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Sail the Bay of Islands on a working tall ship aboard the famed ‘R. Tucker Thompson,’ built in the tradition of a 100-year-old Northland schooner. Ply the waters of the pristine bay, where you can help hoist the sails, climb the rigging or simply relax on board, then swim while anchored in a sheltered bay in the maritime park. Enjoy morning tea and a barbecue lunch, with an optional complimentary ferry ride from Paihia to Russell, where your vessel departs.


  • Half-day R. Tucker Thompson tall ship cruise in the Bay of Islands
  • Sail the waters on a replica vintage schooner
  • Bite into fresh scones, sip cream tea and enjoy a BBQ lunch served on board
  • Anchor at a secluded bay for a swim
  • Includes round-trip ferry transport from Paihia to Russell, if option selected

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Bay of Islands Tall Ship Sailing on 'R. Tucker Thompson' Including BBQ Lunch

Bay of Islands Tall Ship Sailing on R. Tucker Thompson

Make your way to the Russell wharf and board the tall ship R. Tucker Thompson, a working Northland schooner that has sailed the world. If departing from Paihia, you’ll take the 30-minute Fullers Bay Belle Ferry across to Russell (round-trip ferry ticket included if selected at booking). 

Embark on a 5.5-hour sailing tour through the Bay of Islands, and enjoy the New Zealand tradition of morning tea with freshly baked scones and Devonshire tea brewed in the galley. You can take the helm, help set the sails or just catch the breeze on the spacious deck while you listen to tales from the crew about the tall ship's adventures at sea.

Your skipper anchors the R. Tucker Thompson in a sheltered cove at lunchtime. Step ashore at one of the bay’s secluded islands or swing from the yardarm and splash into the water for a swim. With all this sea air and activity you'll have a hearty appetite, taken care of by a tasty barbecue lunch cooked on board. 

Then climb the rigging to keep a lookout for fairy penguins, dolphins and seabirds on the return to Russell.

Customer Reviews

Anthony M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

A great day and well worth it. Getting to see isolated bays you can't approach from land.
Crew very friendly and informative.

Jenny F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

Fabulous day out despite changes to date because of bad weather - communicated this well and fitted us in the following day
Lunch tasty but not generous , particularly for vegetarians

Mike C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

Great experience, fun climbing the rigging. Very good BBQ chicken lunch. Friendly and helpful crew.

Roger B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

A great introduction to what New Zealand has to offer. Great views seen in the quiet of sail rather than noise of motor power. Steve and crew kept us entertained and the bbq lunch was excellent.

Mike C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

Had a wonderful ship ride with a friendly crew, delicious food on a great boat!

Scott P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

One of the best days I have ever had. Professional and fun crew made everyone feel at ease - what an awesome day!

Jim R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

The cruise and crew were amazing. The trip to an uninhabited island was interesting. We had a very nice lunch of chicken and salad. Climbing the mast was made easy and fun. Great day!

Christine P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

A great trip. The crew were wonderful, the lunch really tasty and it was the highlight of our trip to the Bay of Islands. My husband got to climb the rigging. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.

Kirk A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

We had a great time with the crew and captain. My wife Bonnie climbed the rigging I was chicken, we had an awesome lunch, a great hike and a great experience. The icing on the cake was when three killer whales swam along side of us and gave us some terrific photos. We recommend this trip to anyone and will go again when we return to New Zealand next year.

Jonathan S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2016

Excellent crew and experience

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