First Month in New Zealand

Tuesday 1st December 

After a quick shower and a great Czech style breakfast we were on the road back to the Bay of Islands. We stopped en route at Whangeri for a few groceries and made it back late afternoon. That evening we headed for the boat club bar for a cheap meal, a quick drink and a catch up with other cruisers. We were pretty whacked though and in bed pretty early.

Wednesday 2nd - 31 December 

We kept our eye on the weather forecast but it still wasn't great so we decided to stay put until things improved. Trade Secret were under greater time pressure as they had an earlier flight back to the UK for Xmas so they set sail at the first opportunity. Other cruisers gradually departed as well.

We were really impressed by the Bay of Islands.  Pamina took us into Russell a local small town one day for a spot of sightseeing. The quickest way to get there is by car ferry from just outside the Marina. Its a pretty little place nestled along the shores of a lovely bay. On the day we were there there was a lot of swell and the boats moored in the bay were getting a bit of a pounding. It made us feel good to be on dry land. 

Another day we took a taxi into Opua and walked back along the beach and spectacular cliffs. Apart from the section when you had to clamour over seaweed strewn rocks it was a fantastic walk. At the top of the cliffs you got some amazing views of the islands and there were some die for houses to ogle at along the way as well.

A couple of nights were spent at the local yacht club where you could get a cheap meal and beer whilst catching up with other cruisers. We also had a night out at an all you can eat Chinese restaurant with Ange. The food was great and we definitely got our moneys worth ! The rest of the time we ate on the boat, delighted to be able to cook whatever we wanted for ourselves again rather than having to rely on boat staples.

We had decided to leave the boat at Gulf Habour, a Marina about 45 minutes drive outside of central Auckland. We chose Gulf Harbour as it had been recommended to us by several people as a safe place with great facilities. The forecast looked good so we were up early to head off. Pamina and Lionheart stopped to say goodbye and to help us with our lines. It was a glorious day and lovely to see the Bay of Islands in daylight - you get such a different perspective from the water.

We had a glorious sail up the coast. It felt good to be on the water again. The nice thing about day sailing is that you can see land which makes it much more interesting. We were really impressed by the coastline and the little bays and inlets that we could see.

We had decided to anchor overnight at Tutukaka. Its approximately halfway between Opua and Auckland. We arrived at the entrance just before sunset and eased our way in slowly as there were quite a few rocks visible. The narrow entrance opens up to a couple of sheltered bays, perfect for anchoring and further inland there is a Marina. It was a very pretty spot and we were relieved to be in. There were a few people on the beach and people sitting out admiring the sunset from their balconies. After a cold beer and a hot meal we were soon fast asleep.

We were up at first light and as soon as we could see our way through the narrow channel we were off.  The day started out as another glorious sail but as we got closer to Auckland the wind direction changed and the swell increased slowing our speed. Eventually we had to give in and put the motor on and so ended up motor sailing for the last few hours to ensure we reached our destination in daylight. As we got close we were amazed to see so many locals out sailing mid week. Gulf Harbour is tucked away in the corner of a large inlet so you can't see the entrance until the last minute. We called the Marina to ask for assistance and they were there waiting on the dock to take our lines. They allocated us a temporary berth at the far end of the Marina as the one we had been originally allocated was too narrow. 

It was a nice feeling to be in Gulf Harbour at last. The Marina was fantastic and it was extremely sheltered; the views were magnificent. At the far end there are some disney style houses and apartments overlooking their own moorings. All very classy.

Trade Secret had Ukulely visiting and invited us over but we were really tired so had a quick bite to eat before retiring for an early night.


© Copyright Allan & Bev Dornan 2016