A New Zealand Photo Diary: The Bay Of Islands & Waitangi Day
Looking for ideas for your NZ trip? Go to the Bay Of Islands!
When I was trying to figure out my travel plans for New Zealand’s North Island, I researched online and asked a handful of friends for recommendations. One of the popular suggestions was the Bay of Islands. I decided to go so I booked a hostel with decent reviews in a town called Paihia and then took the Intercity bus up from Auckland. I booked the hostel for a few days to give me some time to explore other areas while I was there.
I remember booking the bus so I could get up to Paihia in time so that I could have daylight to explore. Of course, I didn’t account for something like this:
A flat tire selfie!
It took around 2 hours before another tire was delivered and the flat was changed. All the passengers hung out by the side of the
road and entertained ourselves while we waited. Luckily I had a book!
On the bus, I met a girl who told me she couldn’t find a place to stay within her budget and was going to sleep on the beach. I asked her if she knew why and she said that it was Waitangi Day and there were celebrations all weekend. When I got to my accommodations in Paihia, I realize how lucky and random it was that I actually had a place to stay because of said events.
Helpful tip: Always check to see if there are any festivals or special events in the area otherwise accommodations could be booked up or expensive.
My accommodations at the Salt Water Lodge were pretty good. I didn’t book the dorm but the deluxe room. It was at a premium but I prefer to pay more and stay in rooms with fewer people. Please remember that staying in shared accommodations was a new thing to me at the start of my round the world trip. My only complaint about the Saltwater Lodge was there is a bar on-site and there was loud music (Beyoncé) playing well into the night. But alas nothing a set of earplugs or noise cancellation headphones can’t fix.
The next morning I went to a shop, bought a tea, yogurt, banana and ate breakfast here:
The beach in Paihia
After my morning stroll, I walked to Waitangi which is the next town over, for the celebrations.
What is Waitangi Day?
Waitangi Day is a New Zealand public holiday and celebrated on the 6th of February every year. This day commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (in 1840), New Zealand’s founding document. It would be considered to be New Zealand’s Independence Day.
Treaty of Waitangi
Maori boats out in the water
I am pretty lucky to have randomly stumbled across the Waitangi Day celebrations when I was in New Zealand. It felt like I was taking an interactive New Zealand history class! If you’re wondering about what to do in New Zealand, I highly recommend visiting the Bay of Islands. It’s gorgeous there and even with the celebrations, I found it to be a relaxing place. I wished that I had more time to explore the area. I would definitely come back here!