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The Bay of Islands is a subtropical archipelago of 144 islands on the north east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Its unique coastal environment is home to huge variety of flora and fauna.
The southern peninsula, Cape Brett, cups the Bay and creates an nutrient rich, sheltered habitat. The marine life includes regular visits from the larger marine mammals – dolphin, orca and even seals, humpback whales and southern right whales at certain times of the year.
There are a few ways to explore and enjoy the magnificent flora and fauna in the region; island camping and walking, day sailing and boat trips through the islands – a half-day dolphin cruise is a classic way to see the Bay. But without doubt the best way to experience nature up here is on an overnight cruise – dusk and dawn brings out the true beauty of our marine environment.
There are conservation projects throughout the bay, including a highly successful bid to bring back the birds to Urupukapuka Islands, Project Island Song. Meanwhile Fish Forever is campaigning for marine reserves in the Bay. There are also commercially recognised resting areas for the marine mammals so that they don't get exhausted by motor boats all day.
To find out more about the conservation status of the Bay of Islands, there is a wealth of information for visitor on the Department of Conservation website. To explore some of the options for how to get the most from the region's nature during your stay, we've put together a suggested itinerary: What shall we do if we're into nature?
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