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Bay of Islands

The Hole in the Rock

One of the country’s top destinations and a must if you’re heading north of Auckland in summer, the Bay of Islands features turquoise waters, 144 islands and islets, beautiful beaches, big-game fishing, yachting, boating, diving and wildlife viewing among other activities.

While the bay covers a huge area, you’ll want to stay in either Paihia or Russell, two small towns linked by a 10-minute ferry ride, and ensure to visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the treaty between Māori and the British Crown was first signed in 1840. The treaty remains a key in Māori-Pakeha relations and Waitangi Day Celebrations on February 6 each year are viewed as New Zealand Day.

The mid-August Bay of Islands Jazz & Blues Festival is another great time to be in the area.

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Bay of Islands


Hub for the Bay of Islands


Historic hell-hole of the Pacific

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

NZ's most significant historic place

Text © Craig McLachlan

Image by Matt Lemmon