A subtropical wonderland of secluded bays, islands and history, the Bay of Islands is a coastal paradise. Get out on the water with a boat cruise or sailing charter and spot dolphins and whales frolicking in the water before seeing the Hole in the Rock, just off Cape Brett, up close. Stroll the streets of Russell, New Zealand’s first capital, and soak up its whaling and pioneering past. Learn about the birth of New Zealand in Waitangi, where the treaty that made New Zealand a British colony was signed.
Where to Stay:
- Kerikeri – this is the rural satellite town for this area of Northland – with a reasonably sized retail precinct. A visit to the Stone Store is a must do. Surrounded by horticulture including a couple of Winery Restaurants it is a pleasant place to stay a while.
- Paihia – this is the main base for visitors exploring nearby Waitiangi and a stepping off point for many marine tours of the Bay, including diving operators for the nearby wreck on the Rainbow Warrior.
- Russell – take the passenger ferry (15 mins) from Paihia or the vehicle ferry (7 mins) from Opua to this historic waterfront village. With al fresco dining and departing trips to the islands this is great spot to stay a few days.