Bay of Islands Sailing trips & boat tours

Our most recommended Bay of Islands Sailing trips & boat tours

Paihia: Glass Bottom Boat Tour to the Hole in the Rock

1. Paihia: Glass Bottom Boat Tour to the Hole in the Rock

Explore one of the most popular tourist destinations on New Zealand's North Island the way it's meant to be enjoyed – from the water. See golden beaches, secluded coves, and colorful fish on this boat tour. The tour leaves from the Main Wharf in Paihia and takes you to the Hole in the Rock. If weather conditions allow, your captain will take you right through this natural tunnel. Admire the views in Deep Water Cove and sail through the Okahu Passage. The last stop is at Otehei Bay where the boat's floor is lifted to reveal the blue water below. Feed the fish and admire them through the boat's glass floor.

Bay of Islands: Island Hopper Day Sailing Cruise from Paihia

2. Bay of Islands: Island Hopper Day Sailing Cruise from Paihia

Embark on a magical day sailing adventure in the Bay of Islands. Experience the Kiwi barefoot culture for yourself as you step straight from Paihia's beachfront onto a modern catamaran.  Set sail through the bay's 144 islands to a remote island stopover aboard Kopiko, a 33-foot performance catamaran built for speed, comfort, and style. Lend the friendly crew a hand with sailing the boat, or spread out with plenty of deck space where you can grab a bean bag and chalk up some leisure time. Discover a wealth of wildlife from seabirds, stingrays, seals, penguins, to dolphins.  Arrive in a stunning bay, where you'll anchor close to the beach. Step off onto the island and enjoy a delicious packed lunch at a stunning picnic spot of your choice. Enjoy short walking trails, picturesque views, snorkeling, paddleboarding, swimming, or digging your toes into the sand. After your island adventures, set sail and watch the wind fill the sails as you relax on the return trip. 

Russell: Sundowner Tall Ship Sailing Adventure with Snacks

3. Russell: Sundowner Tall Ship Sailing Adventure with Snacks

Help sail the tall ship, R. Tucker Thompson, around New Zealand's beautiful Bay of Islands at sunset. This shorter, family-friendly trip is perfect if you don't have time for a full day at sea but still want the unique tall ship experience. You'll have a chance to take the helm, help hoist the sails, or ride the bowsprit.  Meet your guide in Paihia or Russell and jump on board. After you set sail and you'll be able to relax and enjoy the views, learn about the history of Paihia, Waitangi, and the Black Rocks, or snap perfect sunset photos.   While onboard you can snack on a shared antipasto platter, or purchase local wines or beers from the licensed cash bar. If you want to help with sailing the ship, just ask your guide.  Your tour includes ferry tickets to Russell, so you can head over earlier in the day and explore the town before boarding the tall ship back to Paihia.

Bay of Islands: Full-Day Tall Ship Sailing Excursion

4. 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.

From Paihia: Bayscapes Charters Sailing Day Trip with Lunch

5. From Paihia: Bayscapes Charters Sailing Day Trip with Lunch

Help out with the sails or just sit back and relax and take in the amazing scenery as you make your way out into the Bay of Islands on this cruise from Paihia. Enjoy a packed lunch with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options available (upon request). Hop aboard a comfortable sailing catamaran with plenty of space to soak up the sun on deck. Sail over turquoise waters and admire views of the Bay of Islands. Once anchored at a beach that is only accessible by boat, you can choose how to spend your two hour island excursion. Take a dinghy ride to the beach and have a picnic with the packed lunch, go for walk on the island, or explore the water with the included high-quality snorkeling and paddle boarding gear. Keep an eye out for local wildlife. With the option to purchase snacks and non alcoholic drinks onboard, or bring your own alcoholic drinks to sip while you glide over the water. Return to your starting point in Paihia at the end of your cruise.  Please note: This cruise requires a minimum of 4 passengers before your booking will be confirmed.

Bay of Islands: Awesome Day Sailing Tour with Island Stop

6. 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.

Bay of Islands 2-Hour Sundowner Evening Sailing Cruise

7. Bay of Islands 2-Hour Sundowner Evening Sailing Cruise

Embark on a unique evening sailing cruise in the Bay of Islands. Experience the Kiwi barefoot culture for yourself as you step straight from Paihia's beachfront at 5:00 PM onto a modern catamaran. Get out on the water and watch the sun going down - the perfect start to a relaxed night out with friends and family or a romantic getaway. Enjoy a relaxed sail aboard a smooth catamaran as you take in the idyllic Bay of Islands in the early evening. Sail the inner bays of the Paihia, Opua, Russell, and Waitangi. Experience the landscape from a different perspective on the water. Soak in the views as you cruise alongside the water's edge and meander through peaceful anchorages, catching a glimpse of prime real estate perched on the hilltops. An optional swim in a peaceful anchorage is on the agenda and a complimentary drink is included. Cruise returns to Paihia around 7:00 PM, just in time for dinner.

Bay of Islands: Late Afternoon Sailing Cruise

8. 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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What people are saying about Bay of Islands

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 197 reviews

Such an incredible day on the water. Luke and his offsider for the day were so knowledgeable. Luke was very accomodating to everyone’s needs and always had a story or two for us. He has a clear love for what he does and the land that he works in. Not only was Luke so knowledgeable about the area but he was able to give some very helpful paddle boarding tips. My partner and I had the most wonderful day and would do it all over again if we find ourselves back in the Bay of Islands.

Fantastic experience, can’t recommend enough. Luke and his team thought of everything and we felt very well cared for. We had an awesome girls trip on the boat, swimming, snorkeling and paddle boarding. We also enjoyed hearing information about the area and part of our ticket even went towards a local native bird sanctuary. Very worthwhile experience

For a shorter small tour this is fabulous. Informative and fun. Great boat to see main sites. Friendly guide with photographic tips! Well worth booking.

Such an incredible experience with an experienced and friendly crew. Sailing was amazing and the island was paradise! Highly recommend

Such a fantastic day! Absolutely loved our adventure with Tim and Luke