The Bay of Islands is a 3-hour drive from Auckland and has much to over for people of all ages. It is a subtropical micro-region known for its stunning beauty & history. Visit historic sights, find small and secluded beaches, go sailing on a tall ship or enjoy a tasty meal in one of the many restaurants.
Bay of Islands
You should spend a couple of days at the water’s edge in the Bay of Islands. Go on a sailing adventure, camp close to the beach, visit historic grounds or go biking on one of the lovely trails. Here a few tips to spend your days in the northland.
Sailing on the Tucker Thompson
Sailing a tall ship for a whole day on the Bay of Islands. It is certainly a great adventure. The Tucker Thompson is built in the tradition of a 100-year-old Northland schooner. Discover the waters of the pristine bay, where you can help hoist the sails, climb the rigging or simply relax onboard.
We absolutely loved this tour. It includes:
- Half-day cruise in the Bay of Islands
- Sailing on a replica vintage schooner
- Fresh scones, tea, and a BBQ lunch served on board
- Anchor at secluded bay for a swim
- Optional round-trip ferry transport from Paihia to Russell
Rainbow Falls Bay of Islands
This waterfall is one of the most accessible and stunning waterfalls in New Zealand. The 27m Rainbow Falls has many different viewpoints from the top to the bottom of the falls. When you are feeling adventurous you can find your way behing the waterfall. Find a place to cross the stream at the bottom of the falls and make your way around the back (be safe!)
The short walk is even suitable for buggies and wheelcharis. You can stroll along the riverbank to the spectacular Rainbow Falls, where the water tumbles into a popular swimming hole surrounded by native bush.
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds is one of the most historically significant sites in New Zealand. This is where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed and New Zealand became a nation. A day pass to the grounds includes entry to the Museum of Waitangi, colonial house, guided tours, bush walks, the Waka House and a cultural show at the carved meeting house.
You can visit the Treaty House where you can see and learn more about the British colonization. To symbolize the partnership between the British Crown and the Maori, a stunning traditional Maori meeting house was built facing the Treaty House. The world’s largest Maori ceremonial war canoe is displayed in the Waka House. A well spend day in our opinion!
Helicopter tour over the Bay of Islands
Discover the Bay of Islands by helicopter, with an optional landing at the Hole in the Rock. See Cape Brett from above during an aerial tour from Paihia, narrated by a professional pilot. Fly over Russell and Waitangi en route to the Hole in the Rock. Upgrade to land atop the iconic natural landmark, with an optional walk led by a Maori guide. Scenic helicopter flights over the Bay of Islands For a unique experience, choose one of the Hole in the Rock landing options See the iconic natural formation of the Hole in the Rock Get bird’s-eye views of the historic townships of Russell, Paihia and Waitangi. You can purchase your tickets here.