Port 1: Paihia
Paihia was the first port on our 17-night cruise.
We arrived in Paihia around 4am (according to my Mum who heard the anchor drop). Paihia is a tender port as there isn’t a big enough wharf to cope with bigger ships. The tendering started around 7am, first with people who were doing planned shore excursions, then they started with everyone else. We got off around 9:20 and in Paihia around 20-30 minutes later.
Paihia is a rather small town, there isn’t a lot there, but there are quite a few excursions that go out through the Bay of Islands, to the Hole in the Rock, you can do a helicopter trip and there are fishing trips as well. Our trip in Paihia didn’t last very long, as we were leaving Paihia quite early at 2pm.
We decided to take a coach up to the Waitangi Grounds (which was free), however we didn’t stay long as we just wanted to walk around the grounds but we still had to pay $20 per New Zealand resident (or $40 for tourists). They do offer a video and learning experience for those who want it, but for those who just want to stroll around you still have to pay.
After we left the Waitangi grounds we went for a walk around the craft market that was on, this market is only on on days when a ship is in. After the market we walked down the main street, to look for a cafe, we found one. Moby’s Cafe, it wasn’t amazing, there is a cafe that is in the main building attached to the wharf where the tenders come in that was very busy, there are also some restaurants along the front as well, that all looked busy if you have time for lunch.
After a cold drink, we headed to the look out, if your looking from main street, its on the left, up a little hill. It’s a nice little lookout point, you can see most of the harbour.
Once finished at the lookout there wasn’t much else left to do, and we had about 1 hour left until the ship was leaving, so decided to get back on the tender and head back to the ship.
Once on board, we had some lunch and then headed up to the observation area on deck 12 to watch as we sailed out of the Bay of Islands and on to 2 days at sea heading to Sydney.