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The small townships of the Bay of Islands are steeped in colonial history, and set against a patchwork of gently rolling farmland and ancient forests of venerable kauri trees.

For most, however, it is the coast that is the highlight. The 144 islands are scattered in the clear Pacific waters, which are abundant with marine wildlife. In the countless secluded bays, seals, dolphins and whales are often sighted.

Exploring the Bay of Islands

Take to the water to fully appreciate the area’s natural beauty, either on a Cape Brett and ‘Hole in the Rock’ cruise from Paihia, or sail out on board the ‘R. Tucker Thompson’, built in the style of a 100-year-old schooner. Highlights include swimming with dolphins, or game-fishing for some of the world’s largest marlin, tuna and shark.


The area is also well-known for its diving; a string of wrecks along the coastline from Tutukaka in the south to Matauri Bay in the north has created a refuge for marine life, and the clear and protected waters of Deep Water Cove offer consistently good diving conditions throughout the year.

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Places to visit in Bay of Islands

Featuring heavily on our experiences of visiting Bay of Islands, these selected places are destinations that also prove consistently popular with our travelers. Our specialists can help you choose how to include them in your wider trip, based on your preferences.

Suggested itineraries featuring Bay of Islands

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Bay of Islands, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Bay of Islands

Places & hotels on the map

    Places in and around Bay of Islands

    Accommodation choices for Bay of Islands

    We've selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Bay of Islands. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.