The Best of the Bay of Islands Region

The Bay of Islands region is simply spectacular. 

Located in the North Island of New Zealand, the Bay of Islands is home to some incredible scenery, activities, and so much more, with white-sand coves, an expansive bright blue ocean, and plenty of forested canopies throughout. 

Whether you’re here for a relaxing break, or you want to see all that this region has to offer, you’ll likely want to know all about this region before you head here. This blog will be about the best of the Bay of Islands Region, so read ahead for all you need to know!

Head to the Bay of Islands Maritime Park

The Bay of Islands Maritime Park is one of the main reasons people flock to this region for their holidays. Particularly in summer, when the sun beams down on the turquoise blue waters, this area of New Zealand is incredibly beautiful. It stretches across 144 islands, and the marina park itself is home to a plethora of dolphins and whales, all of whom call this underwater playground their home. There are plenty of ways for you to enjoy the park itself, from boat tours through the marina, or kayaking across the calm waters. You can even stop for a swim or two in the harbour when the days are warm and the water is clear. For a scenic boat cruise, head to Russell or Paihia, the two main towns in the region, for a loop cruise across some of the main standout parts of the marina. 


If you are visiting the Bay of Islands Region, you will likely stay in either Paihia or Russell. Paihia is the main base town of the Bay of Islands, with many amenities and fun trip offerings throughout. It’s here where you’ll board boat cruises, kayak tours, horseriding sessions, and so much more. There are plenty of places to relax, eat great food, and sip a coffee as you stroll through the main town. There are also hiking trails throughout, but get up early and hit these trails before it gets too hot, as they can be hard work! Paihia is also close to another big highlight of the Bay of Islands, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

The Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Ever wondered where the most significant treaty of New Zealand was signed? Well, if you hadn’t before, you will now! The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are an important historical site, as it is where the modern nation of New Zealand began. Signed in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi is known historically as the founding document of the country, where it was signed by the chiefs of the Maōri people and the British crown. Head here to learn about a significant period in history, as well as a lot more about the Maōri people and how this treaty came to be and what it meant for the people at the time. 

Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga is the northernmost tip of New Zealand and a must-do for people visiting the Bay of Islands. Marvel out at the ocean and see where the Tasman meets the Pacific, before learning about the Maōri legend of the Pohutukawa Tree. Cape Reinga is a place of deep spiritual significance for the Maōri people, so make sure to listen, learn, and be respectful while you’re here; the tales and stories that you can learn about are deeply fascinating. On the way to Cape Reinga, it’s likely you’ll embark on one of the best road trips in New Zealand across the 90-mile beach. Cruise along in the sand on this designated highway and have fun as you journey north. 

Waipoua Forest

Head to Waipoua Forest to see some of New Zealand’s most famous collections of Kauri trees. Witness the famous Lord of the Forest, the Tane Mahuta Kauri, which is 47 metres high and over 2,000 years old. It’s extremely impressive and a definite must-do while you’re in this region. Walk amongst the trees and experience their sheer height as they tower above you. 

The Bay of Islands Region is deeply beautiful and also hugely important in terms of historical significance. Home to the birthplace of modern-day New Zealand, there are some deeply significant landmarks throughout the area. Have a fantastic time when you visit and remember that if you need transport to get from place to place, a Thrifty rental will be a perfect road trip companion!

To explore the Bay of Islands region, hire a car from Kerikeri Airport today!

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