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Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Almost 90 years ago, an adventurer who was also one of the world's most popular authors rounded the headland of Cape Brett in what has been termed "the edge of the world," dolphins leaping through the crystal bow wave as he sailed past fabulous tropical islands.
Zane Grey, whose tales of the Wild West have captivated millions of readers, was enthralled as he gazed at the beauty and spectacular scenery of the Bay of Islands near the remote northernmost tip of New Zealand. Little has changed since he first rounded Cape Brett.
Grey described the white-sand beaches of the bay stretching around a stunning coastline to Kerikeri, an artists' town where he liked to relax with a bottle of local sauvignon blanc.
He would wander through orange and grapefruit orchards, or follow the four-kilometre river track leading to the thundering cascade of Rainbow Falls.
On those long evenings, he must have wondered at the beauty of the dolphins at play. Dolphins that today take equal delight in playing with swimmers wanting to get nearer to these intelligent and highly sociable creatures.
Likely too, he would have watched the antics of the Blue Penguins and the Gannets, whilst marvelling at whales surfacing far out amongst the Bay's some 150 islands - many of which remain relatively unexplored.
And, around the Poor Knights Islands that he would have undoubtedly known, there is diving that Jacques Cousteau rated as amongst the very best in the world, with an abundance of marine wildlife including Manta Rays and Killer Whales.
There are over one hundred fine dive sites around the Bay area, with corals, rocky coastlines, and wrecks to explore.
Added to which, game fishing doesn't get any better than here at the Bay of Islands, where you'll see Marlin, Kingfish and Snapper. Even if you're not a diving or fishing fanatic, you can still make your way out to the islands - go for a sailing trip, charter a yacht, or rent a canoe.
Climate in the Bay of Islands is subtropical. It is an excellant location for a relaxing holiday for all the family - beaches, fishing, sailing, forest walks, horseriding, arts and crafts, fine dining, diving, or excursions.
Paihia is a small town located in the inner Bay of Islands. It is located about three hours drive north of Auckland, New Zealand's largest city.
Less than five minutes walk in either direction from the town centre takes you to two beautiful safe beaches - Ti beach to the left, Paihia beach to the right - both ideal for children. There are also cataramans, canoes, paddle boats and other marine craft to rent.
Past Ti beach there is the Waitangi bridge and Kelly Tarlton's shipwreck museum. As one of the earliest settlement areas in New Zealand there are a number of historical sites. There are also many scenic forest walks in the area of varying difficulty.
The resort offers an excellent selection of on-site recreational facilities including swimming pools, spa pools, barbeques, gymnasium, tennis court, petanque, outdoor chess, bicycles, and bushwalking track incorporating a magnificent orchid house. The owners' lounge building contains a library, restaurant and tour booking kiosk.Set on the side of a hill amid six-and-a-half acres of beautiful native bush, Club Paihia offers a great place to enjoy the attractions of the magnificent Bay of Islands.
Basing yourself at Club Paihia will let you explore and enjoy the many attractions the region is famous for including recreational boating, historic attractions, unspoiled beaches, international standard golf courses and opportunities for peaceful walks through some of Northland's most spectacular bushwalks.
The town of Paihia has a great selection of stores, selling everything from your basic needs to fine art and wines. The town boasts an excellent selection of restaurants, all within easy walking distance of Club Paihia. The 54 apartments at Club Paihia offers a mix of well equipped, tastefully decorated 2 bedroom, 1 bedroom and studio units.
Zane Gray would return to the Bay of Islands again and again during his lifetime. From the very first time he had been there, he could never forget it... and neither will you.