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  • Writer's picturerachel jackson

Adventures in the Northland

Updated: Aug 30, 2019

This is our first real adventure as residents of New Zealand and it couldn't have come at a better time. Since we've arrived, it's been non-stop rain, gloom and "adulting" - but the weather cleared up just in time for us to play on the weekend. So, we decided to explore the North, specifically the Bay of Islands. We left after work on Friday and drove about three hours north to a small rural area outside of Tutukaka, NZ. We stayed the night (7 whole hours) on a small farm and woke up to this view. You can't see it in the picture, due to the overcast morning, but you could see and hear the ocean. It was beautiful.

With a rough start with no water we finally got some - just in time to brush our teeth and fly out the door), we headed into town to Dive! Tutukaka ( for our full day trip at Poor Knights islands. Poor Knights is an amazing marine reserve that is home to not only the sub-tropical marine species, but it's also home to tropical species riding the eastern Australian current. The EAC, dude - insert Finding Nemo Squirt voice here. We did two dives, the first being adjacent to the largest sea cave in the world. This cave boasts these impressive measurements: 130 meters long, below water depth of 26 meters, a height to the ceiling above water of 35 meters and a width of 80 meters. Our large dive boat went inside and explored and tested the acoustics - it was pretty amazing. The captain also told us about a sperm whale jaw bone at the bottom of the cave. Apparently, a sperm whale died in the cave about 8 years ago and that is all that remains of the poor guy. I put that on my mental list to explore in the future.

The second site was called "middle arch" and might be home to one of the most amazing dives I've ever seen. The marine life was consistent with the first, but the new feature was this insane air pocket. We swam into this large cave filled with schools of fish and bubbles. I didn't think it could get any better until our dive instructor pointed upwards signaling us to head in that direction. We swam to the top and surfaced! Our goggles immediately fogged, but we could breathe. I repeat we could breath without regulators while being 7.7 meters under the actual surface. It was surreal. I would recommend taking the time to visit Poor Knights with Dive! Tutukaka and being mesmerized by not only the marine life, but also the magical landscapes.

Watch the video (choose high definition) to see a little bit of what we did.

After the dive trip, we had a drink and some seafood chowder and then headed further north to Waiomio. When we arrived, we grabbed some fish and chips take away before heading to the airbnb. This fish and chips take away was a pretty big disappointment. None of the fish was local and the service was not great.

Since we were closer to the actual Bay of Islands area - we headed that direction Sunday morning. We ate some breakfast, walked around the cute little beach town of Paihai and sat on the boardwalk. We didn't have time to swim with the dolphins or sand surf in Cape Reinga, but that's still on the to-do list. Until next time.

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