Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands promises a unique coastline and a diverse range of sights, activities and history that definitely shouldn’t be missed while travelling through New Zealand. A yacht charter with Diverse Projects gives you a front row seat to the sights, sounds, and scenery of this magnificent part of New Zealand.

86 different islands boasting magnificent scenery, the mild climate and gentle sea breeze makes the Bay of Islands one of the best cruising grounds in the world. You are bound to find an island to your liking, from long golden sandy beaches to secluded islands representing New Zealand ecology and fauna. Immerse yourself in the natural habitat of dolphins and other sea life by cruising, swimming, snorkelling and diving.


Paihia is the perfect place to shop for provisions and souvenirs whereas Waitangi is a place of significant importance to the people of New Zealand. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the Maori and the Pakeha (European settlers) in 1840. The area offers good restaurants with local seafood cuisine.

Just across the water is Russell, the first capital of New Zealand. Visitors of this first European settlement will find themselves mesmerised by the old world charm with plenty to do in restaurants or cafes and the Russell Museum.

The islands:

The largest island Urupukapuka forms a natural barrier protecting the inner islands from ocean swells. The island offers a number of peaceful bays with safe anchorages.

A short distance away are Moturua and Roberton Islands, also with good anchorage and beautiful, long golden beaches. The rock pools near the area provide snorkelling fun.

The inlets:

The Waikare inlet is located in the south western corner of the map provided. This route leads to the commonly visited townships of Russell, Paihia and Opua.

The Keri Keri inlet to the left of Waikare is relatively unknown and is worth exploring.

The Maunganui inlet shares its mouth with the Keri Keri inlet and offers peaceful anchorage spots.

Around the area:

North of the Bay of Islands are the Cavali Islands. The area is a haven for diving with abundant sea life. Diving the Rainbow Warrior wreck is a must do attraction if you are in the area.

Further up north is the Whangaroa Harbour where you can find sheltered bays and small townships.

South of the Bay of Islands is the interesting Hole in the Rock and past that is the Whangamumu Harbour. This is a great place to go ashore for a walk and barbecue. Otherwise, visit Tutukaka further south for fine dining in its restaurants and cafes.



The Bay plays host to a wide variety of fishing tournaments and activities thanks to its plentiful schools of marlin and snapper. A number of fishing spots exist throughout the Bay and with a proper permit, can easily be fished. Fishing supplies are simple to acquire from various distributors and shops in Russell and Kerikeri. Fishing charters on smaller boats are also available.

Natural wonders and tours:

The Bay is world famous for its unique natural landscape and beautiful scenery. Cathedral Cove is one of the Bay’s most famous attractions: the great natural arch was formed from centuries of gradual erosion and deterioration and lies just a short boat ride away from Russell. The cove itself is adjacent to two large open bays and can be accessed via a walking track or by simply taking a dingy into one of the bays.

Another marvel of nature that can be witnessed in the Bay of Islands, Piercy Island, also known as ‘Hole in the Rock’, is a much larger natural arch which is over 64m in size and large enough to allow dinghies and small motor boats through with ease.

A boat tour around the large number of natural bays and attractions in the area is a must. There’s no better way to enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Bay of Islands than by racing through the bays at up to 100km/h.

Dolphins are one the Bay’s friendliest creatures and its highly recommended that while staying in the Bay you get up close and see them in their natural environment. Travelling on the charter yacht through their reserves is strictly off limits, however multiple tours provide excellent up close encounters with the dolphins for very reasonable prices.

Historic sites:

The Bay of Islands holds a rich and priceless part of New Zealand colonial heritage. The Bay takes its name from the exploration of Captain James Cook who encountered the area and named it after the large number of small islands which make navigating inland troublesome. The town of Russell was the first permanent European settlement to be formed in mainland New Zealand. Russell played host to a variety of events from the start of the treaty of Waitangi proceedings to the Flagstaff War and sack of the town. Multiple historic landmarks lie within this sleepy settlement. Pompallier Mission, the Russell Museum, Christ Church (the oldest surviving church in New Zealand) and Flagstaff Hill all have important historical backgrounds and provide a glimpse of life back in the late 19th century.

The town of Waitangi is only a short trip from Russell and is perhaps one of the most important colonial historical sites in New Zealand. The treaty grounds provided the setting for the creation of the Treaty of Waitangi in which the British government recognised Maori ownership of land and property and gave Maori people the rights of British citizens. Today the area is a must see for anyone visiting the region, the buildings have been beautifully restored and the entire grounds are full of interesting historical artefacts and treasures.

The bays themselves:

The Bay of islands is literally full of islands, many of which are isolated and completely devoid of tourists making a relaxing holiday very easy to have.

Some of the larger islands like Moturua and Urupukapuka have many bays and beaches while others like Hole in the Rock are little more than cliff faces which accommodate nests for various birds. Most of the beaches and bays are free for you to explore and relax on and with so many of them it’s quite literally your choice as to what bay to explore.

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