Looking toward the north headlands as the waters of the Tasman Sea (on the left) collide with the waters of Hokianga Harbour (on the right).
We've made our way to the small vacation village of Kerikeri, near the Bay of Islands. Lucy has reserved, sight unseen, a room at the Woodlands Motel. What a gem this has turned out to be! The motel is tucked back off the road down a long, forested gravel driveway. Behind the lounge, deck, pool and spa, the rooms consist of several small, two-unit cabins along a meandering boardwalk. Our comfortable room has its own private deck facing the forest. Like everyone we've met in this country, the proprietors, Wendi and Tony, are cheery and a joy to chat with. If you're visiting this part of the country, this is the place to stay!
It's enormously peaceful sitting on the deck with a morning cup of tea, watching and listening to all the exotic birds flitting amongst the ferns, redwoods, and eucalyptus trees.
This is Kiwi Country--the bird kind. We venture over to Aroha Island, a Kiwi sanctuary, for a visit. Kiwis are night creatures, so we're not going to see any during the day, but the center is a treasure trove of displays and information about the life, biology, and history of the elusive bird. And naturally, the caretaker-couple who live on the island are friendly and eager to talk with us. This still being somewhat of the off-season, we're the only visitors there.
View of Matauri Bay from the Rainbow Warrior Monument.
The Rainbow Warrior Monument commemorates a Greenpeace ship sunk in a New Zealand harbour by French agents in 1985.