Paradise, in 144 Parts
It’s been said that the Bay of Islands is home to some of the bluest skies in the world. Located between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula on New Zealand’s North Island, this group of 144 islands is truly a sight to behold.
History buffs will want to visit Waitaingi, the site of New Zealand’s first permanent British settlement and learn more about the birthplace of the Treaty of Waitaingi—an important document signed between the British and the Māori people. If you’re there are the right time, you might just see a live kapahake performance.
Nature lovers will find lots to see in the Bay of Islands, too. One of the most popular fishing destinations in the country, hop aboard a daily cruise, charter a yacht, or hire a sea kayak, and view marine life including penguins, dolphins, marlin, and gannets. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a tandem skydiving excursion or for a more relaxing pace, tee off at one of the world-class golf courses. The northland region of New Zealand is also famous for its waterfalls, and both Rainbow Falls and Haruru Falls are easily accessible with a quick hike or drive.
The unofficial slogan of northern New Zealand’s largest town is “the place so nice, they named it twice”, and after spending some time here, you’ll see why. Well known for producing oranges and kiwi fruit, Kerikeri is also where New Zealand’s first grape vines were planted.
The largest of the 144 islands found in the Bay of Islands, Urupukapuka is a tranquil oasis crisscrossed with walking trails and surrounded by aquamarine waters. Follow the archaeological walk, which includes on-site signs that interpret important pre-European sites across the island.
With a name that translates to ‘weeping waters’ in Māori, Waitangi is a storied place in New Zealand’s history. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed here in 1840. Although the treaty is generally considered the founding document of modern New Zealand, the contents are highly contested.
Bay of Islands, New Zealand At a glance