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If you are looking for an exquisite tropical getaway, then it should be your mission to visit the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. The beaches are some of the best in the world, with perfect white sand and crystal clear water. The weather is ideal, and if all you want to do is relax on the beach, you are in luck. There are enough beaches here to keep you happy for weeks. But if you would like to mix in a little culture with your beach time, then many locations within the Bay of Islands will suit your desires. The museums, parks, and historical sites are wonderful. The Bay of Islands is the most noteworthy sector of Northland, and this is also the home of the Waitangi National Reserve, where the Treaty of Waitangi was drafted and signed. After much deliberation, the Maori and European settlers came to an agreement here in 1840. Both governmental and land distribution decisions were made, coming after many years of hard fought struggle.
 
Vast open areas ideal for exploring complement the beaches of Bay of Islands. Many of the regions in this portion of New Zealand are quite unpopulated, so grab yourself a tour guide and start discovering the diversity and beauty of the countryside for yourself. The indigenous people of New Zealand have various cultures, depending on where their ancestors originated. The crime rate in the Bay of Islands is normally not very high, and it is generally a safe and peaceful place to be. If you are a beach lover, the one thing you can be assured of during your stay is that you will love the beaches of the Bay of Islands. If you enjoy great food, then you are also in luck. Visit the Bay and experience pleasure the New Zealand way.
 
Docking & Local Transportation
Cruise ships will tender at Waitangi Wharf for all shore excursions. The wharf is on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and it's just a 10 minute walk from there to the Treaty House.
At Waitangi, free shuttles can take you to Paihia i-SITE Visitor Centre, which is less than 5 minutes' drive or 2.1km (1.3 miles) away. From here, you can explore the town of Paihia or take a short ferry trip to Russell. Ferries to Russell cost NZ$6 one-way and NZ$10 return; they depart every 20 minutes from 7am to 10pm daily. A number of cruise ships also tender to Russell. This is for independent travellers only. Russell is 50 metres (164 feet) from the tender pier.
 
Getting Around
 
On foot
The townships of Paihia and Russell are small and easily explored on foot. You will need to have a vehicle if exploring other parts of the Bay of Islands.
 
Taxis
Taxis are available in the maritime precinct.In the Bay of Islands, freephone 0508 3425 2 7433 (0505 DIAL A RIDE). Not all taxis accept credit cards. Please ask your driver before boarding.
 
Car Rentals
We recommend rental cars to be booked in advance. Find a rental car in the Bay of Islands.
 
Things to See and Do
Russell is a veritable minefield of historic sites. This is where the great Maori chief Hone Heke burned everything except the mission property, and chopped down the flagstaff (four times) in defiance of British rule. If you plan to wander the historic sites, first visit the Russell Museum, 2 York St. (tel./fax 09/403-7701; www.russellmuseum.org.nz), open daily from 10am to 4pm (until 5pm in summer), closed December 25. Admission is NZ$7.50 for adults and NZ$2 for children. You can learn all about Maori-European contact and pick up heritage brochures pointing out other sites in the village. Behind the museum, check out the Bay of Islands Maritime Park Headquarters and Visitors Centre, The Strand (tel. 09/403-7685; fax 09/403-7649). Its free 15-minute audiovisual The Land is Enduring gives an overview of Maori-European history in the area. It's open from 8:30am to 4:30pm (until 5pm in summer).
 
Farther down The Strand, you'll find Pompallier Mission (tel. 09/403-9015; www.pompallier.co.nz). Built in 1841, this is New Zealand's oldest surviving Roman Catholic building. It housed a printing press used from 1842 to 1849 to print religious documents in the Maori language. Today, along with the press, there's a working tannery and bookbindery. Admission is NZ$10 for adults and free for accompanied children, students over 15 pay NZ$6. Prebooked tours cost NZ$7 per person. It?s open from 10am to 4pm (until 5pm in summer).
 
For a look at the oldest wooden church in New Zealand, go to Christ Church, Church Street and Robertson Road. You can't miss the dear little building surrounded by colorful flowering hibiscus bushes. It's open daily from 9am to 5pm.
 
In Kerikeri
 
The pretty town of Kerikeri has the most to offer in the Bay of Islands in the way of land-based attractions. Visiting the Kerikeri Mission Station, 246 Kerikeri Rd. (tel. 0800/802-010 in NZ, or 09/407-9236; www.historic.org.nz or www.stonestore.co.nz), is essential if you want to continue the historic theme. It’s home to New Zealand’s oldest stone building, the 1835 Stone Store, which has been open for business since 1836. Next door you’ll see Kemp House, the first mission house and the oldest wooden house in the country. Entry to the ground floor of the store is free and you can shop for authentic heritage goods reminiscent of the store’s golden era. You may opt for the full "Mission Experience," which includes an overview of the area’s important early history, admission to the upstairs section of the Stone Store, and a tour of Kemp House; it costs NZ$10 per person and accompanied children ages 5 to 15 visit free. It’s open daily, 10am to 5pm November through April and until 4pm the rest of the year. Northern Steamship Company (tel. 0800/944-785 in NZ, or 09/407-9229; www.steamship.co.nz) offers 1-hour cruises of Kerikeri Inlet aboard SS Eliza Hobson, departing from the Stone Store Sunday through Friday at 2pm. The cost is NZ$30 for adults, NZ$15 for children ages 5 to 15, and NZ$85 for families.
 
Above the Basin is the well-preserved Kororipo Pa, a fort occupied by the fearsome chief Hongi Hika; across the river from the pa site is Rewa’s Village (tel. 9/407-6454), a full-scale reconstruction of a kainga (fortified pre-European Maori fishing village). It’s open daily 9am to 5pm (until 4pm in winter); admission is NZ$5 for adults and NZ$1 for children.
 
Garden enthusiasts will appreciate Wharepuke Subtropical Garden, 190 Kerikeri Rd., Stone Store Hill (tel. 09/407-8933; www.subtropicalgarden.co.nz), which is a growing "art gallery" of subtropical plants. It’s open daily 8:30am to 6pm. Entry to the gardens and art gallery is free, but you need to make an appointment for the interactive subtropical garden tours and art courses. There is also a very good cafe here, which is open daily at 10am for lunch and from 5:30 to 10pm for dinner.
 
Kerikeri is also home to a thriving arts community. Pick up the excellent free brochure The Kerikeri Art & Craft Trail, which details 17 excellent outlets within a few kilometers of Kerikeri. Keriblue Ceramics, 560 Kerikeri Rd. (tel. 09/407-1111; www.keriblue.co.nz), is especially fine. It’s open 9am to 5pm daily. Directly opposite is the Kauri Workshop (tel. 09/407-9196; kauriw@xtra.co.nz), where you can watch Brian Cliffin making swamp kauri bowls.
 
You haven’t lived until you’ve savored the unspeakably indulgent pleasures of Makana Confections (tel. 09/407-6800; www.makana.co.nz), right beside the Kauri Workshop. The hand-dipped chocolates are indescribable—try them yourself at the tasting bar and watch the whole process through glass windows; it’s open daily 9am to 5:30pm. A much wider variety of top-quality Northland produce is showcased at the Bay of Islands Farmers’ Market, beside Take Note Bookshop, Hobson Avenue, Kerikeri (www.boifm.org.nz), which is held rain or shine every Sunday from 8:30am to noon.
 
To sample Northland wines, head for Cottle Hill Winery, 28 Cottle Hill Dr. (tel. 09/407-5203; www.cottlehill.co.nz), open Wednesday through Sunday 10am to 5pm with tastings for NZ$5; Marsden Estate Winery, 56 Wiroa Rd. (tel. 09/407-9398; www.marsdenestate.co.nz), open daily 10am to 5pm (till 4pm in winter), closed Good Friday, and December 25 and 26; or Bishops Wood Estate, 1329 St. Hwy. 10 (tel. 09/407-9628; bishopswood@value.net.nz), open daily 10am until late.
 
For fine New Zealand-made skin-care products, free of all synthetic preservatives or synthetic parabens, check out the highly successful Living Nature, State Highway 10 (tel. 0508/548-464 in NZ, or 09/407-7895; www.livingnature.com).
 
In the Far North
 
In the Taipa area, Matthews Vintage Collection, 4365 State Highway 10, 5km (3 miles) north of Taipa (tel. 09/406-0203; www.matthewsvintage.com), has an extensive array of restored vintage cars, tractors, and farm and domestic equipment. Admission is NZ$10 adults, NZ$5 children ages 5 to 15 years. Far North Regional Museum, 6 South Rd., Kaitaia (tel. 09/408-1403; www.farnorthmuseum.co.nz), showcases the story of Maori and Dalmation settlement, and the history of the kauri gum industry. They have a terrific photographic collection and some beautiful Maori taonga (treasures).
 
The Ancient Kauri Kingdom, State Highway 1, Awanui (tel./fax 09/406-7172; www.ancientkauri.co.nz), is 7km (4 1/3 miles) north of Kaitaia. You can view massive 30,000- to 50,000-year-old kauri logs that have been hauled from the Northland swamps, then see the fine furniture and crafts that are made from them. It’s open daily, and admission is free. You can also see the remnants of ancient buried kauri forests, over 42,000 years old, at Gumdiggers Buried Forest Park, Heath Road, Waiharara (tel. 09/406-7166; www.gumdiggerspark.co.nz). It’s 25km (16 miles) north of Kaitaia and is open daily. It will also give you an insight into the tough lives of the early gum-digging pioneers.
 
Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands offers the visitor so many things to do with lots of activities, short walks, tours and attractions to choose from.
One of New Zealand’s great holiday destinations..stunningly beautiful and historically significant and enjoyed by domestic and international visitors alike.

Scenic flight Bay of Islands over Roberton Island
The range of things to see and do in the Bay of Islands varies from the indulgent to the relaxed to the adrenalin pumping activities.  Relax with a massage, body or beauty treatment, enjoy locally caught seafood at one of the many cafe’s or restaurants, or catch your own with one of the local Bay of Islands fishing charters, take a scenic flight over the Bay of Islands, cruise to the Hole in the Rock, view and swim with dolphins,  try parasailing to 1200 feet, go sailing through the 144 islands or experience an overnight cruise in the Bay. Take the time to explore the regions historical past of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and experience a Maori cultural show…. the Bay of Islands offers so many things to do to suit all visitors.

Overnight cruise Bay of Islands, Roberton Island. Each town in the Bay of Islands has it’s own unique culture and lifestyle – from the horticultural and vineyard lifestyle focus of Kerikeri, to bustling Paihia the main hub of the Bay of Islands with its focus on providing a great visitor experience.  Across the Bay from Paihia is the attractive sea-side town of Russell once known in its whaling days as the ‘Hell Hole of the Pacific’. Today it is more commonly known as ‘Romantic Russell’ and offers a relaxed atmosphere with lots of history, with the oldest licensed pub in New Zealand the ‘Duke of Marlborough’ and many other bars and restaurants along its foreshore. A great place to relax for a meal and sample New Zealand wines be it for lunch or in the evening as the sun sets over the Bay of Islands.
 
Wine Tours & Tasting in Kerikeri, Bay of Islands   
Travel the beautiful Bay of Islands countryside in air-conditioned comfort. Total Tours offer a unique off-the-tourist-trail experience that takes visitors to some of the very best Kerikeri boutique winery producers who are passionate about what they do. The tours vary and include visits and free tastings at selected local vineyards, chocolate factory, cheese factory, Kerikeri Stone Store and Haruru Falls’ picturesque waterfall. Phone freephone: 0800 264 868  Email: info@totaltours.co.nz

Flying Kiwi Parasail
Enjoy stunning aerial views of the Bay of Islands on New Zealand’s highest Kiwi Parasail at 1200 ft with a choice of single, tandem or triple flights, taking in perfect aerial landscapes of the Bay of Islands.
You take off and land on the back deck from the safety of our custom designed boat. Trips depart from Paihia and Russell. Email: info@mustdonewzealand.co.nz  Phone: +64 9 402 6619
  
Sailing Bay of Islands
Glen your owner/skipper caters to small personalized groups  so come and experience a day sailing amidst the 144 islands of the Bay of Islands with its hundreds of stunning bays and beaches that are waiting to be explored. Learn about the area’s history, its diverse marine life of dolphins, penquins and other seabirds that are frequently sighted and step ashore, enjoy a  kayak, take a swim, explore the island or just simply chill-out. Phone: +64 274 964 010  Email: glen@bay-of-islands.com

Boat Trips – Hole in the Rock Bay of Islands
Cruise with the Explore Group through the many islands of the bay to the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’, ‘Cathedral Cave’ and Cape Brett Lighthouse viewing dolphins and other marine life as we cruise through the islands. Enjoy a one hour stop and time to explore Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island, take a walk to the many lookouts over the Bay of Islands, go for a snorkel, hire a kayak or just relax on the beach. Phone: +64 9 402 8234

Sail Bay of Islands aboard R Tucker Thompsob
Come sailing in the Bay of Islands for an experience you won’t forget that’s great fun for all ages. Catch the breeze as we set sail from Russell aboard this unique Tall Ship designed and built in the traditions of a 200 year old schooner. As we sail through the islands we take time to step ashore in a secluded bay, enjoy a swim and swing from the yardarm. Phone: +64 9 402 8431 Email: info@tucker.co.nz

Bay of Islands Tandem Sky diving    
Tandem Skydive Bay of Islands
Skydiving over the Bay of Islands is arguably the most scenic and picturesque skydive you can do in New Zealand, packed full of adrenaline and excitement that lets you experience the 144 islands of the Bay of Islands from the air. Choose to jump from 12,000 or 16,000 feet and as the plane climbs to your chosen altitude soak up the stunning views before exiting the plane and free-falling at 200 km an hour.  Phone: +64 9 407 7057  Email: jump@skydivebayofislands.com
 
Hole in the rock cruise, Fullers Great Sights   
Take a morning or afternoon cruise through the Bay of Islands to the Hole in the Rock on the Cape Brett Peninsula and if conditions permit your skipper will guide the boat through the Hole. Along the way we search for dolphins, whales and other marine life and stop at picturesque Urupukapuka Island to relax on the beach or take a walk to the many vantage points on the island. https://www.greatsights.co.nz/new-zealand-tour-destinations/bay-of-islands/

Dive trips in the Bay of Islands   
Paihia Dive is the Far North’s New Zealand premier dive centre offering spectacular wreck dive trips to the Rainbow Warrior, and HMNZS. Canterbury, which can also be combined with scenic reef dives. Paihia Dive also offer a range of dive courses from Discover Scuba, Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue, Dive Master and other speciality courses. Phone: 0800 107 551 Email: info@divenz.com

Cape Reinga & 90 Mile Beach Bus Trips
Enjoy a full day tour from the Bay of Islands to Cape Reinga in our unique purpose built vehicle the ‘Dune Rider’. Your driver will immerse you in the culture and history of this area whilst you recline back in comfortable seating as you soak in the amazing scenery of the Far North. Drive along 90 Mile Beach, sand board dunes at Te Paki, visit Gumdiggers Park, Cape Reinga and its iconic Lighthouse. Phone: +64 9 402 8234 Email: info@exploregroup.co.nz

Explore Otehei Bay – Urupukapuka Island
Experience one of the islands of the Bay at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island. Take this short 30 minute ferry to the island to explore at your leisure. Here you can fill your day with activities or just relax and unwind, just spending the day your way!.
Multiple departures per day to spend just a few hours or the whole day at your leisure.

Nau mai Haere mai – Welcome to New Zealand’s most important historic site with panoramic views of the Bay of Islands. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are an absolute must-do, rich in history and stories of the momentous events which shaped our nation. Enhance your visit with a guided tour and enjoy a fun-filled and spine-tingling cultural performance that begins with a traditional Maori welcome outside the meeting house.

Swim with the Dolphins in the Bay of Islands
Whilst visiting the Bay of Islands, cruise with the Explore Group through these picturesque islands searching for dolphins. Take this unique opportunity to swim or view dolphins in their natural environment capturing a once in a lifetime experience by swimming alongside these fabulous creatures.
Tours depart twice daily from Paihia & Russell (8 am & 12.30 pm)  Phone : +64 9 402 8234 
 
Sailing & Dolphin Swim – Bay of Islands
There is no better way to spend a day in the Bay of Islands than on the water and what better way than to set sail on ‘Carino NZ’ aboard our 50ft spacious catamaran, purpose built for day sailing in the Bay of Islands. Experience viewing and/or swimming with dolphins, step ashore on untouched beaches where you can snorkel, swim and enjoy stunning views and beautiful island scenic walks.Sailing Times Depart:    Paihia    9.30am    Russell  9.45am  Phone: +64 9 4028040   Owner/Skipper: Vanessa  Email:Carino@sailingdolphins.co.nz

Tango Jet Ski & Island Boat Tours
Hire a jet ski and explore the Bay of Islands with our experienced guides, see the Hole in the Rock, experience secluded sandy beaches and remote islands whilst driving your own jet ski. Alternately sit back and experience our new purpose built adventure boat with personalised tours to suit the visitor, get dropped on an island,  take a walk to the lookout on Roberton Island, snorkel, swim or just relax in our piece of Paradise.  Phone: +64 21 259 2179        Email: dave.lineman@yahoo.co.nz

Bay of Islands Kayaking trips – Coastal Kayakers
Coastal Kayaker’s offer half day and full day kayaking tours to Haruru falls, through Mangrove Forests to Haruru Falls and to Motumarie Island. Alternately join an overnight kayaking adventure of 2 or 3  days into the spectacular Bay of Islands.
Coastal Kayakers offer a large range of both single and double kayaks to choose from making it ideal for families, individuals and couples. Phone: +64 9 402 7796   Freephone: 0800 T5RCD64W  Email: info@rocktheboat.co.nz
 
Scenic Helicopter Flights – Bay of Islands

Salt Air offer an exciting and unique range of scenic tours either by plane or by helicopter that can combine with guided tours on the land capturing the best the Bay of Islands has to offer including Cape Reinga and the Far North. Set foot on the infamous ‘Hole in the Rock’ or combine a relaxing boat cruise with an island stopover and return by helicopter. http://www.saltair.co.nz/ 

Fishing Charters & Trips – Bay of Islands
Spot – X Fishing Charters provide fishing trips in Paihia, Bay of Islands. Join our friendly and knowledgeable skipper aboard ‘Spot – X’ a fast 8.5 metre boat designed for fishing and which gets you to the fishing grounds quickly. Fish for Snapper, Kingfish and other reef fish. Trips depart from Paihia and Russell with both morning and afternoon trips and all bait and tackle is supplied. Phone: +64 9 402 7123  Email: fishspotx@xtra.co.nz
 
Twin Coast Bike and Cycle Trail
The Twin Coast Cycle Trail offers a truly unique experience for cyclists who want to journey through some of New Zealand’s early European and Maori settlements. Follow ancient Maori Trails from the east coast to the west coast with stunning vistas of the Hokianga Harbour and the Bay of Islands coast.

Mack Attack to the ‘Hole in the Rock
The fastest boat to the ‘Hole in the Rock’. Join us aboard Mack Attack for speed and excitement, a one and a half hour trip taking you through the inner and outer islands of the Bay to the awe inspiring scenery of Cape Brett, visiting Cathedral Cave then cruising through the Hole in the Rock..all with an informative commentary. Phone: +64 9 4028180  Email: Bookings@mackattack.co.nz

Great Sights Cape Reinga via 90 Mile Beach
Take a magical full-day tour to the top of New Zealand and Ninety Mile Beach. A visit to New Zealand is not complete without a journey to the very top of the North Island – Cape Reinga (Te Rerenga Wairua). Uncover the wild beauty of this vast and untouched region, rich in Maori culture and tradition on a full-day return tour from Paihia or Kerikeri.  https://www.greatsights.co.nz

Bay of Islands Adventure Activities for all ages
Action World Paihia offers fun, playfull adventure activities to suit all age groups & families. Including Mini Golf, Flying Trapeze, Tarzan Swings, Jousting poles, Climbing Wall & a 30 metre waterslide. Action World is the only place in the world where you can do it without a safety harness but still in perfect safety with its unique airbag landing system. For the very young there is a scooter track & donkey rides. Phone: +64 9 402 6055  Email: info@actionworld.co.nz   
 
Russell Mini Tours, Bay of Islands
Step back in time with Russell Mini Tours showcasing the historical highlights, sharing  stories from its past through your drivers entertaining and informative commentary. View places of interest such as Pompallier house, New Zealand’s oldest church, Flagstaff Hill with its stunning 360' panoramas and giant sundial and the golden sand beaches of Tapeka and Long Beach. Phone: +64 21 182 9359   Email: russelltours@hotmail.com
 
Kelly Tarlton's Museum of Shipwrecks is located next to the Pahia-Waitangi Bridge (09/402-7018) and is certain to captivate the entire family. This entertaining site is both a memorial and a museum. The waters off New Zealand's shores have claimed many lives and dozens of ships. Hundreds of fascinating remains and artifacts from these sunken sea vessels are on display here at the museum. In his day, Kelly Tarlton made it his life's passion to treasure hunt for all the deep-sea relics he could excavate from the bottom of the ocean. Along with all these interesting finds are the corresponding photographs that picture the actual discoveries.
 
Beaches
The white-sand beaches of the Bay of Islands are truly spectacular. Both picturesque and enjoyable, they are the perfect destination for water sports, swimming, or just relaxing. There are tons of great locations, but some of the best are found on the Kerikeri Peninsula. Here the water is a sparkling turquoise-blue, and the amenities are plentiful. The conditions are ideal for the whole family, and the scenery is splendid.
 
Waitangi Golf Course – Bay of Island
To meet all your golf expectations, visit the Waitangi Golf Course (09/402-7713) where you can rent clubs and play on the spectacular 18-hole course. It is located on the waterfront, and it is so pretty that even if you don't have your best game you will still leave relaxed. The scuba diving in the Bay of Islands is awesome, and Dive North (09/402-7079) is the best company to contact to make arrangements. The Rainbow Warrior wreck is one of the premier dives in New Zealand, and is as eerie as it is extraordinary.
 
Waitangi Golf Course Paihia, Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand’s most picturesque 18 Hole golf course’s in New Zealand with panoramic scenery over the Bay of Islands, across to the historic village of Russell and the Waitangi estuary. Complemented by well-groomed greens and fairways and surrounded by areas of flowering native trees the Waitangi Golf Club welcomes all visitors for a round of golf whilst visiting the Bay of Islands. Phone: +64 9 402 7713   Pro Shop: +64 9 402 8207  Email: waitangigolf@xtra.co.nz
 
Eating Out
The Rocket Café & Robbs Fruit Winery is located on Kerikeri Road (09/407-3100). The restaurant is famous locally, having been voted the best café in Northland twice. The selection is great, and the food is scrumptious. The view out of the windows is fabulous, and both the entrees and the desserts will dazzle your taste buds. Some of the best dishes include the quiches, calzones, and pastas. For dessert, try one of the freshly baked pies. They are better than mama ever made! Only Seafood can be found at 40 Marsden Rd. (09/402-6066) and offers outstanding seafood cuisine. The sushi is top notch, the salmon fillet is delicious, and the Provencale grilled and accompanied by teriyaki sauce is supreme. For a light meal, try one of the super salads.
 
Shopping
The area around the Bay of Islands Visitor Information Centre Paihia is a pleasant spot where you can take a break from the outdoors and do a little shopping. The Information Centre is located at the Maritime Reserve in Paihia (09/402-7345) and can provide you with everything you will need to track down the store to suit your particular needs. There are a number of shops in the area that specialize in souvenirs, jewelry, and handicrafts.



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