The Bay of Islands is a beautiful spot about 3 hours north of Auckland. It's a bit like a backpacker's Cornwall, but the water is about 21 degrees. Top cheese.
Unfortunately, just like Cornwall the weather can be fickle. We had hoped to spend the next day sailing on a tall ship, but we were met with a Grimsby Drizzle. So, we hopped into the car and drove across to the North coast, where we found some lovely deserted beaches. The waves were pretty fierce, but it was great fun frolicing about in them as they tried to batter us into submission.
For the evening, we headed back into Paihia and then caught a ferry across to the posh town of Russel. Lovely spot with nice old colonial buildings, just across the water from the spot where the British Crown signed a treaty with the Maoris to initiate modern New Zealand. We had a very expensive fancy pants tea on the water front, but look at the view we had..
We broke the trip home by dropping into Goat Island. Great fun in the surf, especially when the local ducks joined us. I kid you not. Those fellas were bloody good at it too, but a couple took some nasty hits when the hit the beach at too higher rate of knots....