Northland, New Zealand: Bay Of Islands


I’ve recently got back from a pretty snappy road trip. This time we head north. More specially, the Northland of New Zealand including the most northern point of the country, Cape Reinga. It was so nice to get out on the road again, see some more of this beautiful country and explore some places I’ve never been before. First stop on the trip was the Bay Of Islands. I remember coming here as a kid so it was pretty exciting to head back. We stayed the night just outside of Paihia, explored the local area including a pretty incredible waterfall. So listen up as I give you a whistle stop tour of the Bay Of Islands.

// Getting There \\

If you’re heading to Northland then you’re most likely coming from or past Auckland. It’s the last big city before you reach Northland. The first and probably most popular part of the Northland is Bay Of Islands. Sat on the west coast, a small cluster of islands is home to some pretty spectacular sights, quite a few dolphins and also the Waitangi treaty grounds. So, how do you get there you ask?

From Auckland you’re going to take Highway 1 all the way north, then taking Highway 11 you’ll be on your way to Paihia. As you can see on the map, the Bay Of Islands in this coved area, housing several different towns and settlements with Paihia being the biggest. (Even so, it’ll only take you 10 minutes to walk around the town) From Auckland, you’re looking at a 3 hour drive dependent on traffic.


// What To Do Whilst You’re There \\

As I mention above, Paihia is a very small town indeed. That said, it doesn’t take way from the fact there is still quite a bit to do and see, in and around the local area.

Hole In The Rock & Dolphin Watching – This is probably one of the most popular things to do in the Bay Of Islands. Catch the boat from the dock & head to the famous Hole In The Rock. Taking in this incredible work of nature, which is quite literally a hole in the side of the rock, big enough for a boat to go through, you’ll also be joined by some friendly company… dolphins. The Bay Of Islands & a lot of the Northland is home to Dolphins. In this area in particular, you’ll definitely be treated with some incredible sightings. For around $150, you can get a three hour boat journey to the Hole In The Rock as well as Dolphin watching.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds – The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are some of New Zealand’s most important pieces of history. Home to the signing of the first accord between the British Crown and Maori people, here is quite literally the home of where this nation started. Take a walk around the grounds, soaking up New Zealand’s history and have the chance of seeing with your own eyes, the offical signed document. This is definitely worth seeing if you’re into history or even if you just want to know a little more about New Zealand and it’s culture.

The Waterfalls – Probably my favourite thing we did whilst on our trip, visit the waterfalls. Throughout the whole area of Northland, you’ll discover quite a few waterfalls but I think the best one has to be Rainbow Falls. Located just 30 minutes from the centre of Paihia, Rainbow Falls is probably the most impressive waterfall I’ve ever seen (tbf, I’ve not seen many). Rainbow Falls actually get’s the name due to the rainbow it creates due to the mist coming from the water. When you’re stood at the top of the falls looking down, you’ll quite literally be above the rainbow. It’s such a fascinating thing to witness and quite incredible to think this is 100% natural. Head down to the bottom of the falls, take a swim in the pool or pose for some pretty bomb instagrams. For sure not worth missing out on.

Russell – And last but not least, Russell. Neighbouring town Russell is a 2 hour drive away from Paihia. However, take the ferry from Paihia to Russell and you’re looking at a 5 minute crossing. Go as a foot passenger or take the car, Russell is definitely worth the trip. A very quaint, quiet little town, home to boutiques, op shops and cafes. Russell is a little seaside town that feels like you’re stepping back in time. Go wine tasting, sailing or shopping… Russell is a pretty unique place that is also home to the first hotel in New Zealand.


// Accomodation \\

The Bay Of Islands quite literally survives on tourism, so just a quick note on Accomodation. It’s all pretty easy to find. It’s thriving with BnB’s, hostels and hotels. Rock up and take your pick or book in advance just to be sure. We used our trusty Airbnb app to sort us out with accomodation which took us about 20 minutes outside of Paihia. Either way, you won’t be short of somewhere to stay in the Bay Of Islands.


Maybe that didn’t turn out to be a whistle stop tour of The Bay Of Islands. Nevertheless, you’ve got all the information you’ll need to ensure you have the best trip up there. We used this as a stop over on our trip all the way up to Cape Reinga as trust me, it’s a long old way North! Join me here next Wednesday where we’ll be chatting all things Cape Reinga and I’ll be giving you the complete low down on everything you need to know.

| By Harrison |


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