Hole in the Rock Cruise, Bay of Islands

22 May

Our first full day in New Zealand was February 6th, which happens to be a national holiday: Waitangi Day. It was on this date, in 1840, that the Maori people signed the Treaty of Waitangi, ostensibly making New Zealand part of the British empire, affording its people the same rights as other British subjects while guaranteeing Maori rights to their own land.

Naval presence, in honor of Waitangi Day

Naval presence, in honor of Waitangi Day

Although similarities have been drawn to treaties signed between the Native Americans and those who claimed their land, the politics of Waitangi Day are not the subject of this blog. (However, we did visit the Treaty House on the 7th — after the crowds thinned — and found it fascinating and mostly accessible. And that will be a future post.)

We skirted most of the local festivities on the 6th and, instead, took a cruise to Cape Brett Hole in the Rock.

Bay of Islands, New Zealand 2-6-13

Fullers Great Sights cruise to Hole in the Rock

Hosted by Fullers Great Sights, this excursion took us from the sheltered waters of the Bay of Islands out to the Pacific Ocean.

From Paihia to Cape Brett / Hole in the Rock

From Paihia to Cape Brett / Hole in the Rock

I was happy to discover that the boat was wheelchair accessible.

Fullers Great Sights cruise - wheelchair accessible

Fullers Great Sights cruise – wheelchair accessible

Accessible restrooms on the boat

Accessible restrooms on the boat

Along the way we encountered a playful pod of dolphins before passing Cape Brett Lighthouse, which guards the entrance to the Bay of Islands.

Dolphins

Dolphins

Bay of Islands, New Zealand 2-6-13OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cape Brett Lighthouse, at the entrance to the Bay of Islands

Cape Brett Lighthouse, at the entrance to the Bay of Islands

I was delighted by the expansive and beautiful blue skies, as well as the kayaks and sailboats we passed along the way.  As I noted in my journal, “The day was sunny, the weather glorious! Sunscreen was liberally applied.”

Kayaks

Kayaks

Sailing in the Bay of Islands

Sailing in the Bay of Islands

Although this cruise often goes through the Hole in the Rock, on this day the water was too choppy to allow us to do so.

Hole in the Rock, Cape Brett

Hole in the Rock, Cape Brett

At the front of the boat - my favorite spot!

At the front of the boat – my favorite spot!

So after getting as close as we safely could, we turned back toward Paihia.

Along the way we had a one-hour stop at Otehei Bay, former home of American author Zane Grey who, according to the Great Sights brochure, “is known for making game fishing famous in the Bay of Islands.”

Otehei Bay Resort, Bay of Islands

Otehei Bay Resort, Bay of Islands

The main grounds at Otehei Bay were accessible.

The main grounds at Otehei Bay were accessible.

The brochure also mentioned beautiful beaches and nature walks, and we took the fairly easy trek up the hill in order to enjoy the panoramic view.

We had to cut through the sheep pasture to get to the path uphill.

We had to cut through the sheep pasture to get to the path uphill.

Easy for able-bodied walkers. Not accessible for wheelchairs.

Easy for able-bodied walkers. Not accessible for wheelchairs.

Unfortunately, a wheelchair would have difficult time navigating the path we took, and the allotted time did not allow us to explore an accessible trail to the top.

View from the top of the hill.

View from the top of the hill.

Enjoying the view with my friend, Francine.

Enjoying the view with my friend, Francine.

Reboarding our boat, we headed back to Paihia by way of Russell, a quaint little town formerly known as the Hell Hole of the Pacific. (But that’s another post!)

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2 Responses to “Hole in the Rock Cruise, Bay of Islands”

  1. Ted Hess May 23, 2013 at 5:08 am #

    Great photos of the Bay of Islands. Made me feel like I was there. How could anyone not want to go sailing or kayaking there. Incidentally, Zane Grey is from the community of Zanesville, Ohio, some 50 miles west of our home in Wheeling, on the historic National Road (U.S Route 40).

  2. Jeri May 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    Thank you, Ted!

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