This has to be the most awkward picture
I've ever taken.
Kia Ora from Paihia
I had quite an eventful week on the northern tip of NZ. The whole area is collectively known as Bay of Islands. Within the first hour we arrived we were on a jet boat to see "Hole in the Rock". Basically we took a 1 1/2 hour boat ride to an island off the coast with a hole right through the center. It was big enough that our boat drive right through it. I must comment about the color of the water because it was the most beautiful deep blue I have ever seen. The second day was spent driving on 90 mile beach. When I say drive I mean drive. It is a stretch of beach that is "safe" enough to drive on even though there are warning signs that say your car could get washed into the ocean. We drove the van right along the coast and I loved every second of it. Towards the end we came upon huge sand dunes. It was a 4 wheeling paradise! My favorite part of the trip was Cape Reinga. It is the northern most land of New Zealand and it is marked by a white lighthouse that overlooks the Tasman and Pacific Oceans meeting. The lighthouse is out on a sea cliff so it gave a great view of the blue ocean and the very green Bay of Islands area. I think this will be the view I'll remember most of New Zealand. Unfortunatley I did not bring my camera out on Cape Reinga because it was pouring rain. I also went horseback riding in Paihia. Riding on an English saddle was a little difficult but the panoramic view of the farm land was well worth it! I highly reccommend horseback riding for random fun!
I also got to see the grounds where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. The treaty was signed by Maori chiefs to make New Zealand a country. What is amazing about the treaty is that the Maori people were not being conquered by the British. Rather, each group of people came to a compromise and agreement to live on the land in harmony with equal rights.