Introducing Bay of Islands
Undeniably pretty, the Bay of Islands ranks as one of NZ’s top tourist drawcards. The footage that made you want to come to NZ in the first place no doubt featured lingering shots of lazy, sun-filled days on a yacht floating atop these turquoise waters punctuated by around 150 undeveloped islands. The reality is that NZ has many beautiful spots and this bay, while wonderful, could be a teensy bit overhyped.
What sets it apart from the rest is its fascinating history and substantial tourist infrastructure. Paihia has one of the best selections of budget accommodation of anywhere in the country. After that the budget goes out the window as a bewildering array of boat trips clamour to wrestle money out of your wallet. There’s no point coming here if you don’t head out on the water, so be prepared to fork out.
The Bay of Islands is a place of enormous historical significance. Maori knew it as Pewhairangi and settled here early in their migrations. As the site of NZ’s first permanent British settlement (at Russell), it is the birthplace of European colonisation. It was here that the Treaty of Waitangi was drawn up and first signed in 1840; the treaty remains the linchpin of race relations in NZ today.
Bay of Islands destination guides
New Zealand Encompassed
It dosen’t look so big on the map, but New Zealand is positively massive once you’re there in person. This comprehensive 24-day trip—our longest in this part of the world—delivers the most immersive NZ experience possible.
Bay of Islands Day Tour from Auckland
Tour the Bay of Islands on a full-day trip from Auckland. You'll see spectacular rural and coastal scenery en route, visit historic Waitangi, cruise from Paihia and have free time to enjoy the cafes, museums and shops of Russell, New Zealand's early capital.