Bay of Islands Ultimate Tour
4 days from Auckland to Auckland
New Zealand tour itinerary name and information
Thrifty Tours

Bay of Islands Ultimate Tour

Embark on an epic 4 day adventure from Auckland to Paihia, exploring the best sights in the Bay of Islands. Begin with a cultural tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where you will learn about Aotearoa New Zealand's incredible history with a museum visit and performance.

Get an early night's sleep before your full day out to Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach. Watch the Tasman Sea and Pacific Island crash together at the northwesternmost tip of The Long White Cloud and discover the thrill of sandboarding.

Visit the Hole in the Rock and keep your eyes peeled for resident marine life including dolphins and whales. Complete this tour with a ferry and guided tour of Russell, a now tranquil seaside town full of eateries and art galleries.

Tour summary and feature

Tour overview

Departs every day - flexible independent travel

This suggested tour costs from NZD$1,435 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Auckland

4 days/3 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Customisable? YES

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Tour full itinerary
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Auckland to Paihia by InterCity Coach

Heading north to the Bay of Islands takes you along the coast road past the seaside villages of Orewa and Waiwera. Then its on to the township of Puhoi, New Zealand's only Bohemian settlement, then Warkworth and the harbour side city of Whangarei and the unique township of Kawakawa. Arriving into the sub tropical Bay of Islands you are greeted with bush clad hillsides dropping to golden sand beaches. Paihia is the main tourist centre in the bay and has a great beach side atmosphere.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds Guided Tour and Cultural Performance including shuttle

Waitangi is one of New Zealand's most historic sites where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the local Maori and the British Government. This two day pass allows you access to the Treaty of Waitangi Grounds and includes admission to the Te Kōngahu Museum and Te Rau Aroha Museum and a Maori Cultural performance. During your guided tour, you'll learn about the history of the treaty and discover the stories and events that shaped New Zealand. The cultural performance inside the carved meeting house includes waiata (singing), poi, a display of Maori weaponry and the haka - a war dance New Zealand is well known for.
There is a free shuttle service to the grounds, this leaves from the Maritime Building, Pahia Wharf every hour on the half hour. It operates from 9:30 until 15:00.

Bag Drop at Pahia Accommodation

While you are exploring Waitangi Treaty Grounds, your bag will be transferred to your accommodation in Paihia.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Cool Change Sunset Sail Charter

Enjoy the private use of Cool Change, an awesome 54 ft sailing catamaran, for a day charter sailing adventure you will never forget. Your Cool Change Experience can start from any pre-arranged beach or jetty near your accommodation. Trips are generally 6 hours duration, but extra time can be arranged. A two hour stopover allows plenty of time to enjoy a delicious lunch and to participate in your preferred activities such as kayaking, swimming or exploring our local islands and beaches. The Stand Up Paddleboard (or SUP) is very popular too!

Your accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

The Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia is located on the waterfront only 100 metres from Paihia wharf and township. All rooms are air-conditioned and hotel facilities include restaurant, swimming pool, spa pool and sauna.

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Cape Reinga & Ninety Mile Beach Full Day Tour with Fuller GreatSights - Lunch Included

Journey to the very tip of the North Island and uncover a region of rich Māori tradition along the way on an unforgettable full-day tour. Travel along the sand-swept shore of Ninety Mile Beach in our purpose-built coach. Climb the massive sand dunes at Te Paki Stream and experience the thrill of sand-boarding. In Māori tradition, Cape Reinga or Te Rerenga Wairua is the place where spirits depart on their long journey back to the homeland. Stand at the northernmost point of New Zealand and drink in the panoramic views. As you stand beneath the iconic lighthouse, and watch the Tasman Sea and the mighty Pacific Ocean collide far below, you'll feel the power of this special place. Throughout the day your local driver guide will provide an entertaining and thought-provoking insight into the culture, history and natural wonders of the Far North. Your tour also includes a delicious locally prepared lunch to keep you fuelled throughout the day.

Your accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

The Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia is located on the waterfront only 100 metres from Paihia wharf and township. All rooms are air-conditioned and hotel facilities include restaurant, swimming pool, spa pool and sauna.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

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Hole in the Rock Cruise with Fullers GreatSights

Board your cruise and take in the stunning views as you glide out through the islands and along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse keeps watch over and Piercy Island/Motukōkako, or as it is popularly known as the Hole in the Rock. According to Māori legend, local warriors used to paddle through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof above were a good omen. If conditions permit, your skipper will expertly guide the ship through the narrow space. Keep an eye out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales and other marine life during your cruise, and have your camera ready as you get up close to the action. The purpose-built catamaran is licensed by DOC (the Department of Conservation) for dolphin viewing and the crew have years of experience locating dolphins in these waters. Dolphin Seeker has indoor and outdoor seating available, and the largest outdoor viewing decks in the Bay of Islands.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Single Flight - Flying Kiwi Parasail

Enjoy amazing aerial views over Paihia, Russell and Opua in the Bay of Islands at 1200ft of towline. Suitable for the entire family, no physical restrictions or experience required. Take off and landings are very smooth from the back deck of the Parasail boat and a choice of single, tandem or triple flights are available. No getting wet-unless you want to just sit back, relax and enjoy.

Your accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

The Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia is located on the waterfront only 100 metres from Paihia wharf and township. All rooms are air-conditioned and hotel facilities include restaurant, swimming pool, spa pool and sauna.
Meals included: Breakfast

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Russell Mini Tour with Fullers GreatSights

Known until the early 1840s as Kororāreka, Russell was the first town and sea port in New Zealand. The Bay of Islands offered a safe anchorage and by the 1830s Russell had become a lawless trading centre where whalers, seafarers and merchants mixed with adventurers, deserters and escaped convicts from Australia. Today the town once called the “Hell Hole of the Pacific” is a charming and tranquil spot. This intimate one-hour coach tour visits many of Russell’s iconic locations that make it so significant in New Zealand’s early history. Your tour will be led by an engaging guide whose combination of historical knowledge and local insight will bring the culture and history of the area to life.

Paihia to Auckland by InterCity Coach

Leaving the magical Bay of Islands behind you head south on State Highway 1 back towards Auckland, the city of sails, the route takes you through Kawakawa, affectionately known as 'train town'. The farming regions of Wellsford and Warkworth accompany you the rest of the journey before passing through the suburbs of the North Shore and crossing the harbour bridge and into the heart of Auckland City.

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