Being a Tourist in the Bay of Islands Isn’t Half Bad

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Capt. Darryl and Grace tell their stories.
Capt. Darryl and first mate Grace.

But Chip, we ARE tourists! Fred McMurray said this on an episode of “My Three Sons” when the family was on a European vacation. My job as a travel writer often takes me places that on the face of it, are pretty touristy, but again and again, I find I’m having fun despite the label. For my first night in Paihia, I went to the town docks and met up with a crowd of about twenty tourists from Australia, Scotland, the US, and Canada for Darryl’s Dinner Cruise.

The 40-foot boat is equipped with a full kitchen and comfy seating, and the first thing we did was follow Darryl’s lead by donning funny glasses and skipper’s hats and going around the crowd telling people who we were what we did and where we were from. It broke the ice and gave everyone the floor—some told about their grandchildren, others about their jobs, and I found the experience enlightening…now I knew who was from where and they all knew I was the writer in the group.

The boat cruised over some rough water before settling into the glassy calm of the river, a 3.5 km float past mangroves and nesting cormorant like birds called shags. Darryl and his crew, Mike and Grace, manage to cook up a tasty feast in the back of the boat while pouring copious amounts of wine for their guests.

Over the course of the night I learned about a few new places to visit here including the Puketi forest full of ancient Kauri trees, and that Perth Australia would be a great place for a future visit. So being a tourist, Chip, ain’t so bad after all!