bay of islands, NEW ZEALAND: Sunshine, sHEEP & silence

There was no better way to kick off our New Zealand honeymoon adventure than with some (necessary) R&R. Upon arriving in New Zealand, we made our way up to the Bay of Islands and did just that. Typically flooded with locals from Auckland escaping the city for beach vacations, we traveled in September (springtime in New Zealand) and managed to miss the crowds. We took a gamble on the off-season weather, but the rain held off for us and we enjoyed sunshine every day. The landscape blew us away right off the bat. Wide open fields for as far as the eye can see, interrupted only by the friendly (and adorable) herds of grazing sheep, cows and deer and tall, and the rugged mountains will take your breath away. We felt like we were practically the only people on earth, in a glorious, peaceful and just-married kind of way.

Sleep... Cavalli Beach House. This 4-room bed and breakfast is run by the sweetest couple. They bought the house when they retired and take great pride in hosting their guests. We enjoyed meeting and sharing dinner with a few Kiwi couples during our stay.

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Point Reinga - The 2 1/2 hour drive to the Far North - the Northern most point in New Zealand - was our first foray into driving the windy New Zealand roads, on the other side of the road! But the destination was worth the adventure of the drive. The lighthouse at Point Reinga is where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean and it is clear that these are two powerful bodies of water. The Moari (the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand) believe the cape is where the spirits of the dead enter the underworld. Both the spiritual and physical presence here was powerful. 

Kayak - It was fun to get out on the water and explore. We paddled across the cove and hiked out a bit from there. 

Swim - The water was cold but refreshing. I think the other guests thought we were a bit crazy, but jumping in the ocean was a great way to start the day each morning.

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{ September 2015 }

Mangonui Fish Shop - Aside from excellent meals at Cavalli we didn't venture out much, but did stop at the Mangonui Fish Shop one day for classic and delicious fresh fish and chips  - capped off with a refreshing beer.