bay of islands, northland, new zealand

8 February 2014

seven hundred years ago, a hand-carved canoe came home to these shores for the first time. about five hundred years later, the bay of islands became the first home of europeans in new zealand. 

today, the bay of islands is one of new zealand's top tourist destinations, with both historic and scenic value - and it is one of my favourite places in the entire country. 

the start of our road trip adventure... 

after being greeted at auckland international airport by jodi, a friend of ryan's, we spent an afternoon exploring auckland's city centre, followed by dinner in the gorgeous mission bay with my friends natz & josh.

after a restful night at our friends' place, we started making plans for a road trip north, with the ultimate destination of cape reinga - the northernmost point of the country. almost by fluke, we came across a relocation deal, where we could rent a car for only ninety-five cents per day (many thanks to omega car rentals!), and drop it off in wellington, which was part of our travel plans anyways.

state highway one, northbound

our drive north was relaxed and fun, and ryan was stoked to try his hand at driving on the left side of the road for the first time.

we drove until sunset, and ended up in paihia, bay of islands just after the sun went down... which meant that our first sight of the bay was a breathtaking sunrise - a-like so:

more than just sunrises and ocean views, the bay of islands is one of the most historically significant areas in new zealand and, apparently, the second bluest sky on the planet. 

i personally love visiting the waitangi treaty grounds. this was my second visit, and even though we were there before it opened (strangely, getting up early while road tripping is far easier than normal...), it was still amazing to stand at the fence, and look over a little corner of coastline, the site of such a significant part of the nation's formation. before i left new zealand in 2012, i actually took an afternoon to go look at the treaty itself in the archives new zealand national office in wellington, and marvelled over the torn bit of parchment responsible for 174 years of clash and convergence as two cultures tangle into one.

waitangi treaty grounds, early morning... 

here are some more photos of the beautiful bay of islands -  they hardly do it justice, so i'd recommend going to see it for yourself... 


  1. Simply beautiful pictures, Stacey. The top two places on my list to visit someday are Iceland and new Zealand. Thanks for sharing these lovely pictures and thoughts about your visit.

    1. thanks, dan! i hope you get to visit your 'top 2' - and more! new zealand is unbelievably beautiful... after living there for 6 years, i even became 'desensitized' to it - things that i didn't look twice at on this trip made my boyfriend (who'd never visited before) stop in his tracks.


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