With an idyllic climate and over 140 sub-tropical atolls, 40 parks and reserves, 800 kilometres of coastline and many of the historic buildings - The Bay of Islands is a popular holiday destination. This region also plays an active role in the history of New Zealand and is a key driver in Northland tourism.
See an abundance of marine life including dolphins, seals, penguins, whales and gannets - many charter companies will take you further out among the islands to explore the incredible geographic features such as ‘Hole in the Rock.' Yacht chartering is another great way to explore the natural beauty of the area. The seas further out of the marine park are renowned for their big game fishing with marlin, broadbills and game sharks all found in the waters.
The small township of Russell - just across the harbour from Paihia is renowned for its history. A visit to the Pompallier Mission house and the local museum, followed by a stroll to New Zealand's oldest church is highly recommended. Russell is also home to many fine restaurants and cafes as well as the nations oldest licensed premises, the Duke of Marlborough. A visit to Waitangi, the birthplace of modern New Zealand is a must - as is a visit to the historic treaty house.
Sail the Bay of Islands with a small group for a personalised island adventure. Enjoy sailing to an island stop-over where you can swim, snorkel, explore and discover in beautiful surroundings. Your vessel for the day is The Phantom, a classic ocean racing sloop built by C&C Yachts in 1972. If you like you can take the helm and with a little help from your crew, experience her pedigree for yourself. You will instantly appreciate her beauty, and feel safe and comfortable on this heavy displacement performance yacht. On board you'll also enjoy 'the best lunch in the bay' according to Lonely Planet, comprising delicious New Zealand cheeses, fruits, home-made breads and more.
Board your cruise and take in the stunning views as you glide out through the islands and along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse keeps watch over and Piercy Island/Motukōkako, or as it is popularly known the ‘Hole in the Rock’. According to Māori legend, local warriors used to paddle through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof above were a good omen. If conditions permit, your skipper will expertly guide the ship through the narrow space. Keep an eye out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales and other marine life during your cruise, and have your camera ready as you get up close to the action. The purpose-built catamaran is licensed by DOC (the Department of Conservation) for dolphin viewing and the crew have years of experience locating dolphins in these waters. Dolphin Seeker has indoor and outdoor seating available, and the largest outdoor viewing decks in the Bay of Islands.
Offering an exhilarating experience as you blast to the Hole in the Rock within a return time of one and a half hours, Ocean Adventure offers the perfect balance of exploration and exhilaration as you fast track your journey through the iconic scenery of the Bay of Islands.
Skydiving over the Bay of Islands gives you the best possible view of the 144 islands that make up the spectacular Bay of Island and when you’re 2 miles up you can even see the curve of the earth – remarkable! To begin you skydive experience you’ll be collected in a luxury stretch limousine, a superbly stylish way to get to the drop zone. As well as the fun stuff you’ll also be pleased to know Skydive Bay of Islands is certified to the highest possible standard by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority, ensuring that your skydive will not only be the most thrilling thing you do this year, but also one of the safest.
Shared fishing charters offer a full range of fishing options tailored to suit everyone's individual needs and experience. From saltwater fly, light tackle, live baiting and jig fishing they welcome both novice and experienced anglers. Your experienced fishing guide offers expert local knowledge for the discerning angler and patient tuition for the novice to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to land their catch. Snapper fishing trips are generally within the inner bay. Pilchards, squid and mackerel are the most common bait used but the odd live bait is always handy as big Snapper are quite partial to these tempting morsels. Ledger and stray line rigs are predominantly used for this species but jigs and soft baits (artificial rubber-like teasers) can also be effective for those experienced anglers keen to preserve. Quality fishing tackle and morning or afternoon tea is provided. You can decide whether to release the fish you catch or take them back to your accommodation for eating. Smoking, canning or vacuum packaging can be arranged.