The Hole in the Rock receives some heavy marketing in and around Paihia. Anne's shot of the beast is a cracker. She did the tour on the Vomit Comet as it turned out. As someone who doesn't suffer from motion/sea sickness in the slightest, Anne was able to really enjoy the rolling cruise for its duration, the view so stunning that it was easy to ignore the sounds and smells of sick bags being filled all around her.
Not to be too cliche but Paihia is a touch of paradise that doubles as a tourist town. Like perhaps all tourist towns by the sea, the locals have a quiet love-hate relationship with the tourists. Tourism is the backbone of the community amidst the dairy industry and other farming.
Sea kayaking, sky diving, parasailing, diving, wineries, boat tours, jet skis, its all on tap... at a price.
Across the bay is Russell. A town for old people who don't appear to do any of the above but sail. :-)