Daily my finger traces the map. I’m following Northlands Twin Coast Discovery route behind the wheel of my low-cost rental car from New Zealand Rental Cars and now in the Bay of Islands I sail in a tall ship ( R Tucker Thompson) but first I visit the birthplace of New Zealand – the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. It’s not only historic and beautiful but also set in lush native bush and has guided tours and cultural performances night and day – I took advantage of the entry ticket being valid for two days to make sure I saw it all.
Next day, I challenged my fear of heights by soaring skywards with the Flying Kiwi’s parasail: New Zealand’s’ highest. Adrenaline was flowing before we left Paihia dock! Their website said the take-off and landing was smooth and gentle and that’s true!
I just hadn’t factored in the height in the middle and I was flying single, not tandem or triple. It was not long before I was at the height of Auckland’s Sky Tower above the water. Although fearful, during the ten minutes I did take some photos of the fantastic scenery and the boat pulling me. It seemed like a little dot, sometimes going in a different direction to me and the colourful parachute that floated above. This is a must-do for fabulous views of the bay and some of its 144 islands. Adventurers, and wimps like me, love to say “I did New Zealand’s highest parasail”.
Still in the bay, I went dolphin watching. As we searched in and around the islands and bays I realised why the first European to visit the area, Captain James Cook, named it The Bay of Islands. Unusually there were no dolphins on my trip (another trip is offered when this happens) but we did see a pod of Orca, killer whales, feeding – no wonder the dolphins where hiding. However, it seems their genetic warning system about this top-of-the-food-chain mammal, has not caught up with the fact that, in New Zealand, orcas prefer sting-rays.
This was the first area settled by Europeans. Whalers had arrived at the end of the 18th century, while missionaries arrived in 1814, and Russell is the centre of this history. Going there by one of the little ferries that leave Paihia wharf regularly and soon I’m enjoying a delicious lunch at ‘The Duke’. As I eat, I’m planning on sleeping in one of the rooms in this elegantly restored hotel next time I visit: they say they’ve been ‘refreshing rascals and reprobates’ for years and I’m sure I’d fit in! Granted the first liquor licence in New Zealand, it’s certainly grown from ‘Johnny Johnson’s Grog Shop’ and the drunken sailors that Darwin hated, to this stylish Duke of Marlborough Hotel.
Here in the bay, I took another step back in time on board the R Tucker Thompson, a replica tall ship and took an afternoon sail on her from Russell back to her berth at Opua wharf.
‘TheTucker’ is a gaff rigged schooner that operates as a not-for profit charitable trust: their mission is “Learning for Life through the Sea”. It is also used for tourism in the Bay of Islands from October through April and, for the sail training activities between May and September.
Designed by a naval architect it was originally a fishing boat with a large engine and a small sailing rig. Another man, Tucker Thompson, changed her design to build her in steel – making the hull longer and deeper to accommodate the tall rigging and is a replica of vessels that plied their trade on the Pacific West Coast of the USA in the early 19th century. (See more about the background to the ship on the R.Tucker Thompson’s website).
A day or two before my trip on the ship, I met Russell Harris (who was in partnership to complete the ship) when the model of the ship “Tiny Tuck” was on show in Paihia. Dressed in traditional clothing and with a cat-of-nine-tails in hand, I was pleased he was not on board when I sailed just in case I did something wrong!
I have done some ‘blue water’ sailing, and it was great to be back under sail again: despite enjoying sailing, I have never been up in the rigging either climbing or in the boson’s chair and this trip was no different – I’m sure many travellers love doing it when they go out for a day sail in ‘the bay.’ So, look at these photos and picture yourself up among the ropes and canvas when you get to New Zealand and go sailing with the crew.
On my road trip in Northland I took a step back in time by sailing in the Bay of Islands on board the R Tucker Thompson, a replica tall ship: I took an afternoon sail on her, from Russell back to her berth at Opua wharf.
‘The Tucker’ is a gaff rigged schooner that operates as a not-for profit charitable trust: their mission is “Learning for Life through the Sea”. It is also used for tourism in the Bay of Islands from October through April and, for the sail training activities between May and September.
Designed by a naval architect it was originally a fishing boat with a large engine and a small sailing rig another man, Tucker Thompson, changed her design to build her in steel – making the hull longer and deeper to accommodate the tall rigging and is a replica of vessels that plied their trade on the Pacific West Coast of the USA in the early 19th century. (See more about the background to the ship on the R.Tucker Thompson’s website).
A day or two before my trip on the ship, I met Russell Harris (who was in partnership to complete the ship) when the model of the ship “Tiny Tuck” was on show in Paihia. Dressed in traditional clothing and with a cat-of-nine-tails in hand, I was pleased he was not on board when I sailed just in case I did something wrong! (I’d prefer to ‘walk the plank’)
I have done some ‘blue water’ sailing, and it was great to be back under sail again: nevertheless, despite enjoying sailing, I’ve never been up in the rigging either climbing or in the boson’s chair and this trip was no different – although I’m sure most travellers love doing it when they go out for a day sail in ‘the bay.’ So look at these photos and picture yourself up among the ropes and canvas when you get to New Zealand and go sailing with the crew.
Follow them on @RTuckerThompson
Sending a bunch of pohutukawa flowers to you, my loyal readers who have signed up for emails when I write a new piece
( you can join them – use the button top right hand side of this page)
This is our kiwi Christmas tree, and when it flowers, it’s a signal that summer has arrived!
Next year you can expect many blogs on, not only Christchurch and Wellington, but also Northland (where I will be spending a couple of weeks in February – think sun, fun, dolphins, parasailing, cruising, snorkelling, night adventures, stars, waka, food, history, NZ’s national day, gum-diggers – the list going on and on: I know you will love getting my stories, just as I will love researching them. (The lengths I go to is amazing huh!) The rental car company I’m using is Rental Cars New Zealand.
Later in the year more stories from India, then Borneo for my first time and hopefully Turkey if the tour I’m taking in May goes ahead (see here).
I hope your year will be great too. All the very best for a wonderful 2012,
this photos was taken when I was sailing with a guy I met – on a bus in Thailand – and with whom, maybe a couple of years later, I sailed for a week with. (out of Marseilles, France) But, the stupidest thing I ever did was when sailing on a French yacht (Hatty) on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Living on a large island surround by the Pacific Ocean I have sailed a little. As a child my family always had a boat, starting with a dingy in which I learnt to row on the Akaroa Harbour and the Avon River.
Later we had a boat with an in-board motor and in my early teens was often able to use the boat to go down the Styx river, over a lagoon, then across the Waimakariri River, near the mouth, to a camping ground where we would buy an ice cream then return back to our holiday camping site. A journey which I’m sure no parent would allow their child do today!
Given that background it’s not surprising that of the four in my family, 3 of us had yacht — I am the odd one out! However I have sailed on their yachts, and in recent years have sailed on a Dutch yacht in the Mediterranean for a week and best of all, 6-weeks sailing from Brisbane to Cairns – through the Great Barrier Reef – on Hatty, a French yatch.And during which time I did two dangerous things (of the many stupid and dangerous things I’ve done in my life) Read the story, and see the photographic proof!
To pee or not to pee: that is often the question when you are out sailing, skiing or hiking and it’s too cold, too awkward, or too immodest to drop your trousers/pants.
Men have been always able to do this but for us women its always been a problem. At a sports show recently I was introduced to the Shewee – a device which enables women to pass urine standing up – fully clothed! (” a portable urinating device for women” the box says.
“Try it in the shower first” I was recommended and that was a helpful tip – not that there were problems but that it meant when I used it on a hiking trail it knew exactly what to do. It works! No cold rear end; no prickles in the derrière; and, no holding up the group while clothing was removed then pulled back up.
Coming in its own carry case, and with an extension pipe to improve directional flow, this is the ideal gift for the women traveller, skier, and hiker. I can see many women wanting to use it in Asian squat toilets as no squat required!So, when you just ‘have to go’ you can!
Q. Is this something you would use?
Please tell us some of your desperate-to-pee, ‘should have had a Shewee’ stories
Welcome to Pure Cruise New Zealand,
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Experience the best of what the Rotorua lakes have to offer with
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Lake Rotoiti is the most stunning and undiscovered lake of Rotorua, making it an idyllic destination for clients looking to embark on a luxurious sailing experience. Moored at the private jetty of the prestigious Duxton Hotel in Okawa Bay Rotorua, this beautiful vessel Tiua is newly refurbished, featuring contemporary comfort throughout.
Pure Cruise have designed Tiua specifically for entertaining, making it a stylish floating venue for social events, team incentives, meetings and private charters. High levels of comfort throughout the lounge and cockpit provide perfect places to relax with a drink in pure comfort. Our licenced bar features premium New Zealand wines matched with fine cuisine from The Duxton’s top chef Jonathan Beattie. Onboard facilities include three bathrooms, two luxury en-suite cabins and the spacious foredeck is just right for experiencing the pleasure of sailing in this unspoiled environment.
Pure Cruise offer a luxurious eco-tourism sailing experience with a choice of an Exclusive Private Charter or a Non-Exclusive cruise with other travellers. Your cruise can be as relaxed or as active as you like, with a range of activities on offer from trout fishing, sight-seeing, sailing, swimming, or taking a soak in Lake Rotoiti’s natural hot pools that are only accessible by boat.
Escape on board the Tiua for a luxury eco-sailing experience on beautiful Lake Rotoiti.
NOTE FROM kiwitravelwriter: I’m passing this on as have many memories of these Rotorua lakes and especially Rotoiti where my 3 children and I spent a great summer in a caravan. I have not been on one of these cruises (yet?)