The natural beauty of the Bay of Islands attracts thousands of visitors each year. The activities and attractions in the area are easily accessible and revolve around the three main towns of Paihia, Russell, Whangarei and Kerikeri. Nearby Waitangi is a beautifully preserved area of New Zealand’s history and the location of the signing of the treaty of Waitangi. Everything in the Bay of Islands is close together so once you are here travel distances are down to a minimum. Paihia is the largest of the towns and has the best selection of Great places to stay in the Bay of Islands .
From here you can cruise around the islands, go deep sea fishing or charter a sailing yacht. Ferries run to and from the charming town of Russell on a regular basis and the shopping and dining options are excellent. Dine along the waterfront at some of New Zealand’s oldest establishments including the historical Duke of Marlborough Hotel. Sample the freshest seafood and tastiest lamb or beef or try the local wine and boutique beers. To see the best of the Bay of Islands you need to get out on the water. There are cruises out to the hole in the rock, dolphin watching and the famous “cream trip” which follows the old trading route and takes you to secluded bays and sandy beaches.
The fishing up here is amazing and you don’t have to go too far to catch a prize snapper or Kahawai. The area is famous for its deep sea fishing, following marlin, tuna and kingfish and the scenery while you are out there will give you just as much enjoyment. The tranquil town of Kerikeri is worth the drive for fresh fruit, home made chocolates, vineyards and arts and crafts. You can visit New Zealand’s oldest building the Stone Store, historical Kerikeri Mission Station or wander through a traditional Maori village. Throughout the Bay of Islands region there are beautiful waterfalls, kauri forests and bush walks. Paihia also has some great coastal walks which offer spectacular views. For a guided commentary take one of the many Bay of Islands tours on offer to see the best of the area.
Most Bay of Islands tours will pick up and drop off from your accommodation whether you are staying in Paihia, Russell or Kerikeri, so it really doesn’t matter where you are based. Travel a little further north to Cape Reinga and 90 – mile beach to see New Zealand’s most northerly point and sand toboggan down a steep sand spit. Drive along the beach by four wheel drive. In the North Island's Bay of Islands you can do as little or as much as you like, the choice is yours.