Bay of Islands
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Bay of Islands Small Group Afternoon Cruise & Island Tour

1. Bay of Islands Small Group Afternoon Cruise & Island Tour

Check-in at the Salt Air Office at 3.20 PM, before setting off along the sheltered coastline for a scenic cruise. Stop off at Roberton Island (also known as Twin Lagoons) for a 10-minute native bush walk to a breathtaking 360-degree lookout over the bay. After the walk, explore the tidal lagoons before climbing back on board. Cruise among the stunning islands of the Bay, keeping an eye out for wildlife.  Then, stopover at one of the Bay of Islands’ most secluded and unfrequented bays to try some new activities. Snorkel and explore the underwater reefs, stroll on an island trail, give stand-up paddle-boarding a try, relax on the beach or jump in the water for a swim. Make the afternoon your own with the activities that interest you most. Finally, board the boat for the return scenic cruise back to Paihia, arriving at 6:30 PM.

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Bay of Islands: Late Afternoon Sailing Cruise

2. Bay of Islands: Late Afternoon Sailing Cruise

Board Northland’s iconic tall ship the R. Tucker Thompson for a 2-hour sail on the inner bay. Get involved and help hoist the sails or sit back and relax as you pass around a shared antipasto platter. Enjoy a drink from the cash bar and experience the beauty of a traditionally rigged vessel under sail. Ferry tickets to Russell are included in the tour price, so why not head over early and spend an afternoon exploring the historic village or dine in one of the many excellent restaurants after your sail. The ship is operated as a not-for-profit charitable trust with proceeds from sailing activities used to support youth sail training programs over the New Zealand winter.

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Bay of Islands: Full-Day Tall Ship Sailing Excursion

3. Bay of Islands: Full-Day Tall Ship Sailing Excursion

Catch the breeze and set sail for the day on board the unique tall ship R. Tucker Thompson, built in the tradition of 100-year-old schooners by local Northlanders. She has sailed the world, but today explores the somewhat calmer seas of the Bay of Islands. The design of the tall ship is based on the Halibut schooners of the north-west coast of America, which were considered fast and easily manned. She has the look of a working ship of the 18th century, purposeful and square-shouldered, but with a touch of style and speed. The day out can be an interactive experience, so help set the sails, ride on the bowsprit, or climb the rigging. If you prefer, you can relax while the crew does the work. The crew will share stories about the ship, the Bay of Islands and involve you as much or as little as you want. You’ll enjoy the Devonshire cream tea freshly baked in the galley each morning. The ship is spacious and comfortable and the friendly crew makes this a personal experience, suitable for people of all ages. At lunchtime the vessel anchors in a secluded bay. Step ashore, take a swim, or try swinging from the yardarm. With all this sea air and activity you'll have a hearty appetite that will be well taken care of by a tasty BBQ lunch cooked on board. After lunch the ship will head back to the historic village of Russell. The ship is operated as a not-for-profit charitable trust with profits from day sail activities being used to support youth sail training programs over the New Zealand winter. Operating for over 25 years, the ship is Qualmark-approved with a Gold environmental rating.

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Fly to Cape Reinga: Scenic Flights & 2.5-Hour Guided Tour

4. Fly to Cape Reinga: Scenic Flights & 2.5-Hour Guided Tour

Explore the rugged Northland beauty of Cape Reinga, located at the top end of New Zealand, on a half-day tour from Paihia. Combine scenic return airplane flights and a driving tour with plenty of stops to make the most of your visit to this remote North Island region.  After pick-up from your hotel, fly above stunning oceanic landscapes, including spectacular harbors and beaches on a 45-minute scenic flight to Cape Reinga. From Ninety Mile Beach, fly inland to an airfield located only 20-kilometers from the Cape Reinga lighthouse. Upon landing, set off for a 2.5-hour guided driving tour with an experienced guide. Arrive at the Cape Reinga Lighthouse after a 20-minute drive and see where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. Your local guide will accompany you on a walk to the lighthouse, sharing the myths and legends of this very spiritual area.  Enjoy fresh oven-baked treats for morning tea, and then rejoin the vehicle for a short drive to Tapotupotu Bay where you can go for a swim. After a stroll on the beach or a swim, finish with a stop at the Te Paki quicksand stream where you can try to surf down giant sand dunes. On the return 1-hour flight, soar over more spectacular coastal scenery. Fly above Great Exhibition Bay’s pure white silica sand and crystal clear water - one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. The tour concludes with hotel drop-off in Paihia.

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Bay of Islands: Shore Excursion with Kawiti Glowworm Caves

5. Bay of Islands: Shore Excursion with Kawiti Glowworm Caves

Set off on a 5.5-hour sightseeing tour of the Bay of Islands, often referred to as “the birthplace of New Zealand”. The tour commences at 9:00 AM from the Waitangi Wharf, where the cruise ship's tenders will bring you to shore. The first stop is at the Kawiti Glowworm Caves, where you'll experience this magical glowworm phenomenon on a 1-hour guided tour. From Kawiti, the tour moves onward to Kawakawa, also known as “Train Town”, as the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway runs down the middle of its main street. From this point you will proceed toward Puketi Forest, a 15,000-hectare forest containing magnificent stands of kauri and a rich ecological diversity. The next stop is Kerikeri, also known for its successful horticulture, niche food products, fabulous chocolates, boutique vineyards, art galleries, and crafts. Here, watch the making of chocolate, taste some treats, and do some shopping during a visit to Makana Chocolates. You will see the “The Stone Store”, New Zealand’s oldest building, and the adjacent “Kemp House” (without allotted time for entrance). Heading back to Paihia, stop at the Haruru Falls, a breathtaking waterfall in a horseshoe shape. Departing the Haruru Falls, the final stop is at the Waitangi Look Out Loop, providing stunning views over Waitangi and the Bay of Islands. The tour will either return you to the tenders in Waitangi or drop you to the township of Paihia, should you wish to explore further before catching one of the shuttles back to the tenders.

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The Rock Adventure Day Cruise

6. The Rock Adventure Day Cruise

You’ll get picked up at 8.15 am at the Paihia Wharf by sea shuttle which will take you on a smooth cruise to a remote and quiet bay where The Rock has been anchored overnight. After arrival and a quick safety brief haul anchor and get underway for an exploration of the islands. Go Kayaking, snorkelling, gathering fresh sea food, explore WWII remains, trek across islands enjoying stunning vantage points, and visit ancient Maori fortifications. If conditions allow, gather mussels from the kelp-covered outer reefs to enjoy on the way home (along with the unique experience of eating sea urchins raw if you’re brave enough). You will have time to enjoy the remote beaches - perfect for a game of beach cricket or volley ball. On the homeward cruise, enjoy those mussels, freshly steamed, and watch out for the abundant marine and bird life…hopefully you’ll even see dolphins! Arrive back at Paihia wharf at approximately 3 pm. Think you want more activities or want to stay on board The Rock longer? Then maybe The Rock Overnight Cruise is for you. Perhaps your time is a bit more limited but you still fancy sleeping aboard a boat? Then go on the Rock Bed & Breakfast Overnight Cruise.

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From Paihia: The Rock Adventure Overnight Cruise

7. From Paihia: The Rock Adventure Overnight Cruise

The only overnight cruise in the Bay of Islands, offering snorkeling, kayaking, island walks and the opportunity to catch or collect seafood. Come aboard The Rock for a truly unique experience - with a homely atmosphere, a warm welcome from our crew and a variety of awesome activities to keep you entertained and immersed in this amazing part of the world. Departing from Paihia Wharf, this is the best way to spend 22 hours in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Day 1 Start: 5:00 PM, END: up to you Departs at 5 pm, grab a drink and enjoy a 2-3hr cruise out to the islands. Give the target shooting a go as we cruise. Once on anchor in a sheltered bay, we’ll do a spot of dusk fishing. A healthy snapper baked on the barbecue is a welcome addition to an already delicious buffet dinner (subject to guest’s fishing ability, of course!).  Later you can choose to go night kayaking to marvel in the phosphorescence (some call it “fairy dust”) and lie back for a star-gazing session - your guide will point out the major constellations, planets and galaxies. If you’re still up for action, you can jump in the sea for a night swim before settling in for a drink by the fire. Day 2 Start: 8:00 AM, END: 3:00 PM Sunrise at sea is spectacular – you can watch it from your bed if you’re not an early bird! The breakfast bell goes at 8 am. We serve a traditional kiwi breakfast and then haul anchor and get underway for an exploration of the islands. If you’re up early enough, you might even get a chance for a quick wake-up swim with the crew. Kayaking, snorkelling, gathering fresh seafood, exploring WWII remains, trekking across islands enjoying stunning vantage points and visiting ancient Maori fortifications. If conditions allow, we’ll gather mussels from the kelp-covered outer reefs to enjoy on the way home (along with the unique experience of eating sea urchins raw if you’re brave enough). You will have time to enjoy the remote beaches - perfect for a game of beach cricket or volleyball. On the homeward cruise, enjoy those mussels, freshly steamed, and watch out for the abundant marine and bird life…hopefully you’ll even see dolphins! Arrive back at Paihia wharf at approximately 3 pm.

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Bay of Islands: Awesome Day Sailing Tour with Island Stop

8. Bay of Islands: Awesome Day Sailing Tour with Island Stop

On boarding this ocean going yacht in Paihia guests are greeted with a safety briefing and invited to join in sailing as participants or simply relax and enjoy. On the journey, guests are treated to fresh fruit and vegetable snacks. See the various and beautiful land formations, ancient lava flows and numerous wave swept caves.  Spot penguins and other marine life in playful groups as the yacht sails along. Upon arrival at the island stopover, guests are invited to swim ashore with snorkel gear, if wished. Those wishing to stay dry are transferred ashore. While on the island travelers may choose to go on a walk, comb the beach, snorkel or a combination of all.  After exploring, enjoy a fresh sandwich lunch provided on board (vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan options available) before heading back to land.

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From Paihia: Bay of Islands Craft Beer Tour with Lunch

9. From Paihia: Bay of Islands Craft Beer Tour with Lunch

Discover the Bay of Islands, home to some of New Zealand’s best craft breweries. Sample beers and ciders at 3 breweries on a tour from Paihia that includes lunch and all tastings. Start the tour at the Plough and Feather Tap Room, nestled in the historic Kerikeri Domain. Sample 4 of the 20 locally brewed ales and lagers from their sister company, Kainui Brew Co. which has won multiple medals such as NZ Brewer’s Guild Awards and New World Awards. Move onto the Phat House Brewery in Haruru Falls. Founded in 2015, their owners are passionate about every stage of the brewing process. Try up to 4 different products of your choice from their wide range of unfiltered, unpasteurized, preservative-free beers made from natural ingredients. Next, enjoy a meal of homemade pizza (gluten-free and vegetarian options available) and a generous portion of French fries. Make use of a spacious beer garden where you can sit for your tastings. Make way to your final stop, the Craft Beer Kitchen in the heart of Paihia. CBK Craft Bar and Kitchen has taken inspiration from various corners of the world to take you on a tasting journey around Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Pacific Rim. With an ever-changing selection of craft beers and ciders, there is something to suit everyone's palates. Have the opportunity to sample 4 beers at your leisure while enjoying the view from the veranda.

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Auckland: Bay of Islands Tour with Waitangi Treaty Grounds

10. Auckland: Bay of Islands Tour with Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Take an epic road trip from Auckland to one of the most spectacular parts of New Zealand, the Bay of Islands. This route offers breathtaking scenery of rugged mountain ranges, rainforests, deep gorges, and the clear blue ocean. You will be travelling in an air-conditioned Mercedes-Benz, in the company of a highly knowledgeable local tour guide.  First, board a boat to make your way through the pristine islands towards the Cape Brett Peninsula and its historic lighthouse. If conditions permit, sail safely in the hands of your knowledgeable skipper through the majestic "Hole in the Rock". Marvel at the bottlenose dolphins and a host of other marine life en route.  Next, enjoy an inspiring cultural experience at the birthplace of New Zealand, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Enjoy an informative tour with your local Maori guide, as well as a high-energy Maori cultural performance. You will also have ample time to explore Waitangi’s heritage buildings, such as the Treaty House, home to the first British resident. Watch live demonstrations in the Carving Studio, and take photos beside the world’s largest ceremonial war canoe. Visit the Museum of Waitangi, which holds a stunning collection of treasured objects called "taonga" that brings to life the history of the Treaty of Waitangi, the founding document of New Zealand.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Bay of Islands

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What people are saying about Bay of Islands

My friends and I had an amazing experience, we got to explore two islands and were able to paddle board and snorkeling in one of them. Gear is provided. We visited Robertson Island and the views were amazing! Our friendly tour guide gave us interesting facts about the history during the tour. Highly recommend this tour :) My highlight was seeing a stingray :)

The guide is awesome and wait for us as we were a bit late. It’s definitely activities that worth to try! We had very lovely afternoon with this activity but the group was not small. Bit large than we think but still had fund

Great flight up 90 mile beach and down over the east coast on the way back. Van to Cape reinga and surrounding beaches was fun and informative. Easily the best way to see the far north!

This was one of the best activities that we have done. Great guide, fabulous views, great way to see this part of New Zealand.

Great experience, highly recommend. Pleasant crew that encouraged everyone to make the most of the experience