The Bay of Islands | Visit Bay of Islands

The picturesque Bay of Islands are one of the of New Zealand's best-loved tourist destinations, offering breathtaking scenery and adventure opportunities.

With more than 140 individual islands, each with its own feel and unique attractions, the Bay of Islands are a favourite with locals and visitors from across the globe. Featuring opportunities for everything from exciting adventure tourism to relaxing holiday resort vacations – there is no shortage of great Bay of Island’s activities to appeal to any visitor.

History & Culture

When you visit Bay of Islands, you’re visiting a place of special cultural and historic significance for New Zealand. Some of the earliest European settlers to land in New Zealand arrived in Waitangi, and it is also the place where the relationship between the British Crown and many North Island Maori tribes was first ratified. The Treaty of Waitangi, signed here on the 6th of February, 1840, established a British Governor of New Zealand and granted Maori the rights of British subjects.

The signing of the treaty is commemorated every year at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds just outside of Paihia. With the Bay of Islands rich cultural heritage, there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to learn about New Zealand and to experience this history up close. With historical sites, museums and natural spaces, the Bay of Islands is the perfect for a family adventure.

Attractions and Activities

With a huge range of thrilling activities on offer, visitors to the Bay of Islands will never run out of great things to experience.  While staying in the Bay of Islands you can explore vast stretches of untouched wilderness that are populated by native species of plants and animals, and of course, it is also a great place to enjoy a range water activities. Go on Bay of Island’s dolphin spotting cruise, experience some of the world’s best big-game fishing or get in the water for some snorkeling of a scenic kayaking expedition. With its stunning beaches and large stretches of conservation land, the Bay of Islands is renowned for its natural beauty and adventure. Explore it on your own or take advantage of some of the organized tours that can guide you to many of the best attractions.


Being a popular tourist destination for visitors from New Zealand and abroad, the Bay of Islands features accommodation to suit the needs of any traveler. Enjoy the historic charm and atmosphere of the Duke of Marlborough Hotel in Russell, indulge at the 5-star Eagles Nest luxury retreat or stay in one of the beach front rooms of the Copthorne Hotel and Resort.  Nestled into its own bay just outside of Paihia, the Beachside Holiday Park in Paihia is a campsite with unmatched views and a range of cabin or motel units available for those not wanting to tent. Whether you’re looking for simple place to stay or want to treat yourself to a luxury weekend getaway, the Bay of Island’s has the right accommodation for that perfect New Zealand holiday.


The cafes and restaurants of the Bay of Islands offer visitors a great selection food and beverages for any occasion. Enjoy local favorite Vinnie’s Fish & Chips, or a stone-cooked pizza at Sauce, or visit Jimmy Jack’s and experience their US smokehouse themed slow cooked menu. Additionally, you have unique dining opportunities like Daryl’s Dinner Cruise which takes diners on a cruise up the Waitangi River to the beautiful Haruru Falls, or the Alongside Bar and 35 Degrees South Aquarium Restaurant, both situated on the pier in Paihia.


With so much to see and do, planning your Bay of Islands adventure can be a challenge. For more information on the Bay of Islands go to and learn more about the area’s best attractions, accommodation and places to eat and drink.