With two days in the Bay of Islands, you can enjoy lots of the activities that have made this area one of Auckland locals’ favorite holiday destinations. You can go cruising, hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, sailing, fishing, and dolphin watching, and also learn about the country’s origins. Here’s how to spend two days in the Bay of Islands.
Day 1: The Coastal Route
Morning: Hop on a bike, and explore the Twin Coast Cycle Trail, a series of mostly flat dedicated bike paths and country roads extending all the way to Hokianga Harbour. Rent a bicycle for a self-guided trip, or opt for a guided excursion with stops to learn more about the region.
Afternoon: This afternoon, explore the Bay of Islands on a scenic cruise. You have your choice of setting sail from Russell or Paihia aboard a sailboat, high-speed catamaran, or wildlife-viewing boat. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and little blue penguins, and don’t miss a chance to swim, snorkel, or hike.
Night: If a 2- to 6-hour sail simply isn’t enough time on the water, book an overnight cruise around the Bay of Islands, and drop anchor in a tucked-away cove. Enjoy evening fishing and night kayaking along with stargazing, then wake up to the sunrise for another swim.
Day 2: Exploring Above and Beyond
Morning: Start your day with an excursion that takes you out of town and off the beaten path. Guided tours of the area’s natural features include kayaking trips to waterfalls on the Waitangi River or hiking excursions into a kauri forest. Less active travelers can stroll and sightsee in historic Kerikeri.
Afternoon: See the Bay of Islands from above: You can take a scenic flight and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the coastline all the way to Cape Reinga, board a helicopter bound for the Hole in the Rock, or experience the thrill of parasailing or free falling on a skydiving adventure.
Night: The controversial treaty between the Maori people and the British Crown was signed at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, and the historic site is only a half-hour stroll along the beach from Paihia. Explore the grounds, then learn more about Maori culture with a concert and a hangi dinner.