"The Playground of the North" Top 5 Page for this destination Bay of Islands by Kakapo2
Bay of Islands Travel Guide: 115 reviews and 293 photos
The Bay of Islands is one of the main tourist destinations in New Zealand. When you are there you know why. The magnificent coast with its 144 islands dotted on the crystal-blue waters has a wild-romantic touch.
It might not be more spectacular than other coastal areas of Northland, like Whangaroa Harbour, but it is unique because the waters of the three bays are shallow, and it is extremely easy to get out to the sea and navigate between the islands.
Also the Bay of Islands is the most important place of history. Once the Maori arrived there when the Polynesian explorer Kupe visited in his canoe, later European settlement started there. It is the birthplace of the nation, with the signature of the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840. The first capital, Russell, is just across the harbour. New Zealand's oldest houses are in Kerikeri.
It is a region with mild climate and orchards, and of fun. Big game fishing, boat tours, dolphin watching and swimming with dolphins. And it is a centre of art - with the most famous example of the Hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa.
Paihia is the centre of action - most other little towns are nicer.
Thanks to its mild climate Kerikeri is the citrus fruit centre of the country but also a lot of other fruit and... more travel advice
Long Beach is much more suitable for swimming than Russell's town beach. It is on the other side of the peninsula. From... more travel advice
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