The Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand’s most culturally significant regions.
With its significant Maori cultural artefacts, pristine beaches, myriad natural wonders, and great fishing spots, you won't want to miss this naturally beautiful getaway in New Zealand's North Island. Along with experiencing the stunning scenery (and weather) on our Bay of Islands tours and holidays, explore forests full of ancient kauri trees and clear blue lakes to marveling at mystical waterfalls and caves filled with glow worms. You can also visit the Waitangi Treaty grounds where the Treaty of Waitangi between Māori and the British Crown was signed in 1840. Some of the best Bay of Islands activities include canoeing, kayaking, and cruising through the Hole in the Rock, a natural rock formation created by wind and waves. For a more relaxing cruise, take a day trip to Poor Knights Islands where you can snorkel, swim, kayak or just sit back and relax on deck, watching the ‘fish cam’ to see what’s going on beneath the boat.
Our Bay of Islands Tours
Bay of Islands Highlights
Bay of Islands Tour Reviews
Bay of Islands FAQs
Trips on or before 31 December 2022
If your Intrepid trip starts on or before 31 December 2022, you must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional.
Children under 18 are exempt. Children aged between 5 and 17 years old must provide proof of either vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
The closest airport to the Bay of Islands is at Kerikeri which is 23 km from the Bay of Islands' major town of Paihia. Flights take 40 minutes from Auckland. Driving to the Bay of Islands from Auckland takes just over four hours. There are also regular InterCity bus services which take slightly longer as they pick up and drop off passengers along the way.
The best way to get around the Bay of Islands is either by car or joining a tour. While it is possible to explore the area using public transport, this can limit your options as it depends on the bus timetable. There are also car and passenger ferry services between towns such as Paihai and Russell.
Any time is a good time to visit the beautiful Bay of Islands. This scenic area can get delightfully warm in summer so don't be surprised if you find yourself walking around in shorts and a t-shirt. The weather can get crisp in winter but temperatures seldom drop below seven degrees Celcius. Autumn brings the colours of leaves changing from green to red and gold and spring is perfect for strolling and sailing.
Clothes you can layer work best if you're travelling around the Bay of Islands as it can be very warm in the middle of the day, even in winter. Add a jumper or jacket, wet weather gear, sunscreen, a hat and a beanie. Remember to pack a fleece if you're heading out on the water as it can get chilly on the boat, even in summer. Comfortable shoes are also a must for exploring this scenic area.
The Bay of Islands is a laid back destination so people tend to dress casually. Smart casual is considered 'dressy' at most restaurants.
The is good WiFi coverage throughout most of the Bay of Islands aside from a few rural areas and out on the water where the signal can be weak.
The is good mobile coverage throughout most of the Bay of Islands aside from a few rural areas and out on the water where the signal can be weak.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.