It’s been a few days shy of a month since we arrived here in Opua. We have tried to find a balance between work and play but in reality…. it’s been a blast here! Despite the amount of work we needed to accomplish (next blog post) we have had a variety of day trips and runs into the nearby towns to take a break with our friends who so kindly took us along in their newly bought cars here in New Zealand (SV Sky Blue Eyes-Karl and Julie, SV Me Too-Clay, Jill, and Briley,and SV Spill the Wine-Chris and Nancy). Additionally, we have enjoyed hanging out with old and new friends here at the Bay of Islands (BOI) marina as well. Everyone has been so incredibly nice and helpful, including all the chandleries and local shops here doing work on the boats. I am sure I am missing a few photos but here is a start to our new relationship with New Zealand…it reminds me of Seattle!
Opua- BOI marina has basically what we need: Chandleries, riggers, sail makers, electrical and mechanical shops, if they don’t have it, they can order it…for a price! Things are a bit expensive here compared to prices we have seem in Mexico and even French Polynesia…they are comparable to the US so for us there is not much of a discount even with the exchange rate in our favor ($1 NZ dollar is equal to about $.75 usd currently). There is a small cafe here open for breakfast and lunch and a Sailing/Cruising Club that is open for dinner and occasionally would have live entertainment. There is a small store we can walk to with a small assortment of fresh veggies, meats, cheese, espresso and baked goods, beer, wine…. all the essentials! If however you needed a hardware store, bigger grocery store, or household goods, you need to travel to the other nearby towns. But we have made the best of what is here in Opua : )
Going beyond! Glow Worm caves, waterfalls, and Paroa winery-We took a day trip with SV Sky Blue Eyes (Karl and Julie) to tour around before they left for a trip back home to the US and Iceland!!!! They had bought a Subaru for near $2,000 nzd (looked just like my old car, just silver) and we toured around all day! Thanks for letting us come along for the ride Karl and Julie : )
Paihia-Is the closest town to Opua (15 minute drive), where the marina is. We have been here a handful of times to either get a few groceries, have dinner with friends, or just to take a break. It is where one of the major cruise ships stops and the town fills up with tourists of all types so lots of people watching opportunities and lots of diversity.
KeriKeri- is about 25 minutes driving from Opua. It’s bigger than Paihia with 2 main grocery stores, a hardware store, lots of little shops and restaurants, and a theater. We have only been here a few times, I think but each time we eat at Diablo’s Mexican restaurant!
There was a winery on the road to Kerikeri we stopped into…the owners are ex-cruisers from California (hence their logo…a sailboat) and we received a wealth of local info from good hikes, to where to go cruising in the BOI, and the difference between ketchup and pasta sauce: Tomato sauce is equivalent to ketchup here so you don;t want to buy it for your pasta…where Tomato paste here is equivalent to tomato sauce better for pasta sauces….I guess they learned the hard way…we have been lucky enough to have talked to them first before re-provisioning.
Fun decal on the window at Diablo’s…makes us miss Mexico even more!
Whangarei – We took a day trip with SV Me Too to check out another cruiser friendly marina and town about 1 1.5 hours away from Opua. This is the other marina most cruisers go to leave their boats for the cyclone season. A much larger town than Opua, Kerikeri, and Pahia it has all the things you need which a large downtown area, industrial area for boat parts, museums, and even a car auction place where you can buy a car for pretty cheap…this was one of our main reason to visit Whangarei to check out the car auction.
Getting ready for Christmas – My Gosh…it’s that time already….. other cruisers have been passing out small gifts and baked goodies so I thought I would dress up Slow Flight with our minimal stash of Christmas decorations…..