You might want total relaxation during your stay, but there are many great activities available in the area. In this section, we list some ideas to help you fill your days.
Fullers GreatSights: Cream Trip - Day in The Bay
Take part in the Bay of Islands most famous cruise. The “Cream Trip" began in 1927 and remains a popular cruise with tourists today. You will have a full Day in the Bay including dolphin encounters and swimming ( additional fees apply), discovering the Hole in the Rock, delivering mail , boom netting , Island stopover for lunch and learning the history of the Bay of Islands through informative and interactive commentary.
Fullers GreatSights Dolphin Cruise to the Hole in the Rock
Cruise through the sheltered waters of the Bay of Islands on Dolphin Seeker, our purpose built dolphin and whale watching catamaran. Cruise past many of the 144 islands and take in the sights of the Hole in the Rock and the rich history and scenery that makes up the bay of Islands. Island stopover included as well as a bonus free ferry ticket to extend your day.
Fullers GreatSights Dolphin Eco Experience
Get up close to view and swim with Dolphins in their natural environment in New Zealand's warmest waters. Travel on our purpose built 35 seat intimate vessel with an experienced passionate crew which will get you as close as possible to these amazing creatures. Swim is included and wetsuit, snorkel and mask are supplied. Terms and conditions do apply.
Fullers GreatSights Hokianga day Tour including Tane Mahuta
Journey into a unique part of New Zealand, first discovered by Kupe the voyager. Visit the 2.8 million year old Wairere Boulders and the Waipoua Forest, and meet a national icon, the mighty kauri tree Tāne Mahuta on a full-day tour from Paihia. Enjoy a lunch stop at the picturesque Hokianga harbour.
Fullers GreatSights Cape Reinga Wanderer Day Tour
A visit to New Zealand is not complete without a journey to the very top of the North Island – Cape Reinga (Te Rerenga Wairua). Uncover the wild beauty of this vast and untouched region, rich in Maori culture and tradition, on a full-day return tour from Paihia or Kerikeri. Experience the thrill of driving along 90 mile beach and sand boarding on the giant dunes.
Great value Tour Combo Deals
Hole in the Rock + Cape Reinga + Russell Passenger Ferry
Explore the Bay by land and sea over two days, with a dolphin watching cruise and a trip to New Zealand’s northernmost point, Cape Reinga. Choose either a half-day Hole in the Rock cruise and explore the Bay in search of dolphins while visiting its highlights.
Dolphin Eco + Cape Reinga + Russell Passenger Ferry
You’ll get the full Bay of Islands experience with this combo. On your Dolphin Eco Experience cruise, slip into New Zealand’s warmest waters and go swimming with dolphins in their natural environment.
Then take a trip into New Zealand’s Far North and visit Cape Reinga, the northernmost point of New Zealand. In Māori legend, this is the place where spirits depart for the underworld. Along the way, drive along the sands of Ninety Mile Beach, see ancient kauri trees and surf down giant sand dunes on a boogie board. Your combo also includes a ferry ride between Paihia and Russell so you can explore this historic township.
Please note Dolphin Eco Experience is not available between April - October; swimming with dolphins is available as an optional extra on the Hole in the Rock cruise during this period.
The Beginnings - The Cream Trip + Cape Reinga + Russell Passenger Ferry
Northland is known as the ‘birthplace of New Zealand’ – take a trip through history with this combo. Start with a full day Bay of Islands cruise, following the route of the original Cream Trip, which sparked the beginning of tourism in the region. Spend the day on the water, try boom-netting, swim with dolphins (optional extra) and enjoy an island stopover.
Then visit the Far North and discover Cape Reinga, a place steeped in Māori tradition and the northernmost point of New Zealand. Journey through ancient forest, along famous Ninety Mile Beach and even along a stream, where you can try sand-surfing down huge dunes!
Your combo also includes a ferry trip to Russell, a charming seaside village with a dark history just waiting to be discovered.
Go Sailing on a Tall Ship
Come sailing in the Bay of Islands! Regardless of age or ability the R.Tucker Thompson has created memories and friends for thousands of travelers. Our tourism sailings run from November until Easter, providing the chance for visitors to experience a working tall ship.
You don’t often get the opportunity to sail on a working tall ship, help set the sails or take the helm. But on the Tucker, you are welcome! We have harnesses if you want the challenge of climbing the rigging or climb out on the bowsprit and ride the waves. If you you’d like to relax, that’s fine too – enjoy the delicious food and chat with our friendly crew.Profits made from tourism activities help us keep the ship in good condition as well as support our youth sail training programmes. We may not be the cheapest day tourism product in the Bay, but we think you’ll agree that it is good value… plus you are supporting a good cause! Click on the button below to book online.
Adult: NZ$145, Child NZ$72.50, includes morning tea, lunch and ferry transfer; infants under 5 go free (no meals included).
Key features of the day:
- Plenty of room to relax
- Freshly baked scones and cream tea from our galley
- Chance to take the helm, hoist the sails or climb the rigging
- Lunch time swim and island stopover in sheltered bay
- Delicious BBQ lunch served on board
- Share stories with our friendly crew
- Enjoy the majesty of tall ship sailing in the Bay of Islands
Departs Paihia via ferry at 09.30 am/Russell wharf at 10.00 am sharp.
Returns Russell wharf at 3.30 pm/ Paihia via ferry at 4.00 pm.
NB: There are regular ferries every 20 minutes or so between the two towns and the price of the ferry is included in your ticket.
If you don’t have time for a full day sail, then try the Late Afternoon Sailing for 2 hours instead!!
- Destination Wedding Packages and Wedding Planner: +64 9 402 7815
Just a few ideas and links:
- Fishing: Grand Cru Charters, Earl Grey Fishing
- Golf at Waitangi or Kauri Cliffs or Kerikeri Golf courses
- Horse riding:
- Sky diving
- Scenic flights by helicopter: Saltair
- Sailing & Kayaking & Biking
- Action World Paihia
- Paihia Paintball
Historic sites and culture
- Waitangi Treaty Grounds
- Mission Kemp House and Stone Store in Kerikeri
- Te Waimate Mission at Waimate North
- Russell township with its old buildings and ambiance
- By boat: Perfect Day Ocean Cruise for non-diving experience with snorkelling, kayaking, swimming.
- Kerikeri: weekend markets, wine tasting at local vineyards, parrot place, Makana chocolate factory and tasting, Rainbow Falls walks, Puketi Forest with kauri trees and first European settlement at Marsden Cross
- Russell: mini tour, flagstaff hill, long beach, best fish & chips, Pompallier Mission, Russell Museum and oldest church
- By foot:
Some of the many great restaurants to choose from include:
Dining in Paihia
- Only Seafood
- Bay of Islands Swordfish Club
- Paihia Beach Resort and Spa Hotel
- Copthorne Bay of Islands
- Darryl's Dinner Cruise
- Alfresco's Restaurant and Bar
- Waterfront Restaurant and Bar
- Green’s Thai and Indian Restaurant at waterfront
- Hansen’s café at Wharf building
- King Wah Restaurant
Dining in Russell
- The Duke of Marlborough Hotel
- The Gables Restaurant
- Sally's Restaurant
- The Wharf Restaurant and Bay
- Tuk Tuk Bangkok Thai restaurant in York Street
Dining in Kerikeri
- Food at Wharepuke
- The Pear Tree
- Akeake Vineyard Restaurant
- Marsden Estate Winery and Restaurant
- The Black Olive Restaurant and Bar
- The Italians Restaurant
- CC's Cafe Cinema
Dining in Whangarei
- A Deco Restaurant
- Town Basin for restaurants and galleries
- Killer Prawn
- Thai restaurants and many more!
Or relax and watch a movie at Cathay Cinemas in Kerikeri, 27 Hobson Avenue, fully air conditioned - ph. 09-407 4428 - next to Café Cinema, where you can also enjoy cinema meal (bookings phone 09-407 9121).
Whatever you do, you will have the best holiday in our beautiful Bay of Islands!
Check out these tours with the other main tour operator Explore! Just click on the link to book their tours.
Explore: Discover the Bay
The signature cruise of the Bay! Enjoy traveling on a cruise with reduced numbers which allows for better dolphin viewing, better photograph opportunities and of course comfort to move around. The tour includes an extended island stop where Explore customers get to enjoy 100% access to island facilities (Restaurant, Kayaks, SUP’s Conservation Centre, etc.). We also include a BBQ lunch in the tour, we have lots of viewing decks and complimentary free tickets should you wish to hope off at Russell at the end of the cruise.
Explore: Dune Rider
Explore a full day tour in our uniquely designed luxury Dune Rider vehicles.
The most comfortable way to see the Far Norths local cultures, historic areas, and ever changing landscapes.
Enjoy a buffet lunch at WaiTiki. Visit Cape Reinga where the top of New Zealand meets the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
Travel down the Patiki Stream, visit the giant sand dunes with the sandboarding experience! This is fun for all and comes with many great laughs. Enjoy traveling down 90-mile beach with a stop to dip your feet into the waters of the Tasman Sea, keep an eye out for the wild horses of Aupouri Forest running alongside the beach. Visit the Ancient Kauri Kingdom and climb the stair case carved inside a 45,000-year-old swamp kauri to the art gallery upstairs. Finally, enjoy fresh fish and chips at Mangonui’s world famous fish & chip shop (own cost).
Explore: Dolphin Discovery
Discovery 3 is a purpose built dolphin experience cruise. The cruise is 4 hours dedicated to showing you the natural beauty of the islands and searching for marine mammals (Whales, Orca & Dolphins). Our guides are trained in identifying the dolphins who frequent the bay often. Should conditions and laws permit, our crew will endeavour to allow you the chance to meet these playful intelligent mammals in their natural environment. (Only available from Oct-Apr after which this tour is combined with Discover the Bay May-Sept)
Explore Twin Tours
Traveling on more than one of our tours? Get great discounts with savings of up to $65.00.
Twin Tour #1
Discover the Bay + Dune Rider + Free Ferry Ticket (collected on-board).
Twin Tour #2
Dolphin Discovery + Dune Rider + Free Ferry Ticket(collected on-board).
Explore: Hole in the Rock Experience
Enjoy traveling out through the islands to the Hole in the Rock, should conditions permit you may travel through the hole. Enjoy commentary from your experienced captain and crew on the local flora and fauna. This cruise also allows you the option to stay on the Urupukapuka Island and explore the wildlife and beauty of these protected islands. Just let the crew know once you have departed the wharf or in the notes of your booking. This tour is great for families, those traveling on a budget and those on limited time in the Bay of Islands.