Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Zealand Artist's Tour: Cavalli Islands, Bay of Islands, Taupo

Cavalli Islands

The Cavalli Islands are just north of the Bay of Islands a few kilometers off the coast .They are a group of Islands that run along the east coast of Northland facing out to the Pacific Ocean . The western side of the islands are sheltered and yachts often seek shelter here in foul weather .

The western side of the islands descend down to sandy beaches but on the east side as you can see from the painting the coastline is rugged from being continually being pounded by the wind and surf of the Pacific Ocean .

On the main island there is an old Maori Pa which can be seen on the bottom right . There is a walk along the length of the island which is not too difficult but can be brisk with the sea wind in your face. If you get a chance to visit the island do so as it is an experience that you will never forget .

Bay of Islands

On the east coast of Northland is the Bay of Islands. This large bay is so named because of the numerous islands that are dotted around it. The bay itself is a marine reserve but having said that there are people who do live on some of these islands , much to the envy of those who take the daily trip around the bay and out to the Hole in the Rock.

This is a trip not to be missed. It leaves Paihia and Russell touring the bay with the captain giving a commentary .Providing that the sea is clement enough the Captain will navigate the Catamaran through the large arch in the Hole in the Rock which is at the southern end of the bay .The places of habitation in the Bay of Island are Russell, Paihia and Waitangi .

There is a ferry service between Russell and Paihia which is modestly priced and frequent, starting at 7 O'clock in the morning and running until late in the evening. Paihia comes to life in the summer over the Christmas period when there is a parade and a Hangi which is fun day .

Waitangi is the old governors residence and where the Waitangi treaty was signed between the Maori's and the British Monarchy , who were represented by Naval officers .The Governors residence is now a museum , across the road is Kelly Tarlton's ship wreck museum . In the New year as part of the Christmas festivities there is a tall boat race which can be watched from flag staff hill, Russell .There are numerous aquatic activities in the Bay of Island such as the world famous Marlin fishing .

You can also swim with the dolphins that frequent the Bay of Islands. This is very exhilarating as the guide has to search for the pod which can take you from one end of the bay of Islands to the other , very quickly . Once having located the pod you get to swim with them for about half an hour . In winter the dolphins swim north and the trips are made out into the bay to see the migrating Orca's - Killer Whales which again is exciting but you dont get to swim with them .

The Bay of Island's is blessed with numerous bays and islands ,some are secluded , such as Oke Bay , you can relax and get away from it all ,well until the tide comes in . There are bays as well that are very popular that get extremely packed in the summer especially during the Christmas period .

What ever your reason for visiting the Bay of Islands you are sure to have an interesting time that will give you lots of wonderful memories.


Taupo is almost in the centre of North Island and is part of the central thermal region which is composed of thermal pools and volcano's. It is bordered by the Volcanic mountains to the south which includes Mount Ruapehu ,as seen in the illustration to the left. In the North there is the thermal region which stretch's from Rotorua to Taupo itself . There are numerous thermal area's that can be visited , if you do want to see them all give yourself a few days to get around .

Also to the north is one of the most famous volcanos to have erupted in the last one hundred years - Mount Tarawera . This volcano was a massive eruption that buried the local area in volcanic soot and destroyed the pink and white terraces on the edge of Lake Tarawera . The thermal areas that you can visit are those at Waiumungo , Tiki Teri.

Lake Taupo is famous for its Trout fishing and several boats can be chartered for fishing trips out onto the lake . Also there are boat trips that can be taken , one of which is on the Earnest Kemp a small boat that used to ply its trade from Keri Keri in the Bay of Islands. The Earnest Kemp takes you around the lake to see points of interest.

Leading from lake Taupo is the Waihiki river, this flow's north to the Huka falls which is a gully that has been eroded by the constant flow of the river. It is some three metres wide and the water gushes through here at immense pressure and speed .Also part of the area is the Mount Tongariro and river which forms part of a hydro electric generating system powering the national grid. The Tongariro river is also good for Trout fishing as well .

There are a wide selection of places to stay in and around Taupo . A number of them have thermal pools or baths which are ideal to wallow in after a long days tramping. There is a annual Craft fare at Taupo and this is worth seeing even if you do not want to buy any thing .

If you travel through the central region there are several lakes that are worth visiting as they are very scenic and also provide good fishing . The journey from Taupo to Rotorua has a lot to offer . Thermal areas that are all varied and different, Trout fishing , thermal baths that will take away all of those aches and pains , wonderful views that are ideallic for the artist , and not forgetting good places to eat for the weary traveler.

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