There are not many hostels in New Zealand that can boast a view of Orca from their lounge, but that’s exactly what Haka Lodge Paihia had last Friday the 31st of July! Early in the morning, Orca made their way in from the outer chain of Islands, around Tapeka point and swam right into Paihia Wharf, less than five metres from the shore.
The Bay of Islands is a smorgasbord for marine mammals, the underwater habitat surrounding the 144 islands rich in a diverse range of food which ensures regular visits from our underwater friends. When the Orca make their way in from deeper in the pacific it is a special day – something that happens roughly once a month throughout the year.
Dolphins, on the other hand, are a much more regular visitor to our Bay – they can be found almost every day throughout the year. The Bay of Islands is the perfect location for them to come and hunt, mate and have their young. These babies can be seen swimming alongside their mothers and aunts immediately after birth, learning to swim and breathe by themselves – quite a treat on any one of the number of boats that go out specifically to dolphin watch.
There are three companies that will take you out on a dolphin adventure, all of them leaving from the wharf located directly across from Haka Lodge Paihia.
ExploreNZ are a conservation minded company that operate here in the Bay who offer Swim with the Dolphin trips, as well as Discover the Bay trips that guarantee dolphin sightings. In fact, if you don’t see dolphins, ExploreNZ will give you a return ticket to come back again, absolutely free, to try your luck the next time.
Fullers Great Sights Bay of Islands are another company that do great things for the Bay of Islands. They run a Dolphin Eco Experience which features an under water microphone to listen to the dolphins as they communicate with each other, and a Hole in the Rock Dolphin Experience which combines a trip to the famous Hole in the Rock with a dolphin encounter.
If you love sailing and you love dolphins, you can now combine those two passions in one trip! A full day out on Carino, a 50ft sailing catamaran, with dolphin watching and swimming included.
If you are exceptional lucky, you may even have a larger than life marine mammal encounter while on your trip. We occasionally get a number of whale species here in the Bay; Brydes Whales, Humpback Whales and even the occasional Blue Whale! Other visitors to the Bay in the past have included Dusky Dolphins (very far north!), Greys Beaked Whales, turtles and manta rays – you just never know what you’re going to see when you spend a day out in the Bay of Islands.
Whatever your decision, a day out in the bay to catch up with our friendly marine mammals is a great way to spend your time, before coming home to Haka Lodge and trying to catch a glimpse of them from our lounge too!