Since this was my first big trip on my own, I figured doing a group tour to see the sights of New Zealand would be best. After lots of research, I chose the tour company Topdeck as the way to go. Nervous it would be some kind of crazy Contiki-like tour or I’d be stuck with people I didn’t get along with, I was a bit apprehensive. But I really can’t say enough of Topdeck, you’ll hear more later throughout this blog on why they were extraordinary. I fully recommend!
Starting in Auckland, I boarded the bus and met the others on the trip. Six of us were new and were joining the end of another tour that had 12 others. Everyone was really nice and welcoming, and our tour director and bus driver were amazing. Shout out to Tara and Dan!
The first stop was the Bay of Islands, located in the northern part of the North Island.
It was amazing!
All of us chose to do an optional activity called Rock the Boat – an overnight excursion cruising around the islands. We boarded the boat in Paihia and were greeted with a rainbow, not bad!
It was an overnight cruise so we were placed in bunk beds on the upper deck. Now I thought this boat cruise was going to be a party boat, but boy was I wrong!
Our activities for the night?
– Paintball target practice off the back of the boat (aiming at a faux, wooden duck floating off the end of the boat)
– Night fishing, although no one caught anything
– Lots of food! Including an amazing barbecue steak dinner
– Night kayaking. This was incredible, with the phosphorescents in full force in the ocean and the milky way fully visible in the sky.
The next morning, after a huge breakfast, we all got to take the kayaks over to a small island. From there were went snorkeling in the freezing water. Remember, it’s winter here! Luckily we got wetsuits, so it was bearable. Out in the sun it almost felt like summer though, and some were plagued with sunburn by the end of the day.
Next, we hiked up the island to get some amazing views of the bay. With sunshine and clear skies we spent most of the time getting photos. Back on the beach we were introduced to some touch rugby. Never thought I would be into a new sport, but it seems like a ritual here. You’ve gotta be a rugby fan in New Zealand!
After lunch back on the boat, the excursion was almost over. It ended with more enjoyable views of the bay as we cruised back into town. I absolutely loved the Bay of Islands. It was warm, tropical and picturesque at every turn.
Until next time,
– Canadian Kiwi Girl