The plan for the day was to catch the ferry across to Paihia, then walk the 2km around the bays to the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi. Seeing the grounds where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed was something I had been looking forward to, so I was extremely pleased that the weather was kind for such a trip. The ferry ride was a short one but the local’s had assured me that a full day would be needed to make the most of the grounds. The previous day in Russell, when I had announced my intention to walk to Waitangi from Paihia to some of the long term residents, I had received a most indifferent response. Some were very encouraging of this plan and had assured me it wouldn’t be more than an hour’s walk. Other’s had looked at me like I had gone bonkers, shaken their ahead and assured me that to get to Waitangi from Paihia on a Saturday, I needed to have left last Wednesday, and even then I’d be pushing it. However, upon mentioning I was from Dunedin, their advice changed entirely. I was quickly told that I’d have no problem covering the distance. I’m not sure how this changed things, but apparently it did.
One of the intriguing phenomena I’ve noticed when traveling in New Zealand is this. As soon as people find out I’m from Dunedin, I end up having one of two conversations. Either I end up discussing southerly weather patterns that include wind, rain and general cold temperatures or I end up discussing travelling distances. I’m not sure why this is, maybe everyone thinks all we do in Dunedin is walk in the rain. I’m not too sure.
As the 9:30am Russell to Paihia passenger ferry pulled away from the dock the temperature had already climbed to a lovely 23 degrees. The ferry had a small scattering of passengers as it quietly eased it’s way across the still, calm bay. It seemed almost the perfect way to travel. Looking across the bay, all sorts of water activities were getting underway along with a multitude vessels that were preparing for something called the Tall Ships Regatta. Whatever the event was, they had a splendid day for it and I was glad to be free of the hired car.
Fifteen minutes later the ferry pulled into its berth in Paihia. After disembarking from the ferry and somehow managing to trip as I did so, I set off for my destination. It was a lovely fine morning and after a short 30 minute stroll along Te Ti Bay I found myself at the Treaty Grounds in Waitangi. With a good 30 minutes to spare before the next tour, I had decided to pass the time by looking through the Waitangi museum. I had been assured it was well worth a look so I figured, well, why not!
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