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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

David P USA

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

Our only complaint was with the weather of that day, we had light rain and leaden skies and sea. But we especially enjoyed the Council House, the Maori guide was incredibly knowledgeable, the history extremely enlightening, the war canoes most impressive. The lunch that was provided was perfect. Russell was most interesting and we had a great guide there. We got shopping in, too! The sun did come out on the way back to Auckland. Our driver on the long runs back and forth was informative and took breaks from talking at times so we felt a good balance was held. We'd do it again on a nicer day!

Terrence J P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

A great day visiting the birthplace of New Zealand. The Bay of Islands is picturesque.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

The place is totally worth the visit!! The driver was great!!!

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.

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