The beautiful Bay of Islands is just three hours north of Auckland by road, but feels like a world away from New Zealand’s biggest city. Departing from downtown Auckland, your journey to the Northland region will take you through beautiful lush countryside, rural towns and past golden sandy beaches into the waterfront township of Paihia.
Northland is regarded as the birthplace of New Zealand as it was here that Kupe, believed to be the first Māori voyager, arrived on its shores more than 1000 years ago; and it was just a short distance from Paihia that the historic Treaty of Waitangi between Māori and the Crown was signed in 1840, establishing a relationship that is still at the heart of New Zealand’s governance today. Read More..
The Bay of Islands is a stunning region made up of 144 islands dotted throughout waters abundant in marine life. Take the opportunity to experience swimming with dolphins, visit the natural wonder that is the Hole in the Rock at Cape Brett, or simply take pleasure in spotting a huge array of bird and sea life from the comfort of a cruise boat.
Visit historic Russell – today a charming village of boutique shops and eateries and home to New Zealand's oldest Roman Catholic Building, 'Pompallier Mission' and the world's second oldest game fishing club – but you’ll also but you’ll learn of its less than savoury past in the early 19th century, when it was a lawless open port, and known as the ‘Hell Hole of the Pacific’.
For a truly luxurious experience of the Bay of Islands and its natural wonders spend a night aboard ‘Ipipiri’, a stunning 150 foot (44 metre) cruise ship with ocean view cabins. You’ll enjoy snorkelling, kayaking and island walk, then round your day off with a drink on the top deck as the sun sets before heading inside for dinner.
From Paihia you can also head to Cape Reinga at the very tip of New Zealand and see the spot where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean collide. En route you’ll visit the Puketi Forest, home to ancient giants – the Kauri tree – and then travel onwards to the spectacular Ninety Mile Beach for a drive along the sand and the chance to spot fur seals and native birds before sand-boarding down the giant dunes (if you’re feeling adventurous!). The final stop is Cape Reinga, the top of New Zealand and where Māori legend holds that departed spirits leave on their journey to their home of Hawaiki. Close..
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