After exploring the far northern part of the North Island, before I made my way back to Auckland, I took to the water for a morning with Explore Group and went on a 3 hour tour (admit it, you started to sing the Gillian's Island theme song didn't you?) to experience the iconic Hole in the Rock and Otehei Bay.
Boarding the black and yellow power cat boat with an amazing crew, we set sail on a beautiful sunny day in the Bay of Islands and were immediately greeted by a pod of wild dolphins. We slowed to enjoy them frolicking through the waves and putting on a magnificent show for us. Be sure you bring your camera as they love to have their picture taken!
Next we head out to open water toward the island where the Hole in the Rock is. The island itself was named Piercy Island by Captain Cook in honor of one of the Lords of the Admiralty – it is called Motu Kōkako in the Māori language.
As we headed out to the Hole in the Rock, we were given a history of the various islands we were passing and are given instructions for when we pass through the hole. Weather and water seem to be in our favor this day and it takes an extremely skilled captain to navigate through this small passage. We were able to not only go through it once, but twice! What a thrill.
As the water can be quite choppy, if you are prone to motion sickness, I would recommend taking some anti-nausea medicine prior to departure. We headed back in toward calmer waters for our lunch stop at Otehei Bay. I highly recommend Explore as they offer a lunch stop on the island and they are the only tour operator that has a spot with food/drink for purchase. When we arrived, I was personally greeted and escorted to a beautiful table with an incredible view for a nice meal and great glass of Sav Blanc.