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Cape Brett and Hole in the Rock Tours

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Cape Brett and Hole in the Rock
Overlooking the Bay of Islands and the Pacific Ocean, Cape Brett is a remote and remarkable part of New Zealand’s coastline. Trek 10 scenic miles (16 kilometers) to the tip of the peninsula, or take a day cruise or speedboat to the cape’s famous Hole in the Rock, a natural rock tunnel that comfortably fits the boats that sail there and back.

The Basics
Cape Brett is one of Northland’s most challenging and rewarding hiking trails. Head out from Rawhiti to the Cape Brett Lighthouse, stopping by Deep Water Cove for swimming and snorkeling. Day cruises or speedboats can take you from the Bay of Islands to the cape. Sail around Motukokako Island, named for an endangered native bird species, and through the Hole in the Rock, which you can also see via a scenic helicopter tour.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • To hike the Cape Brett Track, apply in advance for a walking permit from New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. You will also need to pay a track maintenance fee.
  • The Cape Brett Track is long and difficult, so take the necessary safety equipment and book a bunk at Cape Brett Hut, so you can rest overnight before returning to the Bay of Islands.
  • Before and after hiking, thoroughly clean your gear to help prevent kauri dieback disease.
  • Cape Brett Hut doesn’t have a guaranteed water supply from December to April, so bring your own water for drinking and cooking.
  • Local Maori people have restricted fishing in the Deep Water Cove area, so don’t take any shellfish or cast any lines.

How to Get There
Join Cape Brett Track at Rawhiti, a 19-mile (31-kilometer) drive from Russell along Russell-Whakapara Road, Kempthorne Road, and Manawaora Road, or from the Deep Water Cove landing. Cruises and boat trips are available from Paihia. If driving to the cape, parking is available at 253 Rawhiti Road and Hartwells in Kaimarama Bay.

When to Get There
Northland has summery weather year-round, so just about any time is a good time to visit Cape Brett and Motukokako Island. Spring or fall might be slightly colder, but there are fewer tourists and more chances of water available at Cape Brett Hut.

Snorkel near a Navy Frigate

In 2007, the New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Canterbury was scuttled in Deep Water Cove. The frigate now acts as an artificial reef for fish and coral, and as an underwater attraction for local snorkelers and divers. Bring your mask and snorkel, and investigate the wreck on your trek or cruise.
Address: Motukokako Island, Russell, New Zealand
Admission: Varies
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Day Cruises

Dolphin Cruise to the Hole in the Rock

Slip through the famous 'Hole in the Rock' in New Zealand’s Northland during this half-day Bay of Islands cruise by high-speed catamaran. Pass rocky outcrops, sandy beaches and an array of islands as you make your way out to the Cape Brett Lighthouse, and Motu Kokako Island. Keep an eye our for Dolphins and other marine and birdlife.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Helicopter Tours

Bay of Islands Cruise and Scenic Helicopter Tour

See the Bay of Islands from water, land and air on this half-day tour that includes a boat cruise, island stopover and helicopter flight. Departing from Paihia, board the Sea Shuttle for a scenic boat ride, and stop for a few hours at Roberton Island to hike, swim or snorkel. Finish with a helicopter tour over the Bay of Islands and hover above the Hole in the Rock for great photo ops.
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  • 4 hours
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Multi-day Tours

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3-Day Bay of Islands Trip from Auckland

Explore the Bay of Islands’ rocky islets and pristine beaches on a 3-day tour from Auckland. This comprehensive tour through the Northland includes: a visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds to discover Maori history; a drive along Ninety Mile Beach to Cape Reinga, the northernmost point of New Zealand; a boat cruise through the Cape Brett Hole in the Rock; and a sightseeing tour of historic Russell. Enjoy two nights’ overnight accommodation before returning by coach to Auckland.
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  • 3 days
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$690.80
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  • 3 days

Day Cruises

The Cream Trip, Day in the Bay

Follow the century-old tradition of delivering mail and supplies throughout the Bay of Islands — called a ‘cream trip’ — on this full-day cruise by catamaran from Paihia or Russell. See the Hole in the Rock at Cape Brett, spend time on one of many Islands that maker up the Bay of Islands, and search the waters for whales, seals and other marine life. On board the multi-level vessel, an informative crew points out natural landmarks, local homes and secluded bays. Enjoy time to stroll on a local island or relax on the beach.
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  • 7 hours
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$95.43
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  • 7 hours
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Multi-day Tours

5 Day Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Waitomo Caves and Hobbiton Tour from Auckland

Soak up all the North Island highlights on this 5-day journey from Auckland by coach, including a Bay of Islands cruise to see the Hole in the Rock. Your itinerary includes a drive along Ninety Mile Beach at Cape Reinga; enjoy an overnight stay near the bubbling hot springs of Rotorua; a visit to Waitomo Caves for a boat ride through Glowworm Grotto; and a Hobbiton Movie Set tour to see filming locations for ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ Listen to informative commentary on board.
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  • 5 days
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Day Cruises

Hole in the Rock Cruise & Waitangi Day tour from Auckland

Experience the most popular cruise in the Bay of Islands on a full-day tour that includes the Cape Brett ‘Hole in the Rock.’ Departing Auckland, enjoy a coach ride through New Zealand’s Northland to the Waitangi Treaty House. Then board a high-speed catamaran to the Cape Brett Lighthouse and the Hole in the Rock on Motukokako Island. Includes hotel pickup and drop-off with an optional picnic lunch.
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  • 10 hours
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$210.90
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Helicopter Tours

Bay of Islands and Hole in the Rock Scenic Helicopter Tour

Discover the Bay of Islands by helicopter, with an optional landing at the Hole in the Rock. See Cape Brett from above during an aerial tour from Paihia, narrated by a professional pilot. Fly over Russell and Waitangi en route to the Hole in the Rock. Upgrade to land atop the iconic natural landmark, with an optional walk led by a Maori guide.
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  • Flexible
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$179.79
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  • Flexible
  • Free Cancellation


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