The Bay of Islands in New Zealand is a stunning paradise with the bluest of waters filled with islands stretching as far as the eye can see. It is a top fishing, sailing, and holiday destination within New Zealand and is world-renowned for their big game fishing. There are about 144 islands within the bay where you can enjoy beach and water activities, go exploring on one of the many nature walks, swim with dolphins, charter a boat to go fishing, surfing, and much more.
Although there are plenty of tour companies around the islands, many will agree that the best tours are the ones given by the locals. Plus, you can never go wrong helping the local economy. A few friendly travellers and I went on a Waka tour with some of the local Maori people.
Waka, a Maori wood crafted-hand painted watercraft, is essentially a canoe. Manned with our two tour guides, we set out visiting some of the islands, went on a nature walk, and reached high up lookout points that presented stunning scenery of the bay. Our guide, who referred to himself as “The Power” was quite knowledgeable about the area’s history, sang Maori songs and told old folklore and tales.
After jumping in the warm waters for a swim, we had lunch and a drink or two on one of the islands. I would highly recommend this tour or one similar to it, but if you’re someone not particularly physically fit, this tour can become exhausting due to the extensive amount of paddling.
Later on in the day we went on a boat cruise that jetted out to the famous Hole in the Rock. It is exactly what it sounds like, a giant hole in a rock created by waves and wind over centuries, but still one of most naturally beautiful sites in New Zealand. The island itself was named Piercy Island by Captain Cook – otherwise known as Motukokako in the Maori language. You can hire a boat or take a number of boat tours to head out and see it.
The night life commences in the many open air bars and beach styled restaurants after a long day at the beach. During my experience on the nights I spent, the locals knew how to get down.
A Fun Fact:
In a 2006 study, the Bay of Islands was found to have the second bluest sky in the world, after Rio de Janeiro.