I still remember the adrenalin rush of 'catching my first fish', crouching on the rocks peering over the gently slapping waves, with my dad sitting next to me cracking open limpets and helping me put pieces on the small hook. It was a simple three piece made out of cane that I had just proudly paraded the entire length of the beach with my head held high that morning as if I was already as accomplished as I imagined I would be by the end of that day!
We were on holiday from the UK, with my sister (Rachel), mum (Frances) and dad (Francis), visiting a beach a short drive from Hennebont in Brittany on the French coast. Now, before my dad reads this, I suppose at this point I should clarify the words 'catch', as it was actually 'hooking' my first fish, that adrenalin I spoke of earlier filled me with such excitement and fear I apparently promptly dropped the rod....due to the immense power pulling on the line.....well that's how I remember it! Dad swiftly climbed down the rocks, carefully lowered himself in the waves and retrieved my rod, line and FISH!
It is experiences like these that I love to share with guests aboard The Rock, I've seen so many smiling faces, the excitement, the shouts of joy, hoops and hollers as children and adults alike get to experience what many Kiwi's are lucky enough to consider a common childhood experience. Moments like these stay with you forever and while sitting around the woodburner, each retelling adds opportunity to add extra depth.
For many people, travelling the world is all about new experiences and trying things you never thought you could do, from tasting unusual foods to bungy jumping off a bridge. A cruise on The Rock won’t disappoint – as you will find out, there is plenty to see, do and taste… leaving you with amazing memories and possibly the best 22 hours in New Zealand.
1. Night kayaking
A real highlight of our overnight trip is the opportunity to venture out onto the calm waters by kayak. Some of our crew will guide you across a sheltered cove where you can lie back and look up at the night sky as we tell you about the history of the area and the different constellations above you. Then for a few minutes we will float in silence, allowing you to absorb the peaceful sounds of nature around you.
When conditions are right, you may be lucky enough to see the beautiful phosphorescence at night, caused by the plankton in the water. Use your kayak paddle to gently provoke the magical displays of light. The Bay of Islands is one of the rare places in the world you can see this!
3. Tasting kina (sea urchin)
Depending on the day, you may be invited to try many different types of seafood whilst on board The Rock, including mussels, clams, fresh sashimi and cooked fish. However possibly the most unusual (and challenging!) is the sea urchins that we break open for you to taste.
4. Target shooting from a boat
When you first climb on board the boat (and after initial introductions), we’ll invite you to get to know your fellow boaties with some friendly target practice! Nothing to be afraid of - we get the engine started and take shots at a wooden duck dragged behind the back of the boat.
5. Wake up to a Bay of Islands sunrise
There’s something particularly special about sunrises at sea. Wake up early and watch from the deck (or your bed!) with your morning coffee – or even enjoy an early morning wake up swim with the crew before we have breakfast.
Bioluminescence is a natural phenomenon that only occurs in a small number of places across the world. It is the name given to when organisms have the ability to produce their own light, which in turn creates some of nature’s most magical displays.
New Zealand is lucky to be home to two forms of bioluminescence. Just a couple of hours’ drive south from Auckland is the quiet settlement of Waitomo, made famous by its extensive underground network of glowworm caves. The tiny glowworms are like a blanket of fairy lights across the caves, which visitors can explore in a variety of ways – on foot, by boat, abseiling or even (our favourite) black water tubing. If you are on a budget, there are some local walks that will take you past glowworms at night for free – just don’t forget a torch.
The glowworm species, arachnocampa luminosa, is exclusive to New Zealand and is actually found in places all over the country… you just need to know where to look. In the South Island, the Te Anau glowworm caves put on a glittering display - a great stop for tourists making their way to Milford Sound. The 12,000 year old caves are accessible by boat, with cruises both in the day and at night.
The second form of bioluminescence is what is found here in the Bay of Islands – the beautiful phosphorescence that comes alive in the ocean under the night skies. This is caused by plankton emitting radiation absorbed during the day, creating an amazing glow through the water.
When staying overnight in the Bay of Islands on board The Rock, you have the opportunity to go night kayaking and hopefully see the phosphorescence up close (conditions permitting). Dip your paddle into the water and watch the plankton light up around you – an unforgettable travelling experience!
The Rock was one of the first things I had the pleasure of experiencing when I moved to Paihia in January and I have been raving about it ever since!Charlotte
We took a group of 25 international students from a high school on the overnight cruise. This is the second time we have done the overnight cruise, as the first group we took also thoroughly enjoyed it. When you leave Paihia you travel out to one of the Islands to anchor overnight. You get to shoot paint balls at a fake duck they tow behind the boat, go fishing, go night kayaking and swimming. The night kayaking was the students favourite part as we got to see the Bioluminescent Algae which was amazing and a once in a lifetime experience!Nicole
I place I fell in love with NZ. The most amazing thing I did on my month trip to New Zealand.TheJills, USA
Rock the Boat NZ! This overnight trip is great fun and well worth doing, particularly if travelling in a large group.Charlie G