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Bay of Islands Tours

Our most recommended Bay of Islands Tours

From Paihia: Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach with Lunch

1. From Paihia: Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach with Lunch

Learn more about Māori traditions at Cape Reinga or Te Rerenga Wairua, by visiting the place where spirits are said to depart on their long journey back to their true homeland on this group tour.  Stand at the northernmost point of New Zealand and drink in the panoramic views. Snap a picture beneath the iconic lighthouse, look out at the point where the Tasman Sea collides with the mighty Pacific Ocean, and, if you’re feeling adventurous, try sandboarding. Travel in the local partner's purpose-built 46-seat tour bus designed for cruising along 90 Mile Beach, where some other tours can’t reach. Listen to entertaining and thought-provoking insight into the culture, history, and natural wonders of the far north from your local guide. Have a delicious locally prepared lunch to keep you fueled throughout the day. Try sandboarding at Te Paki Stream. Feel closer to the nature and culture of New Zealand on this tour. 

From Paihia or Russell: Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

2. From Paihia or Russell: Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

Embark on a catamaran tour of the Bay of Islands from Paihia or Russell. Enjoy insightful commentary as you visit famous sights, including the "Hole in the Rock" and make a stop at Urupukapuka Island. Board your vessel in Paihia or Russell and glide out through the islands. Cruise along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse watches over the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’.  The natural sculpture, one of New Zealand's most popular attractions, was created from centuries of sea and wind erosion. According to Maori legend, local warriors paddled through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof were a good omen. Take in the Grand Cathedral Cave before heading back into the bay. Keep an eye out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales, and other marine life.  Cruise in comfort aboard the Dolphin Seeker with indoor and outdoor seating and the Bay of Island's largest outdoor viewing decks. Treat yourself to snacks and a licensed bar on board, or enjoy the Otehei Bar Café and Bar on Urupukapuka Island.

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

3. 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.

From Paihia: Bay of Islands Small Group Cruise & Island Tour

4. From Paihia: Bay of Islands Small Group Cruise & Island Tour

Discover the remote islands of the Bay of Islands on this guided cruise. Get to know the local flora and fauna, dive underneath the waves, snorkel alongside colorful fish, and try your hand at other fun water activities. Check-in 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 walk along the native bush to a breathtaking 360-degree lookout over the bay.  After the walk, explore the tidal lagoons before stepping back on board the boat and continuing your cruise along the Bay of Islands, keeping an eye out for wildlife. Then, stop at one of the bay’s 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 day your own, with the activities that interest you most. Finally, board the boat for the return scenic cruise back to Paihia.

Bay of Islands: Bay Discovery Cruise with Island Stop-Over

5. Bay of Islands: Bay Discovery Cruise with Island Stop-Over

Set off on a scenic 4.5 to 5-hour cruise to discover the very best of the Bay of Islands. Experience the spectacular scenery and encounter diverse wildlife in an area soaked in rich culture and history. Board the black and yellow power cat at Paihia Wharf and be welcomed aboard by the friendly crew. Your crew will deliver a full safety briefing and overview of the trip. Cruise among the 144 islands and enjoy entertaining live commentary from your local knowledgeable skipper. Visit the iconic Hole in the Rock and when conditions permit, you can even travel through it. Spot local wildlife including dolphins, birds, seals and even the occasional whale with a success rate of over 90%. Your trip will also include a 1.5-hour island stop at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island. Enjoy free time to explore the island. If you wish, you can hire kayaks, or paddleboards (available during summer only) or just relax on the beach. You can also choose to extend your stay on the island and return on a later ferry (only available during summer).

Bay of Islands: 5-Hour Day Cruise and Island Getaway Tour

6. Bay of Islands: 5-Hour Day Cruise and Island Getaway Tour

Escape the crowds and experience the Bay of Islands on a personalised, small-group, interactive boat cruise. Combine the best activities of the Bay of Islands with interactive and informative commentary for an amazing day excursion. Stop at Roberton Island and disembark for a 10-minute walk along a native bush trail. At the end of the trail discover a breathtaking 360-degree viewpoint over the bay. Enjoy a complimentary beachside morning tea provided by the crew and have the opportunity to explore the tidal lagoons. Climb back on board and continue cruising among the 144 islands of the Bay keeping a lookout for marine wildlife and unique shorebirds. Your second island stop takes you to one of the Bay of Islands’ most secluded and unfrequented bays. Snorkel and explore the underwater reefs, take a walk along the island trail and try stand-up paddleboarding. Relax on the beach or jump in the water for a swim, do as much or as little as you want.

Bay of Islands: Island Hopper Day Sailing Cruise from Paihia

7. 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. 

Bay of Islands: Full-Day Tall Ship Sailing Excursion

8. 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.

Hole in the Rock 1.5-Hour Fast Boat Ocean Adventure

9. Hole in the Rock 1.5-Hour Fast Boat Ocean Adventure

Fast track your journey through the iconic scenery of the Bay of Islands on a 1.5-hour ocean adventure. Experience the thrill of an open-air fast boat ride as you cruise among the bay's 144 islands and explore the bay's iconic sites. Enjoy the perfect balance of exploration and exhilaration with informative commentary and stops to observe the abundant wildlife along the way. Speed through the open waters in a purpose built state of the art catamaran. Visit the iconic Hole in the Rock, the gorgeous Cape Brett Peninsula, and enter the spectacular Cathedral Cave (conditions permitting). Ride the waves past sandy beaches, rocky outcrops, and the many varied island landscapes. Keep an eye out for wildlife including whales, seals, dolphins, and penguins. Learn about the area's unique characteristics and fascinating history from your friendly, informative skipper. This exhilarating tour is also a very comfortable and safe one. Complete with padded seats and seat belts, the boat is designed to protect its passengers riding in the open ocean. Life jackets and weather-proof jackets are also provided.

From Paihia: Hole in the Rock Cruise & Island Stop

10. From Paihia: Hole in the Rock Cruise & Island Stop

Travel among the 144 remote islands of New Zealand's renowned Bay of Islands. Enjoy a guided boat tour departing from Paihia and discover some of the most unique sights of this natural destination. Admire the stunning Hole in the Rock and stop to explore one of the islands. Set sail and surround yourself with the imposing rocky scenery of the Bay of Islands. Keep an eye out for a variety of marine wildlife as you cruise along the coastline. Listen to interesting commentary from your tour guide as they relay the history of the area. Visit the original landing site of Captain James Cook on Roberton Island. Experience Cathedral Cave on Motukokako Island and the famous Hole in the Rock. If weather permits, you'll even sail through it. Up next, take in the awe-striking Cape Brett Peninsula and its lighthouse. Stop at one of the islands along the way. Take a short walk toward a lookout point and help feed the schools of fish in the Voluntary Marine Reserve.

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What people are saying about Bay of Islands

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 87 reviews

I was tossing up between all of the cruises on offer and I’m so happy I picked barefoot! The small group size on the boat made it really friendly. It was lovely putting the sails up on the catamaran and getting to cruise the bay. Beach stop has option to snorkel, stand up paddle board, hike across the island or just relax on the beach or boat. Staff on board were welcoming and made sure everyone had a wonderful time. An all round superb day!

We had a wonderful afternoon out in the glass bottom boat with a great skipper who is very knowledgeable. Feeding the fish in the beautiful bay is an amazing highlight.

The commentary as we sailed was interesting, engaging and enthusiastic. Very pleasant crew.

This was so much fun, stunning views and lots of thrills along the way.

Very enjoyable experience and highly recommend this tour.