Things to do in the Bay of Islands: The Ultimate List

  • Bay of Islands Maritime Park
    One of New Zealand's most beautiful areas, encompassing 144 islands and offering world-class fishing and diving, and a range of scenic cruises and wildlife tours.
  • Hole in the Rock
    This impressive natural rock arch can be visited by boat from Paihia or Russell.
  • Waitangi National Trust
    On tour at Waitangi Treaty GroundsEnjoying beautiful views of the bay, the 506ha Waitangi Reserve is home to the Treaty House, where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. There is also a Maori meeting house and a carved waka (war canoe).
  • Swimming with the dolphins
    Experience the thrill of swimming with bottle-nosed and common dolphins, which frequent the Bay of Islands year-round.
  • Fishing
    The New Zealand Big Game Fishing Nationals are held in the Bay of Islands during February, with catches including marlin, shark and kingfish.
  • Kerikeri Arts and Crafts Trail
    A circuit of artisans in and around Kerikeri from potters to chocolate and winemakers.
  • Kemp House, Kerikeri
    Once part of a missionary post, New Zealand's oldest European building was built between 1821-22.
  • The Stone Store, Kerikeri
    Set in the scenic Kerikeri Basin, New Zealand's oldest European stone building houses a shop and small museum.
  • Kerikeri or Rainbow Falls
    Surrounded by native bush, the 20km high Rainbow Falls can be reached via a short track from Waipapa Road.
  • Haruru Falls
    Just 4km west of Paihia, this spectacular cascade falls in a rare horseshoe shape.
  • Russell
    Russell WaterfrontOnce known as the Hellhole of the South Pacific, today Russell is a quaint fishing village and a base for deep sea fishing trips. Popular attractions include the heritage buildings of Christ Church and Pompallier.
  • Long Beach
    Russell's sandy beach is a popular destination for fishing and swimming during the summer.
  • Christ Church
    Built in 1836, this is the country's oldest church in use today. Its facade shows sign of musket holes dating from conflicts between local Maori and European settlers.
  • Pompallier
    New Zealand's oldest surviving Roman Catholic building.
  • Paihia
    The perfect location for sailing, fishing and other water-based activities and has a wide range of tourist accommodation.