Private fishing charter aboard Ata Rangi in the Bay of Islands
Private fishing charter aboard Ata Rangi in the Bay of Islands

Northland & the Bay of Islands are a water and beach lovers paradise. Perfect for sailing, fishing, diving, surfing and dolphin watching. The area also offers great walks, scenic flights, cultural and history tours.  Below are a sample of Luxury Adventures favourite Bay of Islands & Northland recommended activities.

Sailing and Cruising in the Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is a water lovers paradise, and no trip to the Bay of Islands would be complete without some time spent in, or on the water. The area boasts 144 islands with pristine clear blue water surrounding each of them. The area has an abundance of marine life from dolphins and whales to orcas, seabirds and seals. Getting out on the water will enable you to see some of these in their natural habitat. There are a few options dependent on budget and time restraints. But private charter sailing on a luxury yacht, with your own crew has to be at the top of the list!

Relax and enjoy the wonderful scenery, stop off at private beaches and islands for a picnic or maybe have a go on the helm. Enjoy freshly harvested seafood and New Zealand wines on board your own private yacht. If a private charter is not in your budget, there are plenty of options to get on the water with a shared cruise. Take a cruise to the famous hole in the rock. Or how about joining a shared day sailing charter and visit Roberton/Motuarohia Island, or experience snorkelling in the bays crystal clear waters. Talk to the Luxury Adventures team about which options best suit your New Zealand travel budget and itinerary.

The Cape Brett Lighthouse and Cape Brett Track walk are high on our list of recommended activities in the Bay of Islands.
The Cape Brett Lighthouse and Cape Brett Track walk are high on our list of recommended activities in the Bay of Islands.

Cape Brett Walk

Cape Brett is steeped in local European and Maori history and has breath-taking coastal views.  See the Cape Brett lighthouse, the Whangamumu whaling station, native forests and beaches. The Cape Brett track runs between Rawhiti and Deep Water Cove and is high on our list of recommended bay of Island activities. You can either drive to Rawhiti from Russell (though it’s a long and windy road). Or you can take a water taxi to Deep Water Cove from Paihia or Russell, and walk the best section of the track. The track can also be done as a multi-day with stops along the way.

All hikers must pay a track maintenance fee for crossing private land between Rawhiti and Deep Water Cove. Current costs are NZ$40 per person and can be paid at the Isite in the Bay of Islands. You can walk the track with or without a guide. Our team know resident expert guides who can talk you through the local history and point out the flora and fauna of the area. We can also organise water taxis for you. You can read more in depth information about the walking the track in our walking the Cape Brett track blog.

Viewing dolphins in Bay of Islands clear waters never gets old!
Viewing dolphins in Bay of Islands clear waters never gets old!

Dolphin watching

Dolphins: There are around 9 different types of dolphins found in New Zealand. In the Bay of Islands you are most likely to see the bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and occasionally the black and white orcas. They are often thought of as killer whales, however they actually belong to the dolphin family.

Tours can be arranged from Paihia or Russell to see these mammals in their natural environment. Some operators offer viewing only, whilst others the opportunity to swim with the dolphins. You can read more about viewing or swimming with the dolphins in our more in depth article on whales and dolphins.

The iconic New Zealand kiwi bird (chick)
The iconic New Zealand kiwi bird (chick)

Kiwi Bird Tours

The flightless Kiwi Bird is a New Zealand icon. The birds are generally nocturnal and numbers are diminishing, making them difficult to see. In fact it’s quite rare to see them in their natural habitat. Luxury Adventures have access to guides who offer a true eco experience. North of Auckland in the Tawharanui Regional park, the tours are led by passionate guides who know the area’s history and wildlife well. As well as hopefully catching sight of a Kiwi you’ll have a chance to see Weka and Morepork (native New Zealand owls). Talk to our team about how to incorporate this unique experience into your honeymoon or New Zealand vacation.

The seemingly endless sands of 90 mile beach near Cape Reinga in Northland
The seemingly endless sands of 90 mile beach near Cape Reinga in Northland

Cape Reinga & Ninety Mile Beach

Cape Reinga in the far north is a famous New Zealand landmark along with the with the iconic lighthouse. It’s a spiritual place where the Pacific and Tasman oceans meet. Equally famous is Ninety Mile beach with its miles of golden sand stretching from Kaitaia all the way to Cape Reinga. Actually at only 88 km (54 miles) in length the name is somewhat misleading! But it’s still a is a great playground for tourists and locals alike. The beach is a highway and as such vehicles can be driven on here. Although you should check your agreement if you have a rental car, as this is more often than not forbidden. The beach also has huge towering sand dunes well known for sledding down on body boards.

Luxury Adventures can highly recommend a day tour to this area. Perhaps the best way to make the most of your time in this area is to take a scenic flight over the stunning beaches of Northland. Beaches such as Coopers Beach, Doubtless Bay and Ninety Mile Beach. Then land at an airfield near the Cape Reinga lighthouse, where you’ll continue by road for a tour of the area. Visit the lighthouse, enjoy the thrill of sledding the dunes and learn about the history of the area. View this beautiful coastal area from both the air and land. This tour can be taken as a group tour in a fixed wine plane, or upgraded to a private tour with a helicopter.

With its prolific sea life a saltwater fishing charter in the Bay of Islands is a highly recommended activity in the Bay of Islands
With its prolific sea life a saltwater fishing charter in the Bay of Islands is a highly recommended activity in the Bay of Islands

Saltwater fishing charter in the Bay of Islands

With its sheltered waters Northland and the Bay of Islands offer world class saltwater fishing. You can fish here all year round and catch snapper, trevally, hapuku, tarakihi and kahawai. Or the larger game fish such as marlin, tuna, swordfish, and kingfish. There is something to suit anglers of all levels of experience, from the novice through to the serious fisho. The Luxury Adventures team have access to guides and boats to suit all budgets. Join a shared charter and swap tall fishing stories, or else charter your own private boat and crew to show you the “secret” fishing spots! There’s a saltwater fishing adventure waiting in the Bay of Islands for you.

Luxury Adventures Tailoring luxury travel in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific Islands since 1999

Kay Campbell

Originally from the UK, I now call New Zealand my home, relocating 15 years ago with my husband and two children. I have been with Luxury Adventures for 15 years. When not planning perfect vacations and honeymoons for our clients, I enjoy running and recently completed the Queenstown marathon, along with reading, walking in the bush and on the beach with my two dogs and finding new favourite places in New Zealand.

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