Kiwi Experience day 3 - Paihia - Bay of Islands - Auckland

Today was the last day in Paihia with the Kiwi Ex Bus departing at 14:30pm, once again headed down to Auckland. I wanted to make the most of my time here as it is absolutely stunning so I decided to do a day trip to Urupukapuka Island. 

I headed down to the harbour to be picked up by the speed boat at 8:30am and found that three of the other Kiwi Ex guys whom I had previously met, were also waiting to be picked up. The trip included a tour of the surrounding islands by speed boat, drop off at Urupukapuka Island and subsequent pick up at either 12pm or 4pm. As I had to catch the bus at 2:30pm I had no choice but to opt for the earlier pick up, which was a real shame because the cost of the trip is the same regardless of how long you stay on the island. 

The tour on the speed boat was good fun. The boat would slow down when in close proximity of the islands, providing us with great close up views and allowing us to take some nice pictures. The captain also provided a commentary, sharing with us interesting facts and the history of the islands. 

We reached Urupukapuka Island at around 9.45am and were dropped off at Otiao (Indigo Bay). We were provided with maps and advised that the pick up point for the return boat was at Otehei Bay. This meant I had approximately 2 hours to complete one of the walking tracks to be at the pick up location on time. Both the map and the signs around the island advise you of how long each track will take, it is worth baring in mind that the advised timings are usually based on the longest journey times, so if you are fit and healthy the chances are you will complete the track a lot quicker. 

A good portion of the track was uphill which was tiring especially in the heat but the views from the 360 view point more than made up for the exhaustion. I was able to complete one of the shorter tracks and be at the pick up point by 11.15 which gave me 45 minutes to relax on the beach, have a snack and a swim. 

The boat arrived promptly at 12pm and I was back in Paihia by 1pm. After a short walk to the hostel and some last minute packing we were all ready to yet again jump on the Kiwi Bus. In hindsight, I would definitely recommend staying in Paihia/Bay of Islands longer than just two nights. The nightlife isn’t great but the hostel bar is very popular with the backpackers and the locals so it gets quite busy. It really is a beautiful place, with a lot to do especially if you want to enjoy the beach and take part in outdoor pursuits.