"The Playground of the North" Top 5 Page for this destination Bay of Islands by Kakapo2

Bay of Islands Travel Guide: 105 reviews and 263 photos

Where History Meets the Sea

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.

  • Last visit to Bay of Islands: Jul 2006
  • Intro Written May 14, 2007
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Reviews (15)

Comments (4)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Feb 27, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    I guess if I get out your way one day, I would choose Russel for the adventure and scene of locals instead of Paihia and all those tourists. Either way, they both look good to me.

  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2010 at 3:52 AM

    A very enjoyable page on what is clearly a very scenic and historic area. Definitely an area we shall have to visit when in NZ.

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Aug 16, 2009 at 5:02 PM

    An excellentinformative page on Bay of Islands, Sissi. Richard now wants to spend Christmas in NZ. We will talk on Sunday.Looking forward to your visit. .....love to Kimi.

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Jun 20, 2007 at 5:37 AM

    Wow, let me be the first to congratulate you on a splendid effort.

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