The Rock – an interesting name, especially in the Bay of Islands where the ‘Hole in the Rock’ is a destination for boat trips from Paihia.
This ‘rock’ is a boat: originally a car ferry that carried 7 or 9 vehicles and it’s now been converted to a Hosteling International (YHA) hostel and I’ve joined a group for an overnight cruise in the beautiful Bay of Islands (Northland, New Zealand).
We’re picked up at 4pm at the Paihia wharf and with life-jackets on; we’re taken out to the flat-bottomed boat. It’s not long before we have had our rooms assigned, safety briefing given and we have target practice – note, don’t rely on me to feed or protect you with a weapon!
However, I can catch a fish (snapper) but it’s too small and has to be released, although the next day I manage to get some edible kina (sea eggs) which I love and the international tourists eat with trepidation.
So, this boat is not merely for transport around the Bay of Islands, but is our accommodation too. All the rooms are on the top level and my room overlooks the bow (front) of the old barge and as the boat is flat-bottomed there is very little movement unless a boat goes past.
Adam, the Skipper has a job like mine “A millionaire’s lifestyle on a poor man’s wage”. He’s an accomplished pianist and after dinner, as we head for bed he’s tinkling away at the ivories. A piano on board was not anything I expected!
The next day we are kayaking, snorkelling, hiking, and exploring the area. Our meals are at a long table and are delicious. Perhaps this is the only floating YHA hostel in the world: let me know if you are aware of others.
I found this overnight cruise (online) many months before my Northland trip (I spent 2 weeks exploring the area in a low-cost rental car from NZ Rentals) and this was the first activity, and accommodation, on my agenda – a good choice. Watch this four-minute video created by my mates at ONZAMAP. (Check out their other travel info videos too)
Just some of the comments in the visitor’s book say:
- Our second time on The Rock and you still rock! (UK couple)
- You guys are amazing (German)
Enjoy a few of my photos from my time on board – the time flew and yet seemed ages all at the same time. Fabulous, I can recommend The Rock – in fact I must do a review on Trip Advisor about it.