Bay of Islands Overview

A cool clear Pacific current rises into a bay only 10nM wide at its mouth.

The Bay of Islands boasts magnificent scenery with over 86 different islands. The mild climate and gentle sea breezes make the Bay of Islands one of the world's most reknowned cruising grounds. Long golden sandy beaches and uninhabited, park-like Islands offer unlimited opportunities for cruising , swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, dolphin spotting and sight-seeing. The Bay is steeped in history with the settler townships of Russel, Opua, Waitangi and Paihia. The pretty town of Opua is a well-known base for cruising yachts visiting New Zealand. Opua is the drop off point for charters to the Bay of Islands.
The townships of Paihia and Waitangi are the tourist centre of the Bay of Islands. Paihia has a variety of shops for provisioning and souvenirs. Waitangi is the place where New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the Maori and Pakeha.

Paihia and Waitangi offer a wide variety of dine-out options from silver-service restaurants offering local cusine to seaside cafes. the first capital of New Zealand, is the site of the first European settlement. The old- world charm of Russell creates an atmosphere not to be missed. Try one of the many restaurants or cafes. The Russell Museum will take you back in time and provide an insight into the birth of New Zealand's culture. The most convenient place to re-provision, with a large supermarket and local speciality stores.

The Islands:

Urupukapuka is the largest of the islands, forms a natural barrier protecting the inner islands from ocean swells. On the lee side of the island are several bays offering safe, picturesque anchorages. A short sail from Urupukapuka are Moturua and Roberton Islands. Both offer superb anchorages and Roberton Island boasts a long golden sandy beach. Try snorkelling in one of the rock pools. This park-like island is a great place to spend time ashore.

The Inlets:

The Waikare Inlet in the South Western corner of the Bay is well known as it leads to Opua and the marina and has the townships of Russell and Paihia at its mouth.    Less well known and worth a careful explore is the KeriKeri Inlet which, surprisingly, leads to the Township of KeriKeri from the NW corner of the Bay.  Good navigation will lead you to the basin by the historic Stone Store and Kemp House the oldest European buildings (in stone and in wood) in New Zealand.

The Maunganui Inlet shares its mouth with the KeriKeri and has many quiet anchorages is in its well sheltered reaches.

North of the Bay are the Cavali Islands, a haven for the diving and fishing enthusiasts. Dive on New Zealand's own "Rainbow Warrior" wreck.

Whangaroa Harbour a fascinating and splendid water haven. A fiord-like opening to the harbour provides a variety of small sheltered bays for peaceful anchoring. For a morning ashore climb St Pauls rock for a panoramic view of the area , or buy an ice-cream at the local general store. Dining out at Kingfisher lodge is recommended.

South of the Bay of Islands and pass the famous "Hole In The Rock". Visit the remote anchorage of Whangamumu Harbour. Once home to a bustling whaling station, a great place for a walk ashore, barbecue, or rinse off in the local stream.

Tutukaka, is a tranquil harbour . The Tutukaka Game fishing club looks out over the marina, visitors are welcome. Restaurant and cafes offers local cuisine. Tutukaka is the base for boats offering day trips to the famous Poor Knight Islands marine reserve.

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