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.
who's been there
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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 travellers. 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.
Cultural New Zealand self-drive tourNew ZealandView this tour
New Zealand's wildlife self-drive tourNew ZealandView this tour
Ultimate luxury tour of New ZealandNew ZealandView this tour
Map of Bay of Islands
Places & hotels on the map
Places in and around Bay of Islands
- Kerikeri Bay of Islands
- Matauri Bay Bay of Islands
- Paihia Bay of Islands
- Russell Bay of Islands
- The Kauri Coast 52 miles away
- 90 Mile Beach & Cape Reinga 74 miles away
- Warkworth 89 miles away
- Great Barrier Island 100 miles away
- Devonport 119 miles away
- Auckland 120 miles away
- Waiheke Island 122 miles away
- Coromandel Peninsula 150 miles away
- Waikato 156 miles away
- Thames & Kauaeranga Valley 156 miles away
- Tauranga 206 miles away
- Bay of Plenty 217 miles away
- Waitomo 220 miles away
- Rotorua 235 miles away
- Lake Taupo 265 miles away
- Taranaki & New Plymouth 268 miles away
- North Island 279 miles away
- Tongariro National Park 291 miles away
Photos of 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.
The Lodge at Kauri CliffsMatauri Bay
Decks of PaihiaPaihia
Sanctuary at the Bay of IslandsBay of Islands