Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge Paihia
Marsden Road, Bay of Islands, Paihia, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
More about Bay of Islands
Sunset at the Bay of Islands
Elliot Bay looking north
The Rock parked in the Bay of Islands
Looking south across the bay
Can someone tell me the best time of year for going dolphin and/or whale watching from Paihia please. Also, morning or afternoon trip?
Re: Dolphin watching
I cannot answer your question to full satisfaction but give some incomplete information.
Dolphins are around the whole year, whales are visitors. The only place in NZ where the chance to spot whales year-round is Kaikoura because the sperm whales are year-round residents, whereas most other species are migrating and visiting.
Blue whales, for example, are migrating along NZ's coast from March onwards, on their way from the Antarctic to their subtropical breeding grounds. The rule of thumb is that they are migrating to Antarctica in summer and to northern waters in winter. In the north - so off Paihia - you have a good chance to the Bryde's Whales as they live year-round in temperate seas.
If you see more dolphins and whales in the morning or afternoon is pure luck. I was on several such tours, at different times of the day, and you can never say what happens. However, if you do not see whales in Kaikoura you get 50% of your money back, whereas most dolphin tour operators just give you a complimentary voucher for a free tour if you do not see dolphins. As most tourists do not come back this is a friendly looking way to rip off people. I, for example, am sitting on a voucher of Dolphin Explorer in Auckland since five years, as on other occasions when I wanted to redeem my voucher the boats did not sail because of strong wind...
Just book a dolphin tour in Paihia and if you are lucky you might spot a whale or two.
Re: Dolphin watching
Thanks. We actually live close to Paihia, and have a dolphin tour voucher from a few years ago that we just havent gotten around to using yet. As we missed them the first time, we'd love to see them second time round, and so plan to try and visit at the best possible time. We've been lucky in Ecuador and South Africa, and off the beach locally, so fingers crossed for when we "pop up the road" to Paihia.
Re: Dolphin watching
I understand. What is bad for us humans is good for the dolphins - they do as they please, and then we are lucky or not. In Kaikoura I once saw about 50 dolphins on a whale watch tour, next time not a single one, and the third time a pod of 200.
As they will give you another voucher if you miss out again you will have another opportunity to travel to Paihia ;-) But, of course, I wish you the best with your tour.
Travel Tips for Bay of Islands
Clear water bays and white sand!
Urupukapuka Island is stunning in the summer time. There are lots of great looking beaches around the coast. Some of them are very dificult to get to on foot - believe me! Kayaking would be the best way to go. According to the brochure I have here, they are $NZ14 per hour for a single and $NZ21 for a double. Day rates apply as well. I would definitely get one if I went again. There are lots of scenic walks around the island that lead to ancient Maori settlement sites. Some are quite steep though, so take good shoes. The whole island is under the protection of the Department of Conservation.
The beach in the picture is easily reached on foot.
Cliffedge - the breakfast table
Just next to the kitchen bench, is the breakfast table which Glennis each morning would lay out some variety of stuff for brekfast. There is always some nice fruit platter, and yogurt, cheese, toast and a wonderful coffee maker that churns out all kinds of coffee...latte, caps etc.
There are also lots of cookbooks lying around...
never ever have lunch here at York Street Cafe,
while at Russell we were hungry and wanted quick bite - opted the York Street Cafe - which is next postie, n not far from the museum.
terrible service....and ultra rude staff. even while they were taking the food order, you could see the frown on her face...
nearby are lots of shops, art shops, gift shops and across are public toilets
One of the things you can actually do right at Paihia is fish. Steve Butler is one of those legend people and I was recommended to him. I'm so glad. It was the absolute last day of our stay before the weather window opened up and we could get outside in the boat but it was a hoot of a day. Kingfish, John Dory, schnapper and Bastard Red Cod (that's their name) all came on board, along with one barracouta that was duly despatched.
It's a 36ft purpose built boat that Steve designed himself and he will only take four so as to avoid tangles (anthough we still managed a couple). You also get a cup of tea and biscuits which I was grateful for after pulling in a few big ones.
The cost when I went out was $210 per person.
A fabulous day out with a professsional man at the helm. If you're into fishing, do it. All equipment is supplied and it's the best gear I've ever had on a charter. Overhead reels are what he uses (someone finally taught me how to use one) and you really need them when you latch on to a big kingfish because you'll be hanging on with two hands and still losing line.
Cape Brett Hole-in-the-Rock Cruise
When visiting the Bay of Islands area we had to make at least one cruise to see at least a couple of the 144 islands. We decided to make the "Cape Brett Hole-in-the-Rock Cruise" with Fullers, leaving in the morning from Paihia for a halfday cruise.
Fullers vessel is a nice catamaran, but if you want to sit outside on the deck be sure to board early. We made a stop in Russell before leaving to the Bay. The journey continues along beautiful bays and islands, surrounded by crystal clear sea. Some of them are inhabited; must be like a fairy tale to live here. But it is also exiting to see the 'fight' between sun and clouds in the middle of these amazing scenery.
We didn't see the 'promised' dolphins, just a Gannet colony on Bird Rock.
Motukokako Island is the island with the hole in the rock. Although the waves were pretty high the skipper succeeded to manoeuvre his 'huge' boat through the 'small' hole. Further on we met schools of fishes, among them blue coloured ones (maomao fish ??). On the other side of the island we also entered a sea cave.
On the way back there is a long stop on an island called Urupukapuka. Here you can make a (extra) trip with a kind of submarine. We decide to have a lunch in the café on the island and to walk around and to enjoy the lovely scenery.
To be honest: we found this stop a kind of a tourist trap. It takes too much time, the coffee was bad and expensive.
Popular Hotels in Bay of Islands
State Highway 12, Waipoua Forest, Dargaville, 0376, New Zealand