Travel to the birthplace of New Zealand and experience past and present with a sightseeing day tour to the historical Bay of Islands.
Departing Auckland in the morning, you'll cross the Harbour Bridge and travel north on one of GreatSights' comfortable and air conditioned deluxe coaches. Your local driver guide will point out interesting sights and provide entertaining and informative commentary as you journey through farmland and lush native forest towards the Bay of Islands.
Upon arrival, take some leisure time to explore the charming seaside village of Paihia, before taking a short ferry ride across the harbour to Russell, also known by its Māori name Kororāreka. From here you will enjoy the Russell Mini Tour by coach. This intimate one-hour tour is led by an engaging guide who has a fantastic combination of historical knowledge and local insight, really bringing the cultural history of the area alive. Although Russell may seem tranquil today, you'll hear all about its rowdy past in the early 19th century when it was a lawless open port, known as the 'Hell Hole of the Pacific'!
Learn about the features that make Russell so significant in New Zealand's history, such as Christ Church (the oldest church in New Zealand), historic Pompallier House, and even the country's oldest licensed pub. You'll also hear more about the world's second oldest game fishing club – the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club, made famous by American author Zane Grey. The tour visits areas which cannot be easily covered on foot, like Flagstaff Hill (Te Maiki), which offers stunning 360-degree views of the whole Bay of Islands.
After your tour ends you'll have time to wander the township before returning to Paihia, where your coach driver will meet you for the journey back to Auckland.
Multilingual options are available >
Free WiFi is available on board Auckland/Paihia coaches on this tour
What a fantastic tour of Russell we had. The history of Russell is so gripping. The bullet holes still visible in the church from wars a long time ago brilliant. Just take this trip and enjoy it. Afterwards have a nice coffee at one of the many cafes and enjoy the ambience and reflect upon a beautiful little historical town with so much to give.
Reviewed by: Herbie