Bay of Islands
Tours

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Our most recommended Bay of Islands Tours

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.

Paihia: Bay of Islands Trike Tour Experience

4. Paihia: Bay of Islands Trike Tour Experience

On the scenic tour, you'll climb aboard your trike, buckle up, and settle in for one of the most exciting tours of your life. Venture out onto the open road, take a short burst out to the half moon-shaped Haruru Falls, and then continue back to Waitangi Lookout. Capture the breathtaking, 360-degree views of the Bay of Islands on your camera, plus get your picture taken behind the handlebars of the big beast.  The thriller tour includes an action-packed, 30-minute tour on the V2 Chek Trike. Zip off to the picturesque Opua and return with photos and even more adrenaline-pumping thrills as you cruise down this awesome, winding coastal road. The combo tour includes a one-hour tour around the scenic Bay of Islands. Visit the beautiful Haruru Falls before continuing to Waitangi Lookout for breathtaking views. Wind your way through the hills of the idyllic Opua before a thrilling ride back to Paihia. This option works as combination of the first two and is the best choice for adrenaline-seekers.

Bay of Islands Small Group Afternoon Cruise & Island Tour

5. 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.

Bay of Islands: Island Hopper Day Sailing Cruise from Paihia

6. Bay of Islands: Island Hopper Day Sailing Cruise from Paihia

Embark on a magical day sailing adventure in the Bay of Islands. Experience the Kiwi barefoot culture for yourself as you step straight from Paihia's beachfront onto a modern catamaran.  Set sail through the bay's 144 islands to a remote island stopover aboard Kopiko, a 33-foot performance catamaran built for speed, comfort, and style. Lend the friendly crew a hand with sailing the boat, or spread out with plenty of deck space where you can grab a bean bag and chalk up some leisure time. Discover a wealth of wildlife from seabirds, stingrays, seals, penguins, to dolphins.  Arrive in a stunning bay, where you'll anchor close to the beach. Step off onto the island and enjoy a delicious packed lunch at a stunning picnic spot of your choice. Enjoy short walking trails, picturesque views, snorkeling, paddleboarding, swimming, or digging your toes into the sand. After your island adventures, set sail and watch the wind fill the sails as you relax on the return trip. 

3 Hour - Hole in the Rock Cruise with Island Stopover

7. 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.

Fly to Cape Reinga: Scenic Flights & 2.5-Hour Guided Tour

8. Fly to Cape Reinga: Scenic Flights & 2.5-Hour Guided Tour

Explore the rugged Northland beauty of Cape Reinga, located at the top end of New Zealand, on a half-day tour from Paihia. Combine scenic return airplane flights and a driving tour with plenty of stops to make the most of your visit to this remote North Island region.  After pick-up from your hotel, fly above stunning oceanic landscapes, including spectacular harbors and beaches on a 45-minute scenic flight to Cape Reinga. From Ninety Mile Beach, fly inland to an airfield located only 20-kilometers from the Cape Reinga lighthouse. Upon landing, set off for a 2.5-hour guided driving tour with an experienced guide. Arrive at the Cape Reinga Lighthouse after a 20-minute drive and see where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. Your local guide will accompany you on a walk to the lighthouse, sharing the myths and legends of this very spiritual area.  Enjoy fresh oven-baked treats for morning tea, and then rejoin the vehicle for a short drive to Tapotupotu Bay where you can go for a swim. After a stroll on the beach or a swim, finish with a stop at the Te Paki quicksand stream where you can try to surf down giant sand dunes. On the return 1-hour flight, soar over more spectacular coastal scenery. Fly above Great Exhibition Bay’s pure white silica sand and crystal clear water - one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. The tour concludes with hotel drop-off in Paihia.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds 2-Day Pass

9. Waitangi Treaty Grounds 2-Day Pass

Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, New Zealand’s premier historic site, with a 2-day pass. Valid for two consecutive days, your pass includes an informative 50-minute guided tour, introductory film, and 30-minute cultural performance. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are where New Zealand’s most significant document was signed. Watch an introductory film about the Treaty of Waitangi. Embark on a 50-minute tour with a local guide, with headsets provided so that you can hear clearly. Stroll through the beautiful grounds and admire panoramic views of the Bay of Islands. See the world’s largest ceremonial war canoe, and stand in the spot where the treaty was signed. Visit the Museum of Waitangi Te Kongahu to see permanent and changing exhibits, and explore the educational center. Make use of multimedia and visual displays as you admire taonga (treasures). Enjoy a 30-minute cultural performance at the magnificently carved meeting house. Te Pitowhenua, a performing arts group, will invite you inside with a traditional Maori powhiri (welcome). Poi twirling, Maori weaponry, stick games, heavenly harmonies, and a traditional haka dance will leave you spellbound.

Bay of Islands: Full-Day Tall Ship Sailing Excursion

10. 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.

Frequently asked questions about Bay of Islands Tours

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What people are saying about Bay of Islands

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 87 reviews

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!