Wednesday 2nd September started off slowly in the Kerikeri Top 10 Holiday Park. Michael and Andrew were slow to surface, and it was a cool morning. Eventually we got ourselves sorted out and with the sun shining decided to go for a drive north of Kerikeri. We’d never seen the Kerikeri Inlet or the northern part of the Bay of Islands. We headed north and took the road along the Purerua Peninsula. We were looking for the Marsden Cross. We’d read a bit about it, but it wasn’t that easy to find. For a start there were no road signs, but fortunately as we got along the peninsula the road signs were helpful. The Marsden Cross in Oihi Bay is a large memorial to what is an enormously significant place in the settlement of New Zealand. Effectively it started at that bay with the first mission house in 1814. Samuel Marsden turned up from Sydney on Christmas Day 1814 and delivered a sermon to the locals. Perhaps more significantly the mission was established and New Zealand’s first white child was born there in 1815. So as historical places go it is right up there, yet it hardly gets a mention anywhere. I suspect that as 2014 comes around bicentennial fever might kick in.
Anyway, we found a carpark and a sign, pointing us down a valley towards the sea. We headed off down and it was about half an hour to the cross and the bay. There is now very little to show for the original settlement – the mission house was removed to somewhere else after a few years. We retraced our steps back up the hill and headed back. We were looking for somewhere sheltered from the wind for a late lunch. Eventually we ended up at Opito Bay on another smaller peninsula beside the Kerikeri Inlet. It was still windy but Michael figured out that the end of the beach was a bit sheltered, so we sat there and had our lunch at about 3.30pm. Then all the boys invented about a dozen different stone-throwing games until it was time to go back “home” to Kerikeri.