The Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand’s great holiday destinations not only enjoyed by the locals but by international visitors as well. It depicts both stunning beauty and historical significant. With a sub-tropical climate, one can enjoy beach and water activities or go exploring one of the many nature walks, swim with dolphins, charter a boat to go fishing or explore the 144 different islands on the bay. Following are some of the must visit places on this island:
1) Haruru Falls: Just around the corner from Paihia, is the breathtaking waterfall, the Haruru Falls, shaped in a horseshoe shape is quite a spectacular sight. Haruru means ‘big nose’ and these waterfalls are worth seeing.
2) Whangaroa: Whangaroa township is known as 'Marlin
Capital' of New Zealand. This place is a unique gem and is a place like no other. It is a beautiful romantic
harbor and is known worldwide as a spectacular diving spot. Some of the
featured activites of Whangaroa are harbour cruises, sailing, snorkelling,
sea-kayaking, golfing and climbing the Duke's Nose, which from the top has a
majestic view. Matauri Bay with its golden sandy beach is also popular for
activities such as horse trails, beachfront camping, safe swimming, and jet
skiing. Another place that’s a must visit is the Tauranga Bay which is famous
for diving and fishing. Beachfront camping and boat charters are even available
3) Paihia: This place is a 3 hours drive from North of Auckland and is known as the jewel of the magnificent Bay Of Islands. Here one will find amazing beaches and a host of islands that will make this an aquatic playground and ultimate retreat for all. This is a great place for the adventure lovers because it offers activities like skydiving, parasailing, scuba diving and sea kayaking. You can even paddle a waka up the tidal estuaries of the Waitangi River for a true Northland cultural experience. There are many boat trips that depart from Paihia that will allow you to fully experience some of the 144 islands that are just off the coastline. Scenic cruises out to the ‘hole in the rock’ at the tip of Cape Brett, are one of the most popular maritime excursions, along with dinner or overnight cruises. You can even go on a dolphin and whale watching safari or walk the ‘island paradise’ of Urupukapuka.
4) Kerikeri: If you are history and nature lover, and niche food products, boutique vineyards, art galleries, cafes and crafts, then a visit to Kerikeri is a must. Kerikeri has excellent sporting facilities including golf, all-weather tennis and yachting. For the nature enthusiasts, the Rainbow Falls and the Puketi Forest are definitely worth a visit. Historical highlights of Kerikeri are the Kerikeri Mission House, the country’s oldest house and the Mission’s Stone Store, which is New Zealand’s oldest stone building. These two wonderful buildings are regarded as the “Cradle of the Nation”, and are a must visit place for all visitors.