Bay of Islands Visitor Guide

The beautiful Bay of Islands is actually made up of 144 different islands. How many are you going to try and visit? Ok yes, some are very small - more large rocks than fully fledged islands, but all make up one of the most beautiful vistas in New Zealand, just one reason why the Bay of Islands is consistently voted as a "Must Visit" by Kiwi's and International visitors alike. 
Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands Itineraries

Bay of Islands

* Bay of Islands Itineraray 

Set over 8 days, you start in Paihia and will end up in Auckland with a day trip to Cape Reinga.

Northland Itinerary starting in Whangarei and ending in Auckland over 8 days taking in Cape Reinga, Kaitaia & Bay of Islands.

Things to Do in the Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands Things to doComprised of 4 main towns, some smaller settlements and the wonderful bay itself, there's no shortage of things to keep you busy all year round no matter your holiday style. 

Top 5 ABSOLUTE Must Do's in Paihia

* Top 5 Truly Kiwi Experiences

* Top 5 Historic  Places to visit in the Bay of Islands  

Top 5 Ways To Walk Your Socks Off in the Bay of Islands

Top 5 Bay of Island Walks

* Bay of Islands Things to Do: The Ultimate List More info


Russell Nestled in the scenic Bay of Islands near the sandy shores of Long Beach, historic Russell has been a focal
point in both Maori and European history. 

Once known as 'The hell hole of the Pacific', it's now often referred to as Romantic Russell due to it's large number of beautiful, historic buildings and private get aways. 

* Things to Do The town itself has a tempting selection of cafés and restaurants plus several galleries as well as tours around the gorgeous historic buildings. Handily connected to Paihia by a ferry service, you can drive directly to the settlement.
More info


Paihia Things to Do

Gorgeous Paihia is considered by many to be the jewel of the Bay of Islands;  the foremost resort town and the gateway to the Bay of Islands Maritime Park.

With it's long sandy beach, stunning views and friendly locals it's lured many a person away from an all but confirmed retirement plan.

Paihia has a wide selection of restaurants, cafes and boutiques with accommodation to suit every budget, making it an excellent base to explore the area from.

* Things to do There are so many to choose from! If you have a limited time frame, start with the Top 5...

* The Absolute Top 5 Paihia Must Dos!
 More info


Kerikeri Things to DoKerikeri sits on the banks of the Kerikeri Rivert in the Kerikeri Basin and is New Zealand's oldest town. 

Originally a mission post established in 1819, Kerikeri has a rich Maori and European history. The town contains several beautiful landmark buildings, including New Zealands oldest surviving European structure set amongst stunning grounds.

Today, Kerikeri forms the heart of a fertile fruit growing area and has a thriving arts and crafts industry - make sure you follow the Arts & Crafts Trail

Things to Do
   Something for everyone - see the list! More info


Waitangi Things to DoWaitangi holds special significance in New Zealand's history.

It was here on 6 February, 1840, that New Zealand's founding bi-cultural document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed between some of the northern Maori chiefs and Captain William Hobson, representing Queen Victoria of Britain.

* Things to Do The most obvious is explore the history of Waitangi. The Treaty Grounds include a reserve, the treaty house and the meeting house and waka taua (war canoe.) Learn about Maori culture and language, admire the carving and enjoy a day exploring the differences and similarities. 
More info

Haruru Falls 

Haruru Falls Bay of islands

Haruru Falls is somewhere you tend to hear before you see, quite fitting considering Haruru means "Big Noise" in Maori.

Just a few kilometres inland from the open waters of the Bay of Islands, the falls and the horshoe shaped basin has provided safety for waka, canoes and boats as well as those who in them for over 1000 years.

Now a resort, small town  and popular visitor attraction - learn more about the area's interesting history and the range of things you can do there. It's a definite must see.

Haruru Falls History

* Things to do at Haruru Falls


Bay of Islands

Less busy than Paihia, Opua is very popular with yachties - local and international. If you have a hankering to get out on the water in something very special, chances are you'll find it in Opua.

Centrally located between Russell & Paihia and just 3.5hours from Auckland, Opua is also very well positioned for those who like to get back to nature and live an undisturbed lifestyle knowing that the fun and bustle of Paihia is near by.

Opua is all about relaxing things to do -sailing, fishing, golf, diving, walking, swimming with the dolphins. Paradise for those who like a little quiet time. 


Kawakawa Bay of islands   Kawakawa is the Train Town of the North - home to the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway with the steam train running every day.

As well as the train, the nearby Kawiti Glow-worm Caves at Waiomio, just 5km south of Kawakawa are definitely worth a visit. You’ll see a galaxy of glow-worm lights and pure white limestone formations that took thousands of years to build up.

Kawakawa is also famous for its Public Toilets, designed by the world renowned artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Born in Austria, and known as one of their greatest contemporary artists, Hundertwasser became a New Zealand citizen in 1986, 13 years after moving here. 

Photography  Credits

Left to right, top to bottom of the page.

#1 - Hero Image - View across the Bay of Islands from near Cape Brett. By SIDS courtesy Flikr Creative Commons
#2 - Hole in the Rock. By Hugh McDonald courtesy Flikr Creative Commons.
#3 - Opua Sunset. By Jim Tucker courtesy of Flikr Creative Commons.
#4 - Paihia #5 -  Sunset over the Mainlain taken from Russell. By Cecily McLeod
#6 - Waitangi Treaty Grounds. By Sids1
#7 - The Stone Store Kerikeri. By JuliePlanMyPlay courtesy Flikr Creative Commons.
#8 - Haruru Fall. By Jo Petsky courtesy Flikr Creative Commons.
#9 - Kawakawa's Hundertwasser Bathrooms - bottle wall detail. By Rduta courtesy of Flikr Creative Commons.