Explore the Bay of Islands on a full day trip from Auckland and discover the historic sites of Waitangi and Russell. You’ll visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, ferry from Paihia to Russell, New Zealand's first permanent European settlement and sea port, and take an informative tour with a local guide. Before returning to Auckland, enjoy free time to check out Russell’s bustling shops, cafes and museums at your leisure.
After pickup from your centrally-located Auckland hotel or the Sky City coach terminal, you’ll travel by comfortable air-conditioned coach approximately three hours to Paihia, the jumping off point for touring the Bay of Islands. Relax as you motor along the scenic route and avail yourself of free on board WIFI. When you arrive in Paihia, you’ll head to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds for a guided tour of this historical site, where in 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi–considered the founding document of the nation–was signed by 43 Maori chiefs and the British Crown. You’ll visit the Waitangi Treaty House, built in 1832 as a private home and now a museum with informational displays, including a copy of the treaty. Nearby you'll find an elaborately decorated Maori meeting house and a large waka (war canoe) with photographs depicting its construction from gigantic logs. After visiting Waitingi, you’ll take a short ferry ride to Russell for a 1-hour coach tour of this charming town with a wild past. Find out why Russell was once known as the 'Hellhole of the Pacific' and see historical highlights including the Pompallier Mission, Christ Church, and New Zealand’s oldest pub. From the top of Flagstaff Hill, you’ll get panoramic views over the bay and learn about the historical controversy surrounding the flagstaff in the 1840s. You’ll have free time to spend at your leisure when the guided tour concludes in Russell. Relax in town and explore Russell’s cafes, shops, waterfront, museum and art galleries featuring Maori artists. After a scenic and informative full-day tour, you’ll reboard your coach and be returned to Auckland.