The Bay of Islands is one of New Zealands great holiday destinations – enjoyed by ‘Kiwis’ and international visitors alike. This is authentic New Zealand – both stunningly beautiful and historically significant.
With a sub-tropical climate, you can enjoy beach and water activities, go exploring one of the many nature walks, swim with dolphins, charter a boat to go fishing or to explore the 144 different islands in the bay.
The Bay of Islands was where the first European settlers arrived, and where they forged the first relationships with local Maori – not always a friendly experience! The famous Treaty of Waitangi became the founding document for our new nation, and is celebrated every year here at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
Each town in the Bay of Islands has it’s own unique culture and lifestyle – from the more up-market lifestyle focus of Kerikeri, to bustling Paihia with its aim on providing a great visitor experience, to the calming historic atmosphere of Waitangi and the Haruru Falls, and the beautiful and sometimes quirky sea-side town of Russell.
Further afield is Kawakawa with its famed Hundtertwasser toilets and Gabriel, its lovingly restored steam train. And you will gain a completely different perspective in Kaikohe, which is the farming and commercial ‘hub’ for the district and has its own Pioneer Village museum.
The Puketi Kauri Forest is a conservation estate just a few minutes by car north of the Bay of Islands. Here you can walk through our Kauri Forests looking as they did when the settlers first arrived. After the loss of much of the native bird life as the result of introduced pests, our native birds are once again returning to thrive in their natural habitat.
The Bay of Islands is a great base for exploring all of the Far North. Further west is the Waipoua Kauri Forest, home of the ancient Kauri tree – Tane Mahuta – often described as the 2,000 year old ‘Lord of the Forest.’ Further north is Cape Reinga – the light-house where the Pacific ocean and the Tasman sea meet – and is the place the ‘spirits’ in Maori legend depart to return to their ancestral home in Hawaiki.