The Bay of Islands is a New Zealand enclave encompassing more than 140 subtropical islands next to the country’s North Island. It’s known for its undeveloped beaches, big-game fishing and Maori cultural artefacts. It’s also home to the 19th-century whaling port of Russell, whose waterfront promenade is lined with remnants from its days as the country’s first colonial capital.
It is one of the most popular fishing, sailing and tourist destinations in the country, and has been renowned internationally for its big-game fishing since American author Zane Grey publicized it in the 1930s.
A three-hour drive or 35 minute flight north of Auckland, the Bay of Islands encompasses 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula and includes the boutique towns of Opua, Paihia, Russell and Kerikeri.
A choice of tour operators in the region offer excellent trips by sea or air to spectacular Cape Brett and the ‘Hole in the Rock’ on Piercy Island.