Sunday 4 May 2014

Paihia, New Zealand I: Russell Island

I arrived in Paihia on a cold drizzling day so I stayed in and caught up on my sleep. Paihia is like a sleepy beach town and how much do I love that even the library and clinic are housed inside bungalows? Goodbye skyscrapers!

I woke up bright and early the next day and took a ferry to Russell Island (why yes, another island.. haha). Thank goodness for the clear sky! Russell holds an important place in New Zealand's history, being the country's first sea port, its first European settlement and New Zealand's first capital in nearby Okiato. The town's streets retain their original layout and names from 1843, and many of its historic buildings can still be visited today. (via

I walked up Kororareka Point Scenic reserve and got a little lost and ended up trespassing into someone's erm backyard. I happily followed the signs and reached a quiet little beach where I sat and ate my lunch. After that I climbed up a flight of wooden stairs, assuming that this was the continuation of my route. But alas, the stairs led to a locked gate informing me that I was trespassing. So the whole area is like the backyard of this ultra rich man/woman?!? My goodness. I climbed out of the bush (this is really hard to describe) and tried to find a way down but I was like stuck in someone's driveway or something. So I went back down to the quiet little beach and traced my steps back to where I came from and finally reached the main road.

Then I decided to walk to Tapeka Point via Flagstaff road. AND GUESS WHAT, I saw the house that I trespassed earlier!! HAHAHA. Tapeka Point walk brings you to the top of the hill at the tip of the island and you feel like you're standing on top of the world. It is so magical and incredible. This walk is also pretty narrow and it goes up and down a few hills before you reach the end. I think this walk ranks a close second to the Waiheke island walk.

Cons of travelling solo: You have to rely on the timer function of the camera when there is nobody around. I balanced my camera on the 'End of Track' sign. This photo was taken when the timer was too quick for me to turn around and smile, which explains the awkward position of my hands..

I walked back to the harbour via the zig zag walkway which went around two hills and sat down to wait for the ferry. This teacher with some kids approached me and asked me if I'm good at telling jokes. LOL. They were on some hunt and one item was to videotape three people telling a joke. I was caught by surprise and thought hard of a suitable joke for young children. I should really prepare a pocket full of jokes next time. He said I could tell a joke in Chinese if I want but I couldn't remember the last time I told a joke in Chinese. So I decided to tell the gorilla joke. In case you don't know the joke... 'A hunter saw a gorilla in the jungle and wanted to shoot an arrow at it. So he aimed his arrow at the gorilla and fired. But the gorilla caught it and roared at the hunter. The hunter quickly shot another arrow and the gorilla caught it again. But the gorilla still died. Why?' ANSWER. Come to think of it, the joke is verging on animal cruelty. Oh dear. Anyway the kids didn't look as if they got the joke, they just stared at me peculiarly throughout the whole conversation. The teacher laughed though. 

I got off the ferry at Waitangi because I walked to go for the Mangrove Walkway but I couldn't find it! I circled around where the entrance was supposed to be for like five times but there was no signs or anything.. So I gave up and walked along the beach back to my hostel. Passed by a Farmer's Market which was so exciting but I didn't buy anything because I have yet to finish the food I bought yesterday.

Look at how the roads go up and down like a roller coaster. When I first saw it in Auckland, I stood rooted for about five minutes amused.

How to get there?
Take a ferry from Paihia ferry terminal for NZD14.

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