The Bay of Islands offers more than broad vistas of sea and sky, more than beaches, boating, and fabulous water sports. The Bay is the birthplace of modern New Zealand. Here the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, establishing British rule and granting the native inhabitants equal status.
Rich in legend and mystery, the Bay of Islands has age-old ties to the Maori and to whalers, missionaries, and New Zealand’s early settlers.
The Bay of Islands has lured explorers for countless centuries, the Maori say that Kupe, the great Polynesian adventurer, came here in the 10th century.
Captain Cook anchored offshore in 1769, followed by assorted brigands, traders, colonists, and missionaries.
A three-hour drive or 35-minute flight north of Auckland, the Bay of Islands encompasses 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula and includes the boutique towns of Opua, Paihia, Russell, and Kerikeri.
A selection of tour operators in the region offers excellent trips by sea or air to the spectacular Cape Brett and the ‘Hole in the Rock’ on Piercy Island. A passenger ferry operates between Paihia and Russell, while a vehicle ferry connects Opua and Russell. On land, enjoy beautiful river and coastal walking trails or encounter the mighty Kauri tree in the pristine subtropical rainforest.
Embark on a voyage of discovery and enjoy the beauty of the area when you join a daily cruise, charter a yacht, or charter a sea kayak. Once you’re near Tapeka Point – just north of Russell – you’ll enter a marine adventure playground with an abundance of wildlife, including penguins, dolphins, marlins, whales, porpoises, and more. Many of the islands here have walking tracks and there is a camping ground on Urupukapuka Island.