Discover Bay of Islands Tour
5 days starting in Auckland
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information
Thrifty Tours

Discover Bay of Islands Tour

Embark on an epic 4 day adventure from Auckland to Paihia, exploring the best sights in the Bay of Islands. Begin with a cultural tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where you will learn about Aotearoa New Zealand's incredible history with a museum visit and performance.

Get an early night's sleep before your full day out to Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach. Watch the Tasman Sea and Pacific Island crash together at the northwesternmost tip of The Long White Cloud and discover the thrill of sandboarding.

Visit the Hole in the Rock and keep your eyes peeled for resident marine life including dolphins and whales. Complete this tour with a ferry and guided tour of Russell, a now tranquil seaside town full of eateries and art galleries.

Tour summary and feature

About this NZ Road Trip

Seat-in-Coach Touring

This suggested tour costs from NZD$1,610 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Auckland

5 days/4 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 32 times in the last 7 days

Also included in this package
- Paihia Accommodation to Waitangi Treaty Grounds
- Waitangi Treaty Grounds to Paihia Accommodation
4 breakfasts, 1 lunch
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Tour full itinerary
Detailed itinerary for this New Zealand Road Trip
Discover Bay of Islands Tour - Day 1
Auckland to Paihia by InterCity Coach

Heading north to the Bay of Islands takes you along the coast road past the seaside villages of Orewa and Waiwera. Then its on to the township of Puhoi, New Zealand's only Bohemian settlement, then Warkworth and the harbour side city of Whangarei and the unique township of Kawakawa. Arriving into the sub tropical Bay of Islands you are greeted with bush clad hillsides dropping to golden sand beaches. Paihia is the main tourist centre in the bay and has a great beach side atmosphere.

Paihia Accommodation to Waitangi Treaty Grounds with Haruru Cabs

You will be transferred from your accommodation in Paihia to Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds Guided Tour and Cultural Performance

Waitangi is one of New Zealand's most historic sites where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the local Maori and the British Government. This two day pass allows you access to the Treaty of Waitangi Grounds and includes admission to the Te Kōngahu Museum and Te Rau Aroha Museum and a Maori Cultural performance. During your guided tour, you'll learn about the history of the treaty and discover the stories and events that shaped New Zealand. The cultural performance inside the carved meeting house includes waiata (singing), poi, a display of Maori weaponry and the haka - a war dance New Zealand is well known for.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds to Paihia Accommodation with Haruru Cabs

You will be transferred from Waitangi Treaty Grounds to your accommodation in Paihia.

Your accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia - Junior Suites

The Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia is located on the waterfront only 100 metres from Paihia wharf and township. All rooms are air-conditioned and hotel facilities include restaurant, swimming pool, spa pool and sauna.

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Discover Bay of Islands Tour - Day 2
Cape Reinga & Ninety Mile Beach Full Day Tour with Fuller GreatSights - Lunch Included

Journey to the very tip of the North Island and uncover a region of rich Māori tradition along the way on an unforgettable full-day tour. Travel along the sand-swept shore of Ninety Mile Beach in our purpose-built coach and experience sandboarding (weather permitting). In Māori tradition, Cape Reinga or Te Rerenga Wairua is the place where spirits depart on their long journey back to the homeland. Stand at the northernmost point of New Zealand and drink in the panoramic views. As you stand beneath the iconic lighthouse, and watch the Tasman Sea and the mighty Pacific Ocean collide far below, you'll feel the power of this special place. Throughout the day your local driver guide will provide an entertaining and thought-provoking insight into the culture, history and natural wonders of the Far North. Your tour also includes a locally prepared lunch to keep you fuelled throughout the day.

Your accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia - Junior Suites

The Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia is located on the waterfront only 100 metres from Paihia wharf and township. All rooms are air-conditioned and hotel facilities include restaurant, swimming pool, spa pool and sauna.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

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Discover Bay of Islands Tour - Day 3
Hole in the Rock Cruise with Fullers GreatSights

Board your cruise and take in the stunning views as you glide out through the islands and along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse keeps watch over and Piercy Island/Motukōkako, or as it is popularly known as the Hole in the Rock. According to Māori legend, local warriors used to paddle through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof above were a good omen. If conditions permit, your skipper will expertly guide the ship through the narrow space. Keep an eye out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales, and other marine life during your cruise, and have your camera ready as you get up close to the action. Stop off at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island where you have time to relax, take a walk, have a swim, or enjoy a bite to eat and drink from the on-site fully licensed café. The purpose-built catamaran is licensed by DOC (the Department of Conservation) for dolphin viewing and the crew has years of experience locating dolphins in these waters. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Single Flight - Flying Kiwi Parasail

Enjoy amazing aerial views over Paihia, Russell and Opua in the Bay of Islands at 1200ft of towline. Suitable for the entire family, no physical restrictions or experience required. Take off and landings are very smooth from the back deck of the Parasail boat and a choice of single, tandem or triple flights are available. No getting wet-unless you want to just sit back, relax and enjoy.

Your accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia - Junior Suites

The Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia is located on the waterfront only 100 metres from Paihia wharf and township. All rooms are air-conditioned and hotel facilities include restaurant, swimming pool, spa pool and sauna.
Meals included: Breakfast

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Discover Bay of Islands Tour - Day 4
Russell Mini Tour with Fullers GreatSights

Known until the early 1840s as Kororāreka, Russell was the first town and sea port in New Zealand. The Bay of Islands offered a safe anchorage and by the 1830s Russell had become a lawless trading centre where whalers, seafarers and merchants mixed with adventurers, deserters and escaped convicts from Australia. Today the town once called the “Hell Hole of the Pacific” is a charming and tranquil spot. This intimate one-hour coach tour visits many of Russell’s iconic locations that make it so significant in New Zealand’s early history. Your tour will be led by an engaging guide whose combination of historical knowledge and local insight will bring the culture and history of the area to life.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Cool Change Sunset Sail Charter

Enjoy the private use of Cool Change, an awesome 54 ft sailing catamaran, for a day charter sailing adventure you will never forget. Your Cool Change Experience can start from any pre-arranged beach or jetty near your accommodation. Trips are generally 6 hours duration, but extra time can be arranged. A two hour stopover allows plenty of time to enjoy a delicious lunch and to participate in your preferred activities such as kayaking, swimming or exploring our local islands and beaches. The Stand Up Paddleboard (or SUP) is very popular too!

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Bay of Islands Snorkelling

Discover Northland's magical underwater world. During your memorable snorkelling trip, you will see an abundance of sealife and explore big archways in a well-established marine reserve. The main area for snorkelling is Deep Water Cove on the Cape Brett Peninsula, which is very well known for its clarity of water – even up to 20 metres at times. Many of the local tour boats don’t have the required power or range to explore these waters, but the vessel Pelorus Belle will get you there easily in an enjoyable journey. Take lots of photos, spot some native bird life, or just relax in the sunshine during your comfortable passage through the stunning scenery. Learn about the history and geology of the Islands and with the teams wealth of knowledge of all marine, bird and fish life of the area, you’ll get the best out of your trip.

Your accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia - Junior Suites

The Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia is located on the waterfront only 100 metres from Paihia wharf and township. All rooms are air-conditioned and hotel facilities include restaurant, swimming pool, spa pool and sauna.
Meals included: Breakfast

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Discover Bay of Islands Tour - Day 5
Paihia to Auckland by InterCity Coach

Leaving the magical Bay of Islands behind you head south on State Highway 1 back towards Auckland, the city of sails, the route takes you through Kawakawa, affectionately known as 'train town'. The farming regions of Wellsford and Warkworth accompany you the rest of the journey before passing through the suburbs of the North Shore and crossing the harbour bridge and into the heart of Auckland City.

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