Our friends Mark and Dana on s/v Northfork arrived a week before us and are currently in a marina in Opua. They already have a car and offered to drive down to Whangarei to pick us up and bring us to Opua during a cruiser rally. It’s an opportunity for us to hang out with a bunch of people we know and attend some social events, and to do some sightseeing along the way.
We had lunch in Whangarei with Mark and Dana before we drove to Opua. After lunch we stopped at Whangarei Falls first – a beautiful pair of waterfalls just outside of town that is very beautiful. There’s a nice short walk across the top of the falls that then leads down to the bottom and back up again to complete a circle back to the parking area. Very nice!
Next we went to the sight of the last major battle between the Maori natives and the colonials here in New Zealand. It was set in the hills of the Northlands with stupendous views of the many grazing fields filled, surprisingly, mostly with cattle. We thought sheep were the predominant animals here, but apparently cows are a rapidly growing area of interest here. I took a 360 panorama near the “Pa” – a Maori fort – which I’ll process later.
Next we went to a town called Kawakawa which is best known for a toilet (public restroom). Apparently a famous artist designed this restroom and it is the most colorful, artsy restroom I’ve ever visited. Yes, I even took a picture of the men’s room (after making sure no one was inside).
We then went to the Opua marina where Northfork is staying. We went to have dinner in the club house and watched a sailboat race during dinner. Opua is located in the heart of the Bay of Islands which is a beautiful bay filled with islands and great sailing grounds.
After dinner we went on a bus to a play by Maori natives describing the story how they discovered New Zealand, the initial visits by Europeans, and the eventual signing of the treaty forming the country as it is now. Very entertaining!
On the bus were crews of several other boats we know. It was good to catch up with them a bit and hear about their trips to New Zealand. I will add some photos of the sightseeing later, but we are preparing for another full day of touring as part of the rally on the second day.