Finally….. the beautiful Bay of Islands
Since we came to live in New Zealand, and probably even before, I heard so much about the Bay of Islands that it obviously had to go onto our Must-See list (and my personal bucket list).
So on our first trip ever up to Northland and the Far North (is that the opposite of the Deep South?!) I was eagerly anticipating our arrival in the Bay of Islands.
It did not disappoint.
We stayed for an evening in Paihia (read about it here) , visited the surrounding areas including Kerikeri, and then finished the BofI part of our trip with the ultimate – a visit to Russell.
The Bay of Islands is not only known for its jaw dropping beauty but it’s also one of New Zealand’s most historic places.
For those that are not knowledgeable about the area here is a brief explanation (in my own non-historian words)….
The Bay of Islands was named by Captain James Cook in 1769. At that point the area had established Maori tribes but by the early 1800s (after people had seen Cook’s maps of the area) more folks began to arrive.
Whalers regularly called at Russell (then called Kororareka) for provisions and with the growth of the lawless and often bawdy port, it soon got the nickname Hellhole of the Pacific.
Across the waters the peaceful settlement of Paihia also grew with the establishment of missionaries, carpenters, blacksmiths and teachers.
James Busby arrives in 1832 to “protect British commerce and put an end to the outrages perpetrated by British subjects against the Maori”.
He was joined later by Captain William Hobson and in 1840 they drafted up a quite significant document – the Waitangi Treaty.
(If you are interested in the history of NZ please click the link to read more about the Treaty – it is the founding document of NZ and I will not do it an injustice by trying to give you my amateur explanation!)
In 1845 Russell saw Maori chief Hone Heke cut down the British flagstaff four times before attacking the town and starting the Northern Wars.
Russell’s church, Christ Church, is New Zealand’s oldest surviving church and was one of the few buildings in the town that the survived the ransacking and burning – although it still has musket ball holes visible in the walls.
Anyway… that’s enough background for you. If you really want to know more read the info on the links I’ve already given you!
I’ll finish off this post with some pictures from Paihia and Kerikeri’s historic basin (The Stone Store and Kemp House).
Next time I’ll take you on a trip to Russell.