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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

Karl P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

Great day out sailing around the Bay of Islands, Friendly crew, great food we would recommend this trip to anyone

Andrew k P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Book it now, you will have a truly wonderful day to treasure. Brilliant friendly crew, making all ship mates feel at ease.
At 56 it was great to have the opportunity and encouragement to climb the rigging and even take the helm of this great ship.
Ask the crew about the boats history documented in two books.
Lunch was great too.

Reno N

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Had an amazing sail out in the Bay of Islands. The rope swing off the side was fantastic. It was great to be supporting educational opportunities for local kids and to have a blast doing it. Our crew was very knowledgeable and friendly. The boat is designed to sail with a very small crew of 4 or 5 people, so while there were opportunities for the 50 odd passengers to help sail the Tucker if they wanted to, it was first-come first-serve and I didn't get a chance to participate as much as I was hoping to. That didn't matter though, because we spent a lot of time out on the bowsprit and up in the rigging just hanging out. Great time from start to finish!

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!

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