The Bay of Islands ranks as one of NZ’s top summertime destinations. Lingering shots of its turquoise waters and 150 undeveloped islands feature heavily in the country's tourist promotions. Most of the action here is out on the water, whether that be yachting, big-game fishing, kayaking, diving or cruising around in the company of whales and dolphins.
It's also a place of enormous historical significance. Māori knew it as Pēwhairangi 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 in the country. 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.