Touring the Bay of Islands with Topdeck

Published July 4th, 2012

Student Flights consultant Shaun Busuttil gets to 'Rock the Boat' in New Zealand's Bay of Islands with Topdeck.


There is stillness out here on the calm black waters of the Bay of Islands. Around here, the Earth retires to a quiet slumber as the sky is drained of colour. Here I am, kayaking at night, surrounded only by my fellow agents and the starry sky. All I can hear whilst I paddle is the gentle swoosh of the water as my paddles slice through its glistening surface. I had never kayaked before, and could not think of a better environment in which to try it out. I try not to get wet, as I am not appropriately dressed, but somehow my mind does not attend to my soaked body. Less than 14 hours ago I was back home in Melbourne, Australia, and it is this fact that attracts my attention.

Shaun Busuttil

Shaun Busuttil and friends strike a pose in the Bay of Islands


How quickly things can change. Auckland, New Zealand is only a 4 hour flight from Melbourne, and the Bay of Islands another 3 or so hours from Auckland. I am on a whirlwind tour of the North Island thanks to Topdeck and I couldn't be happier.  And so we kayak, lie down and stare up at the sky, chat and then kayak some more. There is no time out here and each moment flows effortlessly into the next. But the day's travels take their toll and we decide to head back to our boat on which we shall sleep. We have more of the Bay of Islands to explore tomorrow and we are excited to see what the new day shall bring.


The next morning we rise to the low roar of the boat’s engine, slowly cruising northbound through the Bay of Islands. Today, our “Rock the Boat” crew will be taking us to a secluded beach, from which we will then hike up a small hill to take in views from the very top. There are no snakes or other dangerous grass-fellows around here, so we are told to leave our shoes behind. We do and we walk without fear, trekking upwards barefooted on the grassy hill. Once we reach the summit we soak up all that surrounds us. There are majestic, 360 degree views up here and the trek was definitely worth it. It all looks so untouched; probably because it is. This is one of those iconic New Zealand images that has stuck with me for a long time. I know I need to come back here. To spend more time. To really soak it up. Next time.


We descend down to the beach. The white sand contrasts beautifully against the blue of the ocean. From here we are given the choice of either kayaking or snorkelling. I opt for the former – determined to get some form of a workout – and go off on my own, floating, thinking and trying to forget the busy world from which I came. We will head back to the mainland this evening, and this will be our last chance out here in the Bay of Islands. I know I will be back and I know why Topdeck have included this on the itinerary. It is simply not to be missed.


For more information on Topdeck,  talk to Shaun Busuttil from Student Flights at Melbourne Central on (03) 8633 3044 or email him at shaun.busuttil@studentflights.com.au


Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.