Off the grid in the Bay of Islands

We’ve recently arrived back from a long bank holiday weekend in the dreamy Bay of Islands thanks to old Queenie’s birthday (which we actually get a day off for over here).

I was besides myself at the prospect of planning a roadtrip (as I’m sure anyone that knows me will understand), especially since this was the first overnight expedition since we arrived.

I love a project and what better place to start than my favourite of all websites, Air BnB, that has a built in list-making feature – swoon!

After much careful consideration of what we wanted out of our weekend (zen and wine), what surroundings we needed to achieve this (trees and vineyards), and our overall budget (modest at best) I finally happened upon the cutest little house tucked up in the woods in Paihia.

I imagine my pupils dilated as I scanned over the description of the rustic bush cottage – ‘tranquility is the key’… ‘off the grid living’… ‘owner built his own boat and sailed it around the world’… ‘dog called Poppy’…

You had me at solar electricity.

I can go on holiday AND do my bit for the planet. BOOKED. Fast forward a few weeks and me and Matt are filling the car with more stuff than anyone could possibly use in four days, just in case the winter lends us some good weather and we get to splash around in the Pacific.

Alas we arrive to torrential rain and clouds – reminding me of old blighty. Luckily the ensuing three days dried out and brightened up (to a degree – it is still technically winter) so we filled our time walking amongst the oldest giant kauri trees in the world at Waipoua Forest, which were as big as a house. We brushed up on our Kiwi history, learning about the first maori settlers and the English invaders at Stone Store and Kemp House in Kerikeri. We visited the beautiful Waitangi Treaty Grounds where the signing of the treaty took place between the British Crown and the Maori Chiefs way back in 1840. We also met some glow worms in a 30 million year old cave in Kawati.

We did, of course, find time to sample the local wine whilst roasting marshmellows over the fire with the ever faithful Poppy by our side, protecting us from any intruders (mainly the hosts two feline friends).

Anyway here are some photos from our weekend which are much more interesting than listening to me prattling on.

The cottage

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Paihia to Waipoua Forest


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Kerikeri to Russell


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Waitangi Treaty Grounds to Kawati Cave

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We weren’t allowed to take photos of the glow worms sadly, but if you look up into space on a clear night then you get the idea.

Here are ten awesome off the grid homes on Air BnB if you are interested in a similar vacation.

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