Add dates

Paihia Safaris & wildlife activities

Our most recommended Paihia Safaris & wildlife activities

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).

From Paihia: Bay of Islands Small Group Cruise & Island Tour

3. From Paihia: Bay of Islands Small Group Cruise & Island Tour

Discover the remote islands of the Bay of Islands on this guided cruise. Get to know the local flora and fauna, dive underneath the waves, snorkel alongside colorful fish, and try your hand at other fun water activities. Check-in 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 walk along the native bush to a breathtaking 360-degree lookout over the bay.  After the walk, explore the tidal lagoons before stepping back on board the boat and continuing your cruise along the Bay of Islands, keeping an eye out for wildlife. Then, stop at one of the bay’s 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 day your own, with the activities that interest you most. Finally, board the boat for the return scenic cruise back to Paihia.

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

4. 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: Island Hopper Day Sailing Cruise from Paihia

5. 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. 

Russell: Hole in the Rock Cruise & Island Stop

6. Russell: Hole in the Rock Cruise & Island Stop

Travel among the 144 remote islands of New Zealand's renowned Bay of Islands. Enjoy a guided boat tour departing from Russell or Paihia and discover some of the most unique sights of this natural destination. Admire the stunning Hole in the Rock and stop to explore one of the islands. Set sail and surround yourself with the imposing rocky scenery of the Bay of Islands. Keep an eye out for a variety of marine wildlife as you cruise along the coastline. Listen to interesting commentary from your tour guide as they relay the history of the area. Visit the original landing site of Captain James Cook on Roberton Island. Experience Cathedral Cave on Motukokako Island and the famous Hole in the Rock. If weather permits, you'll even sail through it. Up next, take in the awe-striking Cape Brett Peninsula and its lighthouse. Stop at one of the islands along the way. Take a short walk toward a lookout point and help feed the schools of fish in the Voluntary Marine Reserve.

From Paihia: Bayscapes Charters Sailing Day Trip with Lunch

7. From Paihia: Bayscapes Charters Sailing Day Trip with Lunch

Help out with the sails or just sit back and relax and take in the amazing scenery as you make your way out into the Bay of Islands on this cruise from Paihia. Enjoy a packed lunch with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options available (upon request). Hop aboard a comfortable sailing catamaran with plenty of space to soak up the sun on deck. Sail over turquoise waters and admire views of the Bay of Islands. Once anchored at a beach that is only accessible by boat, you can choose how to spend your two hour island excursion. Take a dinghy ride to the beach and have a picnic with the packed lunch, go for walk on the island, or explore the water with the included high-quality snorkeling and paddle boarding gear. Keep an eye out for local wildlife. With the option to purchase snacks and non alcoholic drinks onboard, or bring your own alcoholic drinks to sip while you glide over the water. Return to your starting point in Paihia at the end of your cruise.  Please note: This cruise requires a minimum of 4 passengers before your booking will be confirmed.

From Paihia: The Rock Adventure Overnight Cruise

8. 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.

The Rock Adventure Day Cruise

9. The Rock Adventure Day Cruise

You’ll get picked up at 7.45 am at the Paihia Wharf by sea shuttle which will take you on a smooth cruise to a remote and quiet bay where The Rock has been anchored overnight. After arrival and a quick safety brief haul anchor and get underway for an exploration of the islands. Go Kayaking, snorkelling, gathering fresh sea food, explore WWII remains, trek across islands enjoying stunning vantage points, and visit ancient Maori fortifications. If conditions allow, 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 volley ball. 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. Think you want more activities or want to stay on board The Rock longer? Then maybe The Rock Overnight Cruise is for you. Perhaps your time is a bit more limited but you still fancy sleeping aboard a boat? Then go on the Rock Bed & Breakfast Overnight Cruise.

Other Sightseeing Options in Paihia

Want to discover all there is to do in Paihia? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Paihia

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 26 reviews

Nice short tour, covers off the basic Bay of Islands. The walk to the top of the lookout takes you to breathtaking views of the Bay. Not much to see during snorkelling but SUP was fun. Lin and Gaby are very sweet hosts. Providing you with bits and pieces of information with an ever smiling face. Recommended for a short trip to the Bay.

No rain and calmer ocean meant we were able to go out to see The Hole in the Rock! In the last 10 minutes, we saw a pod of 10-12 dolphins! Absolutely fantastic morning!

It was an amazing experience with wonderful views! The crew is knowledgeable and fun. Would highly recommend!

Guides were very friendly and professional. Lunch was good. The island we went to was beautiful.

Great day out even though the weather wasn’t great. Still really enjoyable