Paihia is a charming town on the coast. It is at the south end of an area called Bay of Islands. True to its name, you can take cruises through the Bay of Islands and participate in all water sports. As we have had our fair share of boat rides and cruises on this holiday, we decided to pass on the opportunity, though it did look fantastic.
Small world story... L went in to buy a phone card and I waited in the van. I saw a familiar looking guy pass the van with a couple other guys and decided to take a chance. I yelled "John" out the window and sure enough, the guy looked back. It was one of the guys we sailed with in the Whitsundays! We chatted for a bit, but he was in a rush to go on a boat trip. Short and sweet visit but nice to see him again.
We spent the afternoon at an Internet cafe the checked into a campsite nowhere near town but located right on the water.
Next day we visited the Waitanga National Park. This was the site of the signing of the treaty in the 1850s between hundreds of Maori tribal chiefs and Great Britain to share NZ and live in peace. We watched a film on the history of the alliance, walked the grounds and saw the spot where the treaty was signed and saw the original home of the General who orchestrated the whole process. Nothing like a bit of culture to start your day.