General Information

The Bay of Islands (Pewhairangi) is an aquatic playground with 144 islands and a myriad of secluded bays making it the finest Maritime Park in New Zealand. It is beautiful, unspoiled and wonderfully rich in history and culture. The Bay of Islands is world famous for its big-game fishing. Paihia is the gateway to the islands which give the region its name and is also known as the ‘Jewel of the Bay of Islands’. The Opua Marina is the main port of entry for off shore cruisers and a popular summer destination for many New Zealanders. Air New Zealand Link operates daily flights from Auckland International Airport to Kerikeri Bay of Islands Airport Bay of Islands is an area in the Northland region of the North Island of New Zealand. Located 60km north-west of Whangarei, it is close to the northern tip of the country.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
A superb view looking to the southern end of Waitangi known as Te Ti Bay.

Russell Township.
Kororareka, Russell was the first capital and largest town in New Zealand in the 1830s.

Attractions and Activities

The Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand’s premier destinations with a stunning variety of scenery and activities.
In the Bay of Islands you can find thrilling adventure or perfect peace. From the oldest standing European stone building, Kerikeri Stone Store, to New Zealand’s oldest surviving Roman Catholic building, Pompallier House, Bay of Islands is the location for the country’s most significant historical events, the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, on 6th February, 1840. Weather permitting make sure you take a journey and experience the breathtaking Motu Kōkako (Hole in the Rock) and Cathedral Cave. Swim with Dolphins in their natural habitat, a once in a lifetime opportunity.

 Kerikeri Basin.
The Stone Store, the oldest building in New Zealand made of stone and the Kemp House the oldest building in New Zealand.

Maori Mythology

The Spine of the Dragon – the seven distinctive peaks that mark the Cape Brett peninsula’s dragon-like spine are said to represent the seven wakas (canoes) from the great migration on which Māori sailed from their homeland of Hawaiiki.


The first Polynesian voyagers arrived in this region during the 11th century. The Bay of Islands was the first area in New Zealand to be settled by Europeans. Whalers arrived towards the end of the 18th Century, while the first missionaries settled in 1814. Russell (Kororareka) – a notoriously popular port of call for South Pacific whalers was once known as the ‘hell hole of the South Pacific’ and also the first Capital of New Zealand.

Bay of Islands.
A cruise ship sailing out of the Bay of Islands Harbour
Paihia is the main visitor centre for the Bay of Islands and is the starting point for many sightseeing cruises


The Bay of Islands, New Zealand offers a top selection of tourist and souvenir shopping catering for all your gift requirements.

Maori Translations

Kerikeri is ‘to keep on digging.
Paihia – ‘good here’. It is believed that Reverend Henry Williams came to New Zealand knowing only a few words of Māori, one of them being ‘pai’meaning good. When they came to this place, he turned to his companion, a Māori chief, and said ‘Pai here’.