Trip Advisor plaudits for Arcadia Lodge
Arcadia Lodge, the boutique BnB accommodation in Russell, has received two of the top accolades on Trip Advisor.
They are No.2 for New Zealand and No.4 for Australasia. It's high praise, but there's a precedent.
When Greg Hoover and Peter Gillan took over the ownership of Arcadia Lodge five years ago, it has previously been listed in the Trip Advisor Top 10. They have steadily climbed the ranks.
The pair have had a circuitous route to BnB ownership. Peter was a chef for 20 years, mainly concentrating on out-catering. He then went nursing for 40 years in the emergency department of Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, before venturing into primary care and mental health.
Greg sold classified advertising for a Dallas-based publication for 20 years before he decided he wanted to go sailing. He crewed for other people and then sold his house and his car and bought his own boat, something he vows he would never do again.
For four years he crewed for other people, found himself in New Zealand and met Peter. The rest, as they say, is history but it has not been without its challenges and hard work.
"We specialise in small groups. We had eight lawyers from Auckland the other day. They were on a fishing trip so we got up early to serve breakfast and we gave them a finger-food lunch they could have on the boat. They wanted something a bit better than what you would normally get," says Peter.
The lodge houses six separate suites, including a cottage, and was built in 1902 by the Rev Bolar who was the first resident minister in New Zealand. It was built on a clay base with whalebone foundations. A couple of the bone foundations have shifted, making the floor slightly wavy in parts.
"It's quirky," says Greg. "But I love it, it's what makes it unique."
Throughout there are period furnishings, an eclectic array of photos, mementos, objet d'art and collectables that together have afforded them the Qualmark (NZ Tourism) 4.5 stars Gold, the only Gold-level property in the Bay of Islands under the Lodge & Boutique category.
Policing in Russell
As a result of a public meeting in January that was called to discuss the future of the Russell community policeman, a 300-signature petition and covering letter were sent to various police and the local member of Parliament.
In response, the local area commander, Riki Whiu, said he would consult with the Russell community "at an appropriate time" and indicated police would be conducting a review that may require the development of a business case. The factors that would be considered, he said, included the low crime rate in the Russell area.
Bob Drey, chairman of the Russell Protection Society, pointed out the low crime rate is a result of having an effective, resident, community policeman in Russell.
"Commander Whiu dismissed concerns about the isolation of Russell after hours by claiming that a Paihia-based policeman could be in Russell using the unsealed Waikare Rd within half an hour."
Bob Drey said the overall impression given was that a decision has been made to relocate the Russell community policeman to Paihia and that it is considered to be a police operational matter. Offers of community help in maintaining the Custom House (where the community policeman resides) included staging a musical fundraising event. This has now been dismissed on the basis there is no point in providing for longer-term housing in Russell for the policeman.
The Russell Protection Society intends to write to the Minister of Police and the Commissioner of Police asking that representatives attend a public meeting in Russell within the next several weeks. In the meantime, the society is urging the community to write or email the commissioner highlighting these concerns.
Walk Run Event for Bay of Islands
A Walk-Run Event, hosted by Sport Northland, will take place around the Bay of Islands on June 12. It is now sponsored by Hotprintz.
It includes three distances – 6km, which is a walk event, an 8.7km distance, and the 21.2km half marathon that are both running events and all start and finish in Marsden Rd adjacent to the Paihia Village Green.
The courses include views across the Bay as entrants navigate their way along Paihia's waterfront and take in the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park.
The dress-up theme is "hot" this year and is back by popular demand.
The Paihia Fire Brigade will be on site slaving over the barbecue and there's a band, A2stix, to keep everyone relaxed after the event. Prizes are awarded to the top three male and female finishers from the half marathon and the 8.7km event.
The event is expected to attract about 1000 people. All entrants will be in with the chance to win a 2019 Suzuki Swift courtesy of Pacific Motor Group, and it can be won by only an adult Northlander.
There are seven events in total in the Sport Northland Series starting with the Parihaka Trail Run and finishing with the Kerikeri half marathon and 5km walk-run on November 19.
Minister for Transport Michael Wood has called for more people to use public transport. He has also called for people to buy electric vehicles saying both are crucial to reducing greenhouse gases.
He clearly hasn't been to the eastern Bay of Islands recently because there is no public transport. He hasn't been to the Russell Peninsula where there is neither a bus service nor a public EV rapid charging unit.
If you live in Russell and need to top up your electric car, you have to drive 7km to the ferry, cross over to Opua and then drive another 6kmes to use the sole rapid charging unit in Paihia. The nearest charging unit from Paihia is in Waipapa, another 27km away or Kaikohe, another 34km away.
You can trickle charge at home where an adequate charge to the battery can take eight hours or more from a flat. Or you can install a quicker charging unit at your home at a cost of about $900 for an adequate unit, to $5000 for the "booster" unit.
There is no bus service in Russell, Rawhiti, Haruru Falls, Puketona, Opua or Paihia, not even a minibus. The nearest bus service in Kerikeri doesn't serve any of those places.
There is, however, a twice-weekly FNDC Bus Link on Tuesdays and Thursdays that originates in Kaikohe, calls at Ohaeawai, Moerewa, Kawakawa, then leaves Opua at 10.50am, goes to Paihia, Waitangi and stops at Waipapa before going on to Kerikeri where it stops for an hour or so and then works the reverse in the afternoon.
It's essentially a supermarket-shopper bus. There used to be a Saturday run, but that has since stopped.