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This day trip from Auckland to the Bay of Islands covers historical sites of New Zealand’s Northland, including the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and the seaport of Russell. Visit the Waitangi Treaty House, then take a ferry from Paihia to the first European settlement where a local guide leads you on an insightful tour. Opt for lunch, and venture into the shops, museums and cafes of Russell during your free time, before hotel drop-off in Auckland by coach.


  • Bay of Islands day trip from Auckland
  • Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and take a guided tour of the Waitangi Treaty House
  • See a traditional Maori meeting house and a huge waka (war canoe)
  • Take the Bay of Islands ferry from Paihia to the town of Russell, site of New Zealand's first European settlement
  • See the highlights of Russell, including the Pompallier Mission, Christ Church, and Flagstaff Hill
  • Have free time to check out the beaches, cafes, shops and museums at your leisure
  • Lunch included (if option selected)

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Bay of Islands Day Tour from Auckland

Maori Statue, Waitangi

Board your comfortable coach upon pickup from your hotel or the Sky City coach terminal in Auckland, then settle in for the approximate 3-hour drive to Paihia, the starting point for your Bay of Islands tour.

Make use of complimentary onboard Wi-Fi as you motor along this scenic route through New Zealand’s Northland. On arrival, disembark for the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds and learn how the nation’s founding document — the Treaty of Waitangi — was signed between the British Crown and 43 Maori chiefs. Peruse informational displays and a copy of the 1840 treaty on a tour of the Waitangi Treaty House museum, erected as a private home in 1832.

Admire the ornately carved Maori meeting house and on-site waka (war canoe), constructed from enormous logs, before a quick ferry ride delivers you to the quaint town of Russell.

Board a coach for a 1-hour tour of what was formerly considered the 'Hellhole of the Pacific.’ Your guide narrates Russell’s main sights as you pass by Christ Church, the Pompallier Mission and New Zealand’s oldest pub. Snap photos of the Bay of Islands from the summit of Flagstaff Hill, before you have free time to relax in town. 

Perhaps explore the Maori art at one of the galleries, stroll the waterfront or settle in at a cafe (lunch included if option selected). Then re-board the coach and conclude your day trip with a return to Auckland and drop-off at your hotel.

Customer Reviews

Lesley B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Excellent driver and tour guides. Very informative. Lovely place to visit and so glad we made it part of our trip

Getbusytraveling United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Beautiful tour. Highly recommend

Tess H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

Such an enjoyable trip! Rachel was great, funny and so accommodating! Highly recommend!

Danielle V

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2016

Long drive but bay of islands is really nice, we had nice weather, saw a lot of dolphins and sealions.

Jennifer G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2016

Ben was a great tour guide who shared authentic experiences as a New Zealander. He also has a great sense of humor. He let the tour very precisely, giving passengers the time they needed to see things, yet keeping us to schedule. I personally enjoyed the Bay of Islands tour, with the added bonus of seeing the island of Russell. It is a long day, but the bus is comfortable, and is a great way to see things if your time is short.

Molly D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

Our guide/driver made the trip organized and entertaining! Beautiful area to visit, strongly recommend if you only have one day to spend in the Bay of Islands.

Sotheary M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

The trip to and from the Bay of Islands was a long ride, but it was definitely worth it. This place is so beautiful and definitely a must see. I would recommend the tour that includes overnight stay because there is so much to do in this area.

Catherine P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

Long journey but comfortable and the driver was great. The treaty ground talk was especially interesting the guide explained the history really well.

Katherine R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

Great full day tour of this wonderful area. Bay of Islands is a must see destination in New Zealand.

Claude I

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

It's a long bus ride 4 hrs from Auckland to Bay of Islands, but well worth it. If you want to see some of New Zealand's countryside--the green rolling hills, the deep blue lakes, the herds of fat sheep and dairy cows--this is an excellent choice. Bay of Islands is a stunningly beautiful area. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are pristine and lovely. It is easy to see why they each decided to settle there. The ferry to Russell, once the Hell Hole of the Pacific was a sunny 10-minute ride across sparkling waters to a sleepy little holiday town. No pirates left. Rachel, our guide, was super organized, very informative, and gave us a good overview of the area and New Zealand in general. A great day!

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