Upon debarkation from Celebrity Solstice in Auckland, we took a cab to the SkyCity where we were scheduled to take a bus back to Pahia at 1:30 pm. As luck would have it, we were able to catch a 10:30 am bus so we returned to the Bay of Islands mid-afternoon instead of early evening–yay! After checking into our lodging, we went out for a couple of relaxing drinks along the harbor then to the local market for some provisions. It was a quiet day because there were no cruise ships that day.
Tourism is the major activity there; in fact, notices are posted on cruiseship arrivals. Those folks always leave by late afternoon and the town quiets down again–maybe not so wonderful for their economy, but great for us as visitors.
Mostly we just walked around the town and/or enjoyed R&R in our motel for the next three days; the only “trip” we took was the ferry to the nearby historic township of Russell, which briefly was the first capital of New Zealand, for dinner. Russell, nicknamed “The Hell Hole of the Pacific” due to its reputation as a baudy and lawless port in the 1800s, is now the home of cafes, gift shops, and B&Bs. After a great dinner of green-lipped New Zealand mussels, we headed back to prepare for our bus trip back to Auckland the next morning.
We took the 8:00 am bus back to Auckland, and would be getting on a 7:30 pm flight back to SFO. The bus ride was interesting again, going through rain forests and farm/grazing lands. Along the way, we saw a house where someone had put a fence around their house to look like Noah’s Ark…hmmm….
We got to Auckland bus terminal in the early afternoon and, since our flight back was not until 7:30 pm, we put our luggage in a storage locker and went back to the nearby Empire Pub where we had had some good meals and internet time back in early December during the first few days of our trip. In addition to having dependable wifi, they were warm and friendly and we knew we could spend some time there before going to the airport. We had one of their fab pizzas with some beer, did some wifi things, then left for the airport.
Finally, we boarded our AirNewZealand flight to SFO. Fun thing is that although we left at 7:30 pm NZ time, we would arrive SFO at 11:00 am same day–who said time travel is not possible???!!!
It’s Feb 19 now, and we’re settling back in…laundry, mail, and housework getting caught up after 9+ weeks…and looking forward to our next cruise, to Alaska in August–stay posted!