Checking out the rooms.
The lodge is really special. It is 4 levels, you enter passing to the dining hall n the kitchen. Couple of steps lower is the lounge area, with a sweeping view of the sea, and also reading area, with an open bar, a small pc to check out the e mails, digital piano etc.
and the floors below were mainly the guest rooms and the laundry etc.
Using the fresh local produce, Peter gave endless platters of seafood entrees. I piled some on my plate to pic this...
we had freshly shucked oysters, mussels with sundried tomatoes, n smoked cod, n corn cakes with avocado salsa
Paihia - shopping
We drove to Paihia early in the morning - it is a strip of shops and restaurants, and of course lots of lodging, and tour opertors to the sea etc. We went to church - funny but we found out that most of the churches here co-share their services like the one we went to was Anglican and Catholic mass, we saw another church which co share with Pebysterian and Methodist etc.
Of course we went shopping...Cabbage Tree is interesting... lots of local produce, we bought some painted tiles with NZ motifs like koru and the fern leaf, I bought some pot holders, and some paua shell to hold soap. Got that idea from the Cliffedge.
Long white sandy Beach
This is not so much 'exclusive' local knowledge, but in contrast to the grey pebbley beaches of Russell and Paihea, call a taxi or walk over the fairly steep hill, in russell and follow the top rd to the left and you will make your way down to 'long beach' which is about 400m long with fine sand, good snorkelling around the rocks and quite nice for swimming - there is no shops, so you will have to bring your own food - but it is one of the nicest spots in Russell - theirs a nudist beach at the far end if thats your thing, but it gets pretty cold in winter. if you are desperate for a surf their is sometimes a bit of a wave, but this is a rarity - otherwise it really is good!
Visit Urupukapuka Island.
Urupukapuka Island is one of the largest in the Bay of Islands. It also has incredibly beautiful coastal scenery. Otehei Bay is the main arrival point for commercial ferries and cruises. There is a camp ground there and a hostel. There is also a cafe/restaurant. Otehei Bay is perfect for swimming with a shallow beach and clear water. When we were there, dolphins came into the bay, but didn't stay long. There is more about Urupukapuka in the "General" section.