The Rock in Bay of Islands

One of the most unique places I stayed while in New Zealand was The Rock.  It is car ferry that has been converted into a floating hostel.  The best part of the trip was the crew, especially Captain Rowan.

Part of the crew from The Rock.
Part of the crew from The Rock.
Rowan with The Rock in the background.

The trip started in the coastal town of Paihia, which sits along the Bay of Islands.  On the way to our anchorage for the night we had a paint ball competition.  Whomever won would get a free drink from the bar (by the way The Rock also had a piano and pool table on board).  The had a plastic duck that they drug behind The Rock and each of us got three attempts.  I came close, but didn’t hit it.

The first night we went night kayaking to see the phosphorescent micro-creatures.  There was almost a full moon, so it was harder to see them than if it was completely dark.  However, I did see them and thoroughly enjoyed the bright flickers as my paddle scooted through the water.  After kayaking we warmed ourselves by the fire while some fellow travelers entertained us with the guitar and their voices.

Sunset at Bay of Islands
Sunset at Bay of Islands.
Night Swimming
Some of the gang (not me!) decided to do some night swimming. The water was quite warm.

The next morning I was up early, along with Ebony, Isabel, and Tanja.  The previous night Captain Rowan had anchored The Rock near a beach he had never explored before, so he asked if we wanted to go on an adventure.  The four of us gals along with Captain Rowan loaded up in The Rock’s dingy and motored towards the beach.

Island Island

Early Risers
The early risers.

If the soft sand, which I easily sunk into up past my ankles wasn’t enough, we were greeted with the beautiful songs of wild Tui birds (small black bird with a sheen of blue).  We goofed around, took a few photos, and then it was time to head back to The Rock.

Sinking in the Sand
Sinking in the soft sand.

After breakfast, the fishing commenced.  We needed to catch our lunch after all.  There were a lot of snapper and parrot fish caught that morning.  I personally caught two.  Right before lunch some of our group went to harvest kina (sea urchin) and do a little snorkeling.  Since I had snorkeled several times in Belize and was headed to Australia I opted to stay out of the cool water.  By the way, to see how the kina eating went…click here.

Me helping catch lunch…the hat was “lucky”.
Kina Harvesting.
Getting ready to go kina harvesting.
Kina Harvesting
Kina harvesting.

While lunch was being prepared, we were ferried onto a nearby island, Moturua, for an educational hike.  At the top were incredible views of the Bay of Islands, including a view of the only privately owned island called Roberton’s.  After hiking back down, we enjoyed the beach for a while before getting back on board for lunch.

Trail on Moturua Island

Moturua Island
View from the top of Moturua Island.
The Rock
A view of The Rock from the top of Moturua Island.
These cormorants look like penguins until they extend their wings.

StarfishIt was a sad ride back to Paihai.  The Bay of Islands, The Rock, and the entire crew made the 1 1/2 days we spent there feel more like several days of sweet relaxation.

Side Note

The New Zealanders are serious about protecting their birds, especially the kiwi bird (see this post with me petting a kiwi).  It’s not uncommon to hear or see the phrase “pest free” on their islands.  The stoat (a weasel type critter) is one of the biggest offenders.

Pest Free
Sign indicating island is pest free and rules for keeping it that way.
Stoat Trap
Stoats are a real problem for kiwi birds, so making islands “pest free” is a common theme for New Zealand.


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