So arriving in Paihia quite late after a random night in a local pizza restaurant and bar where they brew their own beer called Frings with the owners while waiting for my bus. Three much older guys Mike, Gazza and Dan are cool to chat to killing time and good on the local knowledge. I have to wait there for about 3 hours, so not too bad and with some live music and a few ciders it’s quite a fun night, although I don’t eat there as the food isn’t really that cheap at $20 for a pizza (10GBP). So on the naked bus, again pretty reliable, it is only just over an hour away and I’m in the Mousetrap and as it’s Saturday night and someone is leaving from the hostel they are having a mini party at the reception as I check in. Technically NOT a party hostel, but a one off and the owners Jake and Nikki from London are very cool and welcoming giving me a few beers so I join in and chatting away. A handy way to meet people from the town as all of the people there are workers from other hostels, however the town is so small and with only 3 bars it is hard not to find people in the town if they are out.
So not too crazy a first night a few beers around the hostel and then check out the base bar across the road as that is where all the kiwi experience people go so good to see what they are like and maybe because it is Saturday night it is pretty busy there with people dancing on the bar even.
Next morning it is nice to have a little lay in and more of a chilled day working out the plan for Paiha and catching up on admin jobs. It is a rainy day frustratingly, so a good day to do some admin before heading out at lunchtime for a long walk to the Huraru Falls that in total takes about 5 hours.
Walking through the town first to have a bit of an explore it’s not very big, but seems to have all the main things that you need and it is quite buzzy with tourists. There is a little craft market on opposite the ferry wharf and a St John ambulance selling hotdogs for $2 a bargain. I wonder what it would be like in the height of summer as it is fairly quiet being the time of year, but all down the street there are motels that have great sea view of the islands. The ferry wharf is cute with a bar and restaurant and there is a helicopter pad for the bay of island tours right next to where you buy the ferry tickets. The walk follows the beach as town is on the beach and has cool views out to the islands. As you walk further up towards Whitangi start getting all the bushland opposite the beach. The beach isn’t anything amazing, but good for a swim and see quite a few camper vans parked up making the use of the ocean as their shower and making the most of the picnic tables dotted along the front for their sea view dinner.
After all the winding road eventually the Waitangi Treaty Grounds comes up and there is a super nice hotel there Copthorne, which reminds me of my pre backpacking days and the sort of place sis would like! Not much to see at the site unless you pay $40 (20GBP) for the museum entrance and entrance to traditional Mauri show that I feel is quite expensive just for a few hours, so ditch that and decide to make the most of the free stuff like the walk which starts just across the road from the hotel.
April 15th 2016