Bay of Islands
Boats & Yachts

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Our most recommended Bay of Islands Boats & Yachts

From Paihia or Russell: Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

1. From Paihia or Russell: Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

Embark on a catamaran tour of the Bay of Islands from Paihia or Russell. Enjoy insightful commentary as you visit famous sights, including the "Hole in the Rock" and make a stop at Urupukapuka Island. Board your vessel in Paihia or Russell and glide out through the islands. Cruise along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse watches over the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’.  The natural sculpture, one of New Zealand's most popular attractions, was created from centuries of sea and wind erosion. According to Maori legend, local warriors paddled through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof were a good omen. Take in the Grand Cathedral Cave before heading back into the bay. Keep an eye out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales, and other marine life.  Cruise in comfort aboard the Dolphin Seeker with indoor and outdoor seating and the Bay of Island's largest outdoor viewing decks. Treat yourself to snacks and a licensed bar on board, or enjoy the Otehei Bar Café and Bar on Urupukapuka Island.

Bay of Islands: Bay Discovery Cruise with Island Stop-Over

2. Bay of Islands: Bay Discovery Cruise with Island Stop-Over

Set off on a scenic 4.5 to 5-hour cruise to discover the very best of the Bay of Islands. Experience the spectacular scenery and encounter diverse wildlife in an area soaked in rich culture and history. Board the black and yellow power cat at Paihia Wharf and be welcomed aboard by the friendly crew. Your crew will deliver a full safety briefing and overview of the trip. Cruise among the 144 islands and enjoy entertaining live commentary from your local knowledgeable skipper. Visit the iconic Hole in the Rock and when conditions permit, you can even travel through it. Spot local wildlife including dolphins, birds, seals and even the occasional whale with a success rate of over 90%. Your trip will also include a 1.5-hour island stop at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island. Enjoy free time to explore the island. If you wish, you can hire kayaks, or paddleboards (available during summer only) or just relax on the beach. You can also choose to extend your stay on the island and return on a later ferry (only available during summer).

Bay of Islands: 5-Hour Day Cruise and Island Getaway Tour

3. Bay of Islands: 5-Hour Day Cruise and Island Getaway Tour

Escape the crowds and experience the Bay of Islands on a personalised, small-group, interactive boat cruise. Combine the best activities of the Bay of Islands with interactive and informative commentary for an amazing day excursion. Stop at Roberton Island and disembark for a 10-minute walk along a native bush trail. At the end of the trail discover a breathtaking 360-degree viewpoint over the bay. Enjoy a complimentary beachside morning tea provided by the crew and have the opportunity to explore the tidal lagoons. Climb back on board and continue cruising among the 144 islands of the Bay keeping a lookout for marine wildlife and unique shorebirds. Your second island stop takes you to one of the Bay of Islands’ most secluded and unfrequented bays. Snorkel and explore the underwater reefs, take a walk along the island trail and try stand-up paddleboarding. Relax on the beach or jump in the water for a swim, do as much or as little as you want.

Bay of Islands Small Group Afternoon Cruise & Island Tour

4. Bay of Islands Small Group Afternoon Cruise & Island Tour

Check-in at the Salt Air Office at 3.20 PM, before setting off along the sheltered coastline for a scenic cruise. Stop off at Roberton Island (also known as Twin Lagoons) for a 10-minute native bush walk to a breathtaking 360-degree lookout over the bay. After the walk, explore the tidal lagoons before climbing back on board. Cruise among the stunning islands of the Bay, keeping an eye out for wildlife.  Then, stopover at one of the Bay of Islands’ most secluded and unfrequented bays to try some new activities. Snorkel and explore the underwater reefs, stroll on an island trail, give stand-up paddle-boarding a try, relax on the beach or jump in the water for a swim. Make the afternoon your own with the activities that interest you most. Finally, board the boat for the return scenic cruise back to Paihia, arriving at 6:30 PM.

3 Hour - Hole in the Rock Cruise with Island Stopover

5. 3 Hour - Hole in the Rock Cruise with Island Stopover

Departing from Paihia or Russell, join us on a small group cruise through the Bay of Islands. Keep an eye out for Marine Wildlife as we cruise along the coastline making our way out into the islands. Listen to commentary from your tour guide as they relay the history of the area, and visit the landing site of Captain James Cook on Roberton Island. Experience Cathedral Cave on Motukokako Island and the Hole in the Rock - if weather permits, we will even CRUISE THROUGH the Hole in the Rock! Take in the scenery of the stunning Cape Brett Peninsular and Lighthouse Enjoy a stopover on one of the 144 Remote Islands in the Bay of Islands, take a short walk to one of the island lookout points, and help feed the schools of fish in the Voluntary Marine Reserve.

Bay of Islands: Full-Day Tall Ship Sailing Excursion

6. Bay of Islands: Full-Day Tall Ship Sailing Excursion

Catch the breeze and set sail for the day on board the unique tall ship R. Tucker Thompson, built in the tradition of 100-year-old schooners by local Northlanders. She has sailed the world, but today explores the somewhat calmer seas of the Bay of Islands. The design of the tall ship is based on the Halibut schooners of the north-west coast of America, which were considered fast and easily manned. She has the look of a working ship of the 18th century, purposeful and square-shouldered, but with a touch of style and speed. The day out can be an interactive experience, so help set the sails, ride on the bowsprit, or climb the rigging. If you prefer, you can relax while the crew does the work. The crew will share stories about the ship, the Bay of Islands and involve you as much or as little as you want. You’ll enjoy the Devonshire cream tea freshly baked in the galley each morning. The ship is spacious and comfortable and the friendly crew makes this a personal experience, suitable for people of all ages. At lunchtime the vessel anchors in a secluded bay. Step ashore, take a swim, or try swinging from the yardarm. With all this sea air and activity you'll have a hearty appetite that will be well taken care of by a tasty BBQ lunch cooked on board. After lunch the ship will head back to the historic village of Russell. The ship is operated as a not-for-profit charitable trust with profits from day sail activities being used to support youth sail training programs over the New Zealand winter. Operating for over 25 years, the ship is Qualmark-approved with a Gold environmental rating.

Bay of Islands: Awesome Day Sailing Tour with Island Stop

7. Bay of Islands: Awesome Day Sailing Tour with Island Stop

On boarding this ocean going yacht in Paihia guests are greeted with a safety briefing and invited to join in sailing as participants or simply relax and enjoy. On the journey, guests are treated to fresh fruit and vegetable snacks. See the various and beautiful land formations, ancient lava flows and numerous wave swept caves.  Spot penguins and other marine life in playful groups as the yacht sails along. Upon arrival at the island stopover, guests are invited to swim ashore with snorkel gear, if wished. Those wishing to stay dry are transferred ashore. While on the island travelers may choose to go on a walk, comb the beach, snorkel or a combination of all.  After exploring, enjoy a fresh sandwich lunch provided on board (vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan options available) before heading back to land.

Bay of Islands 2-Hour Sundowner Evening Sailing Cruise

8. Bay of Islands 2-Hour Sundowner Evening Sailing Cruise

Embark on a unique evening sailing cruise in the Bay of Islands. Experience the Kiwi barefoot culture for yourself as you step straight from Paihia's beachfront at 5:00 PM onto a modern catamaran. Get out on the water and watch the sun going down - the perfect start to a relaxed night out with friends and family or a romantic getaway. Enjoy a relaxed sail aboard a smooth catamaran as you take in the idyllic Bay of Islands in the early evening. Sail the inner bays of the Paihia, Opua, Russell, and Waitangi. Experience the landscape from a different perspective on the water. Soak in the views as you cruise alongside the water's edge and meander through peaceful anchorages, catching a glimpse of prime real estate perched on the hilltops. An optional swim in a peaceful anchorage is on the agenda and a complimentary drink is included. Cruise returns to Paihia around 7:00 PM, just in time for dinner.

Bay of Islands: Late Afternoon Sailing Cruise

9. Bay of Islands: Late Afternoon Sailing Cruise

Board Northland’s iconic tall ship the R. Tucker Thompson for a 2-hour sail on the inner bay. Get involved and help hoist the sails or sit back and relax as you pass around a shared antipasto platter. Enjoy a drink from the cash bar and experience the beauty of a traditionally rigged vessel under sail. Ferry tickets to Russell are included in the tour price, so why not head over early and spend an afternoon exploring the historic village or dine in one of the many excellent restaurants after your sail. The ship is operated as a not-for-profit charitable trust with proceeds from sailing activities used to support youth sail training programs over the New Zealand winter.

From Paihia: The Rock Adventure Overnight Cruise

10. From Paihia: The Rock Adventure Overnight Cruise

The only overnight cruise in the Bay of Islands, offering snorkeling, kayaking, island walks and the opportunity to catch or collect seafood. Come aboard The Rock for a truly unique experience - with a homely atmosphere, a warm welcome from our crew and a variety of awesome activities to keep you entertained and immersed in this amazing part of the world. Departing from Paihia Wharf, this is the best way to spend 22 hours in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Day 1 Start: 5:00 PM, END: up to you Departs at 5 pm, grab a drink and enjoy a 2-3hr cruise out to the islands. Give the target shooting a go as we cruise. Once on anchor in a sheltered bay, we’ll do a spot of dusk fishing. A healthy snapper baked on the barbecue is a welcome addition to an already delicious buffet dinner (subject to guest’s fishing ability, of course!).  Later you can choose to go night kayaking to marvel in the phosphorescence (some call it “fairy dust”) and lie back for a star-gazing session - your guide will point out the major constellations, planets and galaxies. If you’re still up for action, you can jump in the sea for a night swim before settling in for a drink by the fire. Day 2 Start: 8:00 AM, END: 3:00 PM Sunrise at sea is spectacular – you can watch it from your bed if you’re not an early bird! The breakfast bell goes at 8 am. We serve a traditional kiwi breakfast and then haul anchor and get underway for an exploration of the islands. If you’re up early enough, you might even get a chance for a quick wake-up swim with the crew. Kayaking, snorkelling, gathering fresh seafood, exploring WWII remains, trekking across islands enjoying stunning vantage points and visiting ancient Maori fortifications. If conditions allow, we’ll gather mussels from the kelp-covered outer reefs to enjoy on the way home (along with the unique experience of eating sea urchins raw if you’re brave enough). You will have time to enjoy the remote beaches - perfect for a game of beach cricket or volleyball. On the homeward cruise, enjoy those mussels, freshly steamed, and watch out for the abundant marine and bird life…hopefully you’ll even see dolphins! Arrive back at Paihia wharf at approximately 3 pm.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Bay of Islands

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What people are saying about Bay of Islands

Great experience staff were welcoming and attentive to the needs of their passengers. The captain was great, his commentary was delivered with humor. I felt very safe as the captain would direct us as to where to sit what to do for our safety an comfort.

Booked this trip on my own while in the Bay of Islands. Great trip to see the Hole in the rock, and plenty of time to explore the islands. Boat was comfortable and the guides were really informative!

It was the best trip. Had everything. Great weather. Good commentary. Hole in the rock. And many dolphins

Great trip. Highly recommended. Gd commentary and cafe on island

Perfect day and we saw Killer Whales so a priceless trip!