I left the luxury of Pat and Peter's place to start my 24 day tour of New Zealand at Nomads hostel, Auckland. Definitely a bit of a downgrade in terms of accommodation standards so far, but I was quite happy to be there after an evening with the group drinking $5 beers. The next morning we set off for the Bay of Islands, about a three and a half hour drive north from Auckland, which was split up with a few stops.

One of these stops was spent at Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre, where we met a couple of extremely talkative tuis.

One tui in particular reminded me of an eccentric old man with his white beard, intermittently asking us what we were doing, telling us to come closer or to go away, and whistling 'Pop Goes the Weasel'. Weird. 

The highlight of this stop had to be Rob and his one-legged kiwi, Sparky, who we got to stroke. He even scrunched up his eyes when you tickled his ears.

Sparky also liked trying to climb up Rob's sleeve which, needless to say, was hilarious to watch!

We spent the next few days in the Bay of Islands on a houseboat where I ended up spending far too much money at the onboard bar... although we all departed the boat feeling like we knew each other quite a lot better!

We fished off the side of the boat, night-kayaked in the phosphorescent water, and ate BBQ steak. All-in-all, another great experience messing about on boats.

I still feel like an idiot for not taking my GoPro out on the snorkelling trip we did there because we saw at least three very large stingrays along with loads of other fish that we hand fed sea urchins to. 

We left the boat after a walk up to a view point that showed us where we'd been docked. Pretty gorgeous scenery.

Massive thanks to my lovely friend Bec, who completely saved my ass here after I accidentally deleted all my photos from this part of the trip from my SD card. Smooth!

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