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.
Equipment: 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.
We tried hard to climb the steep slope, but we couldn't tolerate the hot sand. In the end, we ended up walking around the slope to a point were we could easily climb the hill. It was still hot, but as soon as we were on the other side of the slope (the side where the sun wasn't hitting) the sand got cool again. We heard the horn for the bus and that meant we had to go down here and now. We were about 2/3 up the first hill when that happened and decided to just ride from that point. Down we went. I was going so fast I had to yell to Connor to get out of the way. Apparently, he had lost control and had fallen over on the side I was riding. Luckily he ended up moving in time. I continued down the slope. As I reached the creek, I heard a big bump on my jaw and realized that I had accidentally bitten the inside of the cheek... yikes! I had a bit of blood on my inner mouth and boy did it hurt, but all in all I was alright. I was tired, dirty, covered with sand, and with a little bit of blood in my mouth. It was a perfect end for a day, but the day wasn't even close to being over! I climbed aboard the bus and took my seat.
Feeling a bit more adventurous, I managed to convince Connor to ride down the back slope. As we reached the first summit, we walked through the ridge to the top of the second slope. The first slope we tried had a 45 degree angle with ample of space to slow down. The slope we were about to try had an 80 degree angle with little room for error. Before I went down the slope, I asked Connor if he thought we had enough room to brake. He replied by saying sure. Oh, how na?ve we were at that time. What followed closely resembled a scene from a funny cartoon. I hopped into the buggie board and headed down hill head first. I quickly caught up a tremendous speed. Unlike the powdery sand of the slope on the front, this one was as hard as a rock and as hot as a frying pan. So down I went catching up speed without slowing down. I reached the bottom, which had very little room for braking. To my surprise, I didn't slow down and I was so fast I couldn't possible roll to the side without getting hurt. So, I instinctively covered my head with my arms and hopped for the best. Mimicking a cartoon character, I headed head on towards the upcoming smaller slope ahead of me. It was one of those slopes that have been weathered down by wind, thus showing a ninety degree angle wall. All I can remember is hitting that slope hard. It didn't hurt much at the time, but according to Connor I hit it like an exploding torpedo sending off sand up high into the air for all to see. It was hilarious he said! I was just happy to be alive for a few inches to my right and left was several sharp rocks that were not visible from above! I tried to warn him not to follow on my footsteps, but he didn't get the message up above. All I could see was him on the board riding at a fast speed down bellow. He saw the error of my ways though and managed to roll himself to the side to slow down. It didn't help him much either for he rolled like crazy. Luckily no one was hurt so we decided to head uphill to ride the easier slope on the other side.
At the northern end of 90 Miles Beach, we headed inland through a small creek. The bus stopped at the side of a big sand dune so that we could do some serious sand surfing. As the bus parked on the side of the creek, we had an uphill battle to the top of the sand dune. As in any sand environment, every yard gained as you go uphill is followed by a loss of a foot downhill. At least the sand was small as powder and as cool as the ground covered by shade. The reward from atop is worthwhile as you get a 360 degree view of the region. Not only that, once I caught my breath, I proceeded to go downhill. Instead of walking, I did some surfing - sand-surfing - using a bogie board and riding it head first. I went first on the group of 25. I ended up going all the way down to the creek, despite a slight correction when I nearly lost control. See, you used your feet to brake and steer so it can and does get complicated. In any case, it was awesome! The ride started down a semi-steep slope. Then, it slowed down on a flat segment before heading down one last slope. In the end, you reach the creek bellow. Less than a handful manage to reach the creek so I was glad I was one of them! It was such a rewarding experience that I went ahead and did the same slope twice! Again, I managed to reach the creek with no qualms.
Starting off, I decided to get a hand on fishing. I figure that with the storming weather it should be a good way to kill the time. The fishing boat picked us up from the pier early in the morning. We had the better part of the day to fish around the Bay of Islands. Unfortunately, I didn't catch anything. However, as a fellow fisherman from Scotland said, "it is not about the catch, but about the relaxation aspect of fishing." Throwing the bait in the water and trying to reel in the fish proved to be relaxing indeed. I ended up getting a bit of a tan as well :). At one point, we even got to see a school of giant king fish swimming past the boat. Oh well, I?ll catch one next time :).
One of the many activities you can do in Paihia. There's also skydiving and parasailing in the 'air' category as well.