The Bay of Islands is one of the icons of Northland, 144 islands, Pohutukawa lined beaches, secluded bays and tranquil harbours offer a maritime playground for fishing, swimming, boating, diving or relaxing on the beach in the warm, northern sunshine.

Russell (Kororareka) is charming and elegant – full of historic buildings, good restaurants, cosmopolitan locals, great beaches and a range of accommodation options. Discover Russell’s exciting past by visiting the museum, cafes, restaurants and craft galleries.

A short ferry ride across the bay, the colourful holiday town of Paihia is fringed by golden beaches, pohutukawa trees and turquoise water. The town is a mix of friendly locals, relaxed holiday makers, vibrant cafes and a multitude of activities both on and off the water.

Make a long weekend of your visit and take the time to enjoy the Bay of Islands, it is an activity hub, varying from Parasailing, Historic Sailing Trip on the R. Tucker Thompson, Dive the Rainbow Warrior or the HMS Canterbury or learn from the experts and swim with the dolphins! So many activities to choose from! Or kick back and relax after your swim and sample the local fare in the cafes and restaurants, explore the shops, or simply relax on the beach.

Close at hand is the “Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail”. Experience part of the new 85km cycle –  cycle through tunnels, past lakes, native bush and farmland.

Visit the nearby Waitangi Treaty Grounds to wander through the historic buildings and heritage gardens. Or take a short drive to Kerikeri to browse around the Sunday morning Farmer’s Market and the many galleries, wineries and orchards.


Russell Sunset

Walking Urapukapuka Island

Bay of Islands has events on all year round – coming up are;

  • Bay of Islands Walking Weekend – 2nd, 3rd, 4th, October More Info
  • “it!” Bay of Islands Food and Wine Festival, Paihia– 24th October More Info
  • The Bay of Islands Pastoral & Industrial Show – 14th November More Info
  • Kerikeri Half Marathon – 21st November
  • Kerikeri Half Marathon Street Party – 21st November
  • Bay of Islands Classic Ocean Swim – 28th November
  • Paihia Christmas Parade – 4th December
  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks Display – Midnight
  • Paihia Summer Festival – 3rd to 11th   January
  • Bay of Islands Sailing week – 26th – 31st January
  • Waitangi Day Celebrations – 6th Feb

Also coming up during the year;

  • Waitangi Golf Pro-Am Tournament – April
  • The Great Bay of Islands Bathtub Racing Classic – May
  • Jennian Homes Mothers Fun Run-Walk – May
  • The Bay of Islands Country Rock Festival – May
  • Paihia Half Marathon – June
  • The Bay of Islands Beast – July
  • The Bay of Islands Jazz and Blues Festival – August
  • The Rally of the North – September
  • Paihia-Russell Scuba Snorkel Race – September

Activities At A Glance

  • Hire a bike and explore the newly opened Cycle Trail
  • Take a boat trip to the Hole in the Rock
  • Swim with the dolphins
  • Visit Waitangi the birth place of the nation
  • Kayak or walk to Haruru Falls
  • Catch a snapper or kingfish in the harbour
  • Go gamefishing out in the ocean
  • Dive the HMS Canterbury or Rainbow Warrior
  • Play golf at Waitangi or the famed Kauri Cliffs Golf Courses
  • Visit boutique award winning vineyards and restaurants
  • Sail in the Bay of Islands
  • Visit Cape Reinga and the lighthouse
  • Plenty of walks
  • Skydive!
  • Parasail the highest parasail in the country
  • Meet the locals – a friendly bunch
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Learn to carve
  • Go whale watching
  • Visit the Lord of The Forest “Tane Mahuta”
  • See the sights by air – helicopter or small plane
  • Relax on one of our many beaches
  • Watch the sun set with a drink on the waterfront
  • Cultural evenings
  • Learn to sail and/or wind surf
  • Go hiking

For further information on the Bay of Islands, how to get there, places to stay and things to do visit www.northlandnz.com