Peace, Tranquility and a Turbulent Past
The Bay of Islands, on New Zealandís North Island, is an area of unspoilt coastal beauty with a sub-tropical climate. The Bay of Islands is a favorite holiday destination for tourists. It covers an area on the east coast of Northland province, the warm north of New Zealand. The main place to stay is Paihia, a small, peaceful town with a golden sandy beach that is perfect for all types of water activities. This includes sailing and fishing. From Paihia, you can explore the area to discover its interesting history.
On the nearby Waitangi National Reserve, visit the house where the historic Treaty of Waitangi was signed by the Maoris and the British in 1840. This reserve is special to all New Zealanders. Learn about the Maori culture in a traditional Maori Meeting House and admire the 35-metre long Maori war canoe which is launched into the water once a year on 6 February, the Waitangi Day national holiday. There are number of guided tours that will give you a unique insight into this special and spiritual place.
From Paihia, take a short boat trip over to Russell, a former whaling and trading port once dubbed Ďthe hellhole of the Pacificí because of its reputation for attracting drunken sailors and other undesirable characters. It is now a sleepy village with few signs of its more colorful past. It is home to Christ Church, the oldest surviving church in New Zealand. The bullet holes in its wooden walls are a lasting reminder of the Maori uprising and siege of 1845.
The Russell Museum gives a fascinating insight into the history of the town and includes a scale model of Captain Cookís ship, Endeavour, which was the first European ship to sail into the area in 1769.
Throughout your stay, you will find that Bay of Islands is a tranquil and beautiful place that contrasts with its turbulent past.