Ah The Bay of Islands! Its name alone has you conjuring up thoughts of a dreamy paradise setting, decorated with beautiful untouched islands gently floating in the bay’s waters. If you’ve yet to discover this part of New Zealand, we’re pleased to say that you can expect exactly this, and more!
Home to over 140 stunning islands and boasting a sub-tropical climate, The Bay of Islands seems almost too good to be true. The undeveloped white sand beaches, nature walks, dolphin filled waters, Maori cultural artifacts, big-game fishing and the many charming villages in Bay of Islands are just some of the reasons so many are drawn here all year round.
To really immerse yourself in the spectacular scenery and experience the true vastness of the beautiful bay, we believe a Bay of Islands day cruise to be the most magical way to explore the area. Which is why we include one on our guided tours of New Zealand.
Cruising through paradise…
To ensure there’s something for everyone, there is a selection of cruises available, including the Hole in the Rock cruise and the Bay of Islands dolphin cruise. While dolphin cruises in The Bay of Islands will introduce you to the water’s wonderful wildlife, the Hole in the Rock cruises in The Bay of Islands take you on a more comprehensive exploration – from the end of the Cape Brett Peninsula to the Hole in the Rock on Motukokako Island.
Of course, the latter cruise takes you to discover the famous Hole in the Rock. Here your skipper will likely fill you in on the Maori legend of local warriors paddling through the hole in canoes as they made their way to battle. Drops of water from the cave’s roof were said to be a good omen, so if you get dripped on as you’re navigated through the narrow gateway, you’ve been blessed with luck!
While you cruise The Bay of Islands, you may also get to hear captivating stories of Captain Cook and his crew, the many brave warriors and their challenge to climb the island, and the Kokako – a now extinct bird native to the island. Listening to tales of the area’s fascinating history and culture complements the breath-taking views, creating a truly unforgettable experience.
Whichever cruise you choose, as you’re sailing in The Bay of Islands, be sure to find a good spot on the large outdoor viewing decks, have your camera to hand, and keep your eyes peeled for the majestic marine life that may happen to pop up to say hello! Common and bottlenose dolphins, along with whales, often greet visitors and put on a playful show. This alone is bound to be a highlight of any trip to New Zealand, and why we think everyone should experience a day cruise in The Bay of Islands.
A stop off at the picturesque Urupukapuka Island is the perfect end to a Bay of Islands cruise. Here you can relax on the warm sandy beach, or walk to the top of the island to take in the incredible 360° views of the 144 islands surrounding you. Don’t be surprised if you leave for the day wishing you could do it all again! Image by jeaneeem via Flickr