The Bay of Islands: Kerikeri and Cape Reinga

Days 4 & 5 of our North Island holiday (April 3rd & 4th, 2012)

I don’t think I could ever handle living downtown in a big city. By the time we left Auckland, my body felt tense again. With the likelihood of earthquakes in New Zealand and all the potential disasters and us being way up in the sky the night before, and way above the ground in our hotel overlooking the street far down below, and the traffic, I felt relieved to be leaving the big city behind. I couldn’t wait for our next destination; a little town called Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands, where we had booked a couple nights at a Bed & Breakfast. I slowly felt myself become less uptight as we drove further and further away from Auckland; but not completely. It started raining on us, which was slightly disheartening; we had seen this gloomy weather predicted on the forecast, but had been hoping it wouldn’t be true. The 3-hour drive to Kerikeri was peaceful and I realized again how much I love the green countryside, and we were satisfied with more glimpses of the rolling hills and grazing sheep. As we approached the Northern Gateway Road, it warned us that it was a toll road. There was another route I think you could take to not pay, but we had no idea where and how long that would take us to our destination, if it even took you there. It was annoying to us as we saw like 3 signs; obnoxiously screaming out in blinking lights, “You have 5 days to pay!” We were like, “Oh really? Good grief!” Then we started laughing about the tickets we had received and all the fees this country had been seeking from us; just how expensive we had found this country to be. I made a joke and said, “Imagine a cartoon of New Zealand, like it’s a person with a gun in its hand pointed at us and it yells in a mean, authoritative voice, “Stick ‘em up and give me all you got!” Josh thought that was quite funny.

At last, we approached the small town of Kerikeri, and I do believe that is now one of my favorite places in all of New Zealand. It reminded me of a cozy town like Fredericksburg, Texas, where you could get lost in the small town charm life and forget all your former troubles. We took the road that was just a few miles outside of town, down a country road and I felt overjoyed when we saw the sign that said “Lyness Accommodation”. It was like a dream as we pulled down the long drive and a brown and white horse galloped enthusiastically to the fence to welcome us home. We stopped the car, and I felt a rush of glee. Was this planned? What a special little addition to have a horse greet us! I talked to him through the rolled down windows and the horse’s eyes were an icy blue color. I’d never seen that before; it was so beautiful. We passed underneath the pine trees and drove down the wet, gravel road covered in pine needles. The smell was comforting. We pulled into the driveway to the house and I exclaimed at how pretty the home was. Josh and I got out of the car and I was anxious to meet the innkeepers. I had talked to the lady on the phone and she was so sweet and gave us tips on what to do while we were in the area. I was about to ring the doorbell, but saw a handwritten note on the door addressed to me from the innkeepers saying they left the cottage unlocked for us and to make ourselves at home. I cannot express the excitement I felt. I’ve never stayed in a B & B before (except at my parents and one in Lubbock many moons ago) and I was so happy to be with my husband Josh to share in this romantic experience together. What was even cooler, was that I had known about Lyness Cottage for a long time now, when we had first been planning our honeymoon and originally been thinking about coming to New Zealand for our honeymoon, this was one of the places I had looked at online and dreamed of going to. And now, here we were, celebrating our one year wedding anniversary!


We walked down the stone pathway through a garden and underneath a tree with huge, flowers hanging upside down, looking like light bulbs, and casting the sweetest smelling aroma I think I’ve ever encountered. I couldn’t wait to see the cottage! We passed around a corner, through the green grass, and I gasped. I saw a long pathway with a wooden fence beside it, flowers lining the walkway, and a picture-perfect, romantic white cottage waiting for me at the end of the path. Green rolling hills were the backdrop along with an inlet of water that led out to the Bay of Islands. After I pinched myself and recovered from my state of shock, we continued walking down the path and I was just going on and on about how amazing this was, and Josh was delighted to see my happiness. Then we saw two sheep by the fence; it was the innkeepers’ pet sheep! What a deal! They stared at us with their dotted goat-looking eyes, and we must have scared them because they both took a leak, at the same time, when we walked by, haha (it seemed later like they did this every time we walked by). We walked up the steps onto the wooden front porch and I could not get over the view; it was straight from the best fairy tale I’ve imagined in my mind. And inside, I gasped and said “Oh my!” a million times, squealing with delight as it was a country style home with a wooden table for two, a candlestick that I couldn’t wait to light, a couch with a view out the French doors overlooking the countryside, and a bookshelf covered in travel books and adventures for the guest to get lost in. The bedroom was simple, yet so romantic. The white, green, and yellow hues of the bedroom brought even more peace to my soul. I walked into the large bathroom and saw the claw foot bathtub with a window overlooking the inlet and green pastures. It was misty and softly raining, but this did not dampen my mood in the slightest; in fact, I said how it made being there even more romantic. Josh lay on the bed as he watched me looking around; I was like Belle in Beauty in the Beast, having the same enthusiasm and wonder she had when the Beast showed her the library. Josh was laughing and smiling so big at me; all the stress that I still had left in my body from the big city, I honestly felt it melt away in those moments. I even started tearing up and might have shed a couple tears; I could have just boo-hooed like a baby because I was so happy. Josh and I held each other and felt complete and utter happiness and love for one another. He said, “I think this is the happiest I’ve ever seen you!” And this is coming from the guy who once told me that I was the happiest person they’ve ever known, haha; so yeah, I was in heaven!

We took it easy that night, and Josh was again tired of driving through the rain and down windy roads, and we were happy to have time to slow our pace. We ate at a little pizza place in town, and then came back and looked at the books and magazines and planned our next day. And that bed was the most comfortable bed I think I’ve ever slept on, too. I don’t think I moved once all night, we slept like babies.

The following morning, Wednesday, April 4th, we awoke somewhat early and drove three hours north to the furthest point you could possibly get on the North Island; Cape Reinga. It rained again off and on the whole way, which was a bummer. The further we drove, the more and more isolated the road became. Except for the logging trucks. I swear; they wait until you have to round a bend before they appear, and they come hurtling around the corner, always scaring me half to death. I will never understand that; why we never saw them on the straight long stretches of road. I also didn’t understand why we were seeing them when we were this far north and in no man’s land; we were like, “Where are they coming from?” We laughed when I was being overly dramatic about it and said and motioned with my hands, “The logging trucks shoot out from underneath the sea, ‘Shzoooom!’ straight up into the sky with the ocean still dripping off, seaweed hanging from the tires, and clams sticking to the windshield, and jump onto the road as King Triton the merman sits atop the truck with his golden trident and yells out in a booming voice, ‘Onward! I command thee . . . GO GET THEM’!” haha. Josh was like, and says this a lot, “They’re coming to get me, I’m little Lindsey, and they’re coming to get me!” Or “don’t mess with little Lindsey, or she’ll get mad”. It was funny and we just hoped we wouldn’t see any more of those huge trucks with the Redwood forest tree trunks strapped in the back of the long bed; and strapped in probably not very well.

At last, after a long drive, we made it to Cape Reinga. As we were driving up the mountain, it got very foggy and we could barely see in front of us. “Oh great! We won’t be able to see anything!” We were feeling pretty disappointed in the weather. We got out of the car and I thought the iconic lighthouse would be right there, but we had to walk down a long pathway out to it. It was pretty windy, of course, and raining big drops of cold rain. I felt miserable and almost didn’t want to go see it and just stay in the car, but that would have been dumb. We trudged through, and it was eerie, when, being alone and hearing the wind and waves crashing far down below, as we were high up on the cliff, we saw the faint outline of the lighthouse off in the distance. We stopped along the way and stood on the edge of the cliff; oh my, that was a long drop! The lighthouse stood tall and proud, and there was a marker saying different names of big cities, pointing to the direction where they lie and the distance. I was so glad we went there, and it was nice that we only encountered a couple people the whole time. I can only imagine what it looks like on a clear day; wish we could have seen it like that. It was still absolutely awe-inspiring, though, as we beheld the two seas clashing ferociously into one another; the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. I felt so small, standing there, and staring at the power and hearing the seas collide. There, out in the middle of the ocean, the waves were leaping high into the air, white foam swirling around; they weren’t crashing into rocks, but each other. It was crazy! We would have stayed longer if not for the weather, and we really wanted to walk down the paths to the beach. There are apparently day long treks you can go along this stretch of shore and on the 90 mile beach; we had hoped to ride the sand dunes there or go quad-biking, but not so with the weather like this.

It definitely caused for a long day trip; and we took another route back to Kerikeri, which gave a good view of the Bay of Islands area. The route was shorter, and we wish we had taken that way up there; we were quite weary when we arrived back to the B & B in the rain, especially since the last hour of our journey we had been driving in the dark.
Josh then went and got us takeaway and we had a romantic candlelit dinner at our table, listening to Harry Connick, Jr. love songs on the CD player. It was a romantic evening and we got to enjoy the antique claw foot bathtub together, with the glow of the candle’s flame and listening to the rain falling down softly on the windows. What a perfect way to spend our anniversary.

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