Gulf Harbour is perfect from cruising the Hauraki Gulf, with hundreds of great anchorages. We spent a couple of days at Great Barrier island; a laid back hippy place with great pub food. Briefly explored inland, finding a small waterfall with a refreshing plunge pool.
We returned to Gulf Harbour in time for a Tsunami warning as a result of the Japan earthquake. "Marine threat: strong and unusual currents. Stay away from beaches and off the water. Arrival of first wave expected to coincide with next low tide. Do not go sightseeing. Warn friends and neighbours."
Our first tsunami warning and we didn't know what to expect. The wave height was predicted to be 1m, but it would be travelling at 500mph. The security guards said to leave if we can, otherwise they would sound the siren if necessary. Anyway it turned out to be 15cm, so we were fine, but there were strong currents and white water in the harbour entrance reminiscent of Rangiroa pass. We had planned to go cruising with Cherie and Eric on their new boat Tohora. Cherie sensibly cancelled when she heard the warning, but after the first wave hit everything was back on. We popped out of the harbour a bit faster and you could feel it through the helm like little power surges.
The first anchorage off Moturekareka had a great wreck to snorkel and rock pools to explore before returning to Tohora for nibbles and drinks with Cherie and Eric and their friends Tracey, Shane and Grace.
The next day we moved to Kawau, off the old copper mine and Tohara's able crew taught us some fishing techniques. Thankfully their boat stood up to some thwacking from our miscasting. Dinner at their place, breakfast at ours. So relaxing in the sunshine, with blue penguins, cormorants gently swooping and gannets dive bombing, all to the rather strange sound of Australian kookaburras.