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The Bay of Islands is a stunning sub-tropical region that consists of over 144 islands and is only a 3-hour drive from Auckland. Day and multiple-day tours will take you all around the region to discover the best sites. Ideal for fishing, sailing, swimming and walking, the various towns and islands all provide a unique touch of the northern New Zealand coastline.
Opua is often the first glimpse of the Bay of Islands you’ll catch if you’re travelling from Auckland. A quiet, subdued coastal town, the wharf and water is the centre of activity. Opua is popular for diving, snorkelling and coastal walks. The popular walk from Opua to Paihia covers 1.5km of the unique Northland environment, from beach to mangrove to colourful blossoms. A popular couple destination, boutique bed and breakfast's provide amazing coastal views and secluded serenity. Photo by John Benwell, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.
A bustling seaside town, Paihia is a perfect place to stay and explore the Northland region and go on day trips to other towns. Described as ‘The Jewel of the Bay of Islands’, you can go sailing, sea kayaking, fishing or picnicking along the gorgeous beaches. Many tour services operate to take you to historic Maori sites like Cape Reinga, the Hauru Falls and Tane Mahuta forest. Enjoy one of the many live music events or festivals held throughout the year.
Russell is an easy day-trip from Paihia by ferry. Food and music lovers will enjoy the atmosphere and attractions here, and the water is clear, clean, blue and serene. Hire a yacht, go swimming or walk to the famous flagpole to absorb the ultimate view. Beat the Summer and Winter crowds by visiting in Spring or Autumn.
Waitangi is historically significant to New Zealanders; it’s the site where New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was first signed between Maori and the British. Discover more about Waitangi’s historical past and the Maori culture by visiting the Treaty Grounds. Another stunning region of the Bay of Islands, Waitangi is a 30 minute walk from Paihia, and offers plenty of seaside activities.