we stopped, wait until the sun came up, took a view pictures, and went back. Sadly, on our way back when the sun came to light, for about 15 minutes from where we stopped, we arrived on the intersection where we THEN could see clearly a sign board written “ Paihia Scenery Walk Look Out Point Start” (or so) right in the front of narrow track. Now i can laugh at it, i couldn’t back then 

Having searched of it throughout the internet, here’s what we got versus what we supposed to get.

Anyway, on our way back to Hotel, lights came brighter and the sun illuminated the sea, roads, houses and everything looks beautiful. We got very excited even more.

After Hotel Checked out, we walked towards Maritime Building, to checked in for Dolphin Cruises – Hole in the Rock Bay Of Island Tour. We choose to checked out before the cruise because after the cruise we would directly go to the Auckland. One thing that i found very benefecial is the availability of luggage storage in the Maritime Building (as well as tourism information center – i-site). There we had our luggagge stored for free.

The Dolphin Cruise was very exciting, we got chance to pass lots of island, beautiful ones, circled around some and stopped in some place where we encountered the dolphins happily swim, in and out the sea surface. We found around 4 dolphins swims in and out beautifully in harmony. There were nothing more amazing moment than watching those dolphins dance together beautifully.

It was around 15 to 20 mins before we watched a hole in the rock – another interesting view; not something common we could see in other rocks. The boat only circled around the rock 1 time though, before we pass the island at which a lighthouse stood there, known as Cape Brett Lighthouse.

Journey continued as we stopped in Urupukapuka island or also known as Otohei Bay. The island offers so amazing view of the sea, and perfect hills that all of them perfectly combined under perfect blue sky. That was a grand moment i could ever get during the trip. My heart stopped in an instance as we off the boat. i saw green grass along the way from Auckland to Paihia, but never felt it (is not that i’ve never seen or step on a grass, though). This grass was perfectly grown next to the sea, a carpet for all birds to land, and a restaurant and everything above it.

The restaurant has outside and inside bench where you can enjoy the lunch. Of course we chose the outside one, where we mingled with birds and others. My definition for perfection: on the bench with friends – tasty lunch – have some beautiful birds passes by – surrounding by the green grass – perfect blue ocean water – perfect amazing blue sky. For me that was the climax of our trip that day.
We got back to the boat then, and sailed back to the wharf. That was a perfect arrangement since the trip ended at 13:00 pm and our bus departed at 13:30 pm. Once we got to Auckland at about 5:30 pm, we went to sky tower to have our sky dinner.

The sky dinner was also perfect, with the view of sunset Auckland and delicious meal. That was perfectly elegant. We then took some night pictures of the auckland from the top and goes to the hotel. Now, you may be or may not be asking, where we put our BIG luggage? Did we take it to sky dinner? That would be wrong, wouldn’t it? No worries, sky tower concierge had our luggage stored, that’s another advantages for traveller.

Things seem went perfectly, we planned to watch Hunger Games – so me splitting with Amelia and Adrian. They went to the accomodation to check us in, and i went to the cinema to buy ticket. And they came back to me afterwards. I don’know whether any of you a fans of that films, but i enjoyed it very much (not sure because the movie as what i expected or because where i watch it  ). It had been a long time ago since i read the book, but i really like they way the book translated.

After we went back to our accomodation (Princeton Apartment), i was so shocked with the room size, not only it perfectly suit for 1 person, they squeeze the 2nd bed inside, we could hardly put our luggage there. It was a 2 bedroom apartment, with 1 kitchen and 1 bathroom. The other room was already occupied. That was the smallest space of arrangement we could ever imagine. But the price considerably affordable, that was why we pick the place. Luckily we only have to be there for 5 hours.

The most

The best line “Thank God it’s only 5 hours before check out time” (by Amelia and me)
Although i could sleep well, i could use some reference to move if i had to spend more than 1 night.
Best moment of the trip Lunch at Otohei Bay under the blue sky, looking at blue sea, upon a green green grass, birds fly by surrounded by comforting wind breeze (that sometime went uncomforting by blowing hard everything on the table)
Most surprising Moment Entering our bedroom
Most botanical-conscious moment During our Paihia walk, i saw some plant that similar with what i have in Indonesia.

Left: kind of bushes i saw in Paihia; Right: This is what i think has the similarity with what i found in Paihia

Check out our photos (please allow sometime for the photo to load)
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Highlights and Tips

– Paihia Trip
Paihia is just one of several cities on Bay of Island region (there are russel and waitangi, Kerikeri and Kawakawa). No specific reason we chose Paihia over russel or other town.
You can enjoy Bay of Island beauty by walking, biking, or boating. We desperately want to see dolphin – that was why we chose dolphin cruise to the hole in the rock Tour ( ). If you want to have an intimate moment with dolphins, you can also have another tour that arrange you so swim with them. Just check out the web for some options (just mind the water temperature please).
If it wasn’t rain hard, i believe enjoying Paihia in look out point and dophin cruises would serve best our thirst for scenery and eco-interaction (it’s only because same scenery may be encountered somewhere else along the journey we had set)
– Last minute deal
If you’re a spontaneous traveller – no worries – i-site (New Zealand integrated tourist information site) is REALLY resourcefull. It has library of booklets and brochures for you to look at and friendly frontdesk. But don’t be dissapointed if no seat available – that should be put into account as well. Just map where the i-site location on each city.
– Jell-O or Creme brulee
OK, that may not be a suitable parable. TAXI or BUS? There are times when your foot screaming for a rest, or when the bus not in service. Bring some extra cash cause you never know when you require a cab.
– Souvenire
The first place you visit is the best place to examine and observe for souvenire (its kind and the price). You will then compare it with shoppes you’ll visit next. Buy some, but not all souvenire you intend to buy(first: you don’t want your luggage on its maximum capacity for the rest of your trip, second: there may be other places offering better price)
– Luggage Storage
Whether you’re a very strong man/woman able to carry 80/100 litters backpack or 30 kilos hand on luggage, always ask for a temporary storage (first: you don’t want people think you’re gonna throw the dolphin with your backpack, second: save your energy for trip purposes (walk, kayak, biking) – not handling your luggage)

Auckland Intercity Bus terminal also has storage with quite pricey cost of 5 NZD, you can store your heavy luggage from 7 am to 8 pm. 2 NZD deposit is required for your first payment, and 3 NZD to paid later when claiming back your luggage.

In Indonesia – not much coins is used, paper does. So be prepared when travelling to NZ (or singapore – as i’m aware of) since coins count. The thing about coin – it pays of smaller deal, but it also heavy and if you’re not used to it, it takes a long time to pull out and count your coin on the cashier. My only advice: get used to it.

So… how many ‘perfect’ you can find on this post? It’s not getting fewer, i can guarantee.
Here’s our day 3 Itinerary

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