from just £3,619 per person.

About the Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands cruise destination is New Zealand's finest maritime park and comprises 144 islands, myriad bays and beaches around the coastline.

The Bay, with its subtropical climate and pristine natural environment, has an abundance of marine life, including the big marlin, whales, penguins, dolphins, gannets and many other species. And although it's an aquatic playground for adventure activities and escapist relaxation, much of Northlands extensive coastline remains unspoilt.

The maritime and historic park is the original cradle of local European civilization, but it also boasts fine examples of the fascinating Maori culture. Cruises to Bay of Islands also include tours to several museums filled with fine examples of European and Maori history, which provide a unique insight into colonial New Zealand. In fact, you will find that the Maori culture is still very much alive in this region, as 32 percent of the population is Maori. The shopping, dining and entertainment possibilities that stem from this distinctive local culture, which embraces art, creativity, organic farming and alternative thinking, is quite unique, making Bay of Islands cruises a must see.


Shore excursions in Bay of Islands

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Cape Brett Cruise

Activity low

Duration: 3 hours

Board a high-speed catamaran for a scenic cruise past magnificent sandy beaches, secluded caves and majestic coastal scenery.

Experience the natural wonders, stunning scenery and learn about the cultural significance of this unique part of New Zealand, on this spectacular cruise to Cape Brett and the iconic ‘Hole in the Rock’.

The cruise will whisk you away through the outer islands of the Bay of Islands to the beautiful lighthouse on weather-beaten Cape Brett, passing secluded bays and sandy beaches on the islands along the way. From here, you will travel to Motukokako and the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’ where, if conditions are suitable, the skilful Captain will navigate through the hole shaped slowly over time by the wind and waves, and on to Grand Cathedral Cave.

After the excitement of passing through the gap, your cruise continues at a more leisurely pace. Explore the inner islands and identify the abundance of birds and sea life that inhabit the area with the help of the knowledgeable crew.

On the return journey, you could view the visual displays, which contain local natural and cultural history information or simply sit back, relax and take advantage of the on-board bar.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by catamaran. There is a step into the catamaran. Wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed. Beverages purchased from the bar are at the passengers’ own expense. The cruise itinerary is subject to weather conditions and may be subject to change. This may prevent a visit to the Hole in the Rock. For those who suffer with sea sickness it is advisable to take the necessary precautions.

Discover Russell

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 3½ hours

Step aboard the ferry from Paihia to Russell and enjoy a guided walking tour, including a tasty scone and tea.

A short drive from the pier will take you to the seaside resort of Paihia, to join the passenger ferry across to Russell.

Upon arrival, embark on a guided walking tour to discover the town’s rich history. Your guide will bring alive the stories of New Zealand’s first capital as you relive the drama of its colonial days. A stop will be made at a charming local venue, where you’ll enjoy refreshments, before visiting the Pompallier Mission Printery. Follow the footsteps of the French missionaries and discover how they translated religious texts into Maori and then printed and bound them into beautiful books.

Afterwards, there will be some free time to wander through the town and perhaps browse the local artisan shops. To round off your tour, re-join the ferry for the return journey back to the pier.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by bus, ferry and on foot. This tour involves around 1½ hours of walking over relatively flat ground. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. The ferry ride is around 15 minutes each way. Please remember local currency for purchases.

Light Tackle Fishing

Activity medium

Duration: 4 hours

Experience light tackle fishing, the perfect way to spend some time in the beautiful Bay of Islands.

Sir Peter Blake, the legendary New Zealand born yachting hero, featured this in his ‘Favourite Places’ documentary and is the ideal place to fish.

No experience is necessary as your skipper will tailor the tour to your skill level. You’ll be offered expert local knowledge for the discerning angler and patient tuition for the novice.

The majority of the fish caught in the Bay of Islands are blue cod, terakihi, trevally and snapper, and whilst you’re not fishing, you can relax and enjoy the beautiful tranquil coastal surroundings.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by boat. Children under the age of 8 may not participate. All necessary fishing equipment is included. Catches cannot be guaranteed. This is not catch and release; most catches will be retained by the crew on board. For those who suffer with sea sickness please take the necessary precautions. Flat, soft soled, non-slip shoes are recommended. There is limited shade on the boat, so please bring sunscreen and a hat. It is advisable to bring water as refreshments are not available. There are toilet facilities on board the boat. Participants must be in good physical condition and have a degree of agility to board the boat.

Paddle Board Experience

Activity highRefreshments included

Duration: 3 hours

A wonderful opportunity to experience paddle boarding!

Setting off from the pier, sit back and relax as you take a leisurely boat ride along the coastline and up the meandering river, where in days gone by used to load up Kauri logs.

In the still calm waters of a quiet cove, your expert guides will provide instruction, before you take to the water on your paddle board. As you glide silently through the mangroves, keep an eye out for the local fauna. Your route will take you to a tumbling waterfall, and for those more adventurous, there will be an opportunity to paddle close up to the falls for a photo opportunity.

Afterwards, you can paddle board or rejoin the boat as you head back. A stop will be made at a riverside park to enjoy a light picnic snack, before the return boat ride back to the pier.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by boat and paddle board. Passengers must be in good physical condition and competent swimmers. Please wear swimwear, take a towel, a bottle of water and sunscreen. Children may not participate. Passengers may be required to sign a waiver.

Puketi Forest Nature Walk

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 3½ hours

A delightful opportunity to take a walk through Puketi Forest and discover its rich ecological diversity.

The Puketi Forest is an ancient Kauri forest located in the heart of Northland, and is home to a variety of plant species, birdlife and treelife. Relax on the transfer to Puketi Forest, as your driver guide offers a brief commentary.

Upon arrival, you’ll meet your naturalist guide who will take you on a fascinating and informative walk through the subtropical rainforest. Keep an eye out for New Zealand's unique plant and birdlife and admire the magnificent ancient Kauri trees, some of which are up to 1,200 years old.

During your tour, a stop will be made at a local venue, where a tea or coffee and a pastry will be offered.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The drive to Puketi Forest is around 45 minutes. Children under the age of 10 may not participate. This tour involves around 1½ hours of walking over varying terrain including boardwalks, which can be slippery when wet, and areas of uneven terrain. Please wear flat non-slip walking shoes. It is advisable to take a light rain jacket. Please also remember sunscreen, a hat and insect repellent.


A selection of cruises to Bay of Islands

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