The Undeniable Beauty Of The Bay Of Islands

The Bay of Islands is exactly what its name implies: a bay of stunning islands! This beautiful area resides in the Northland region of New Zealand's North Island and is close to the northern-most tip of the country. The bay is one of the most popular fishing, sailing and tourist destinations in the country and is the perfect place to holiday for families and couples alike.

Campervan hire New Zealand in the Bay of Islands is a unique experience that will allow you to explore every nook and cranny of this amazing place. There are so many places to stay that you will be spoilt for choice and finding yourself torn between which towns you like the most. Driving in your campervan along the coast is an enjoyable experience that you can take at your own pace. The ferries will allow you to take your campervan to many of the places you wish to visit so all you have to do is decide how much you can fit in!

The Bay of Islands is an irregular 16 kilometre-wide inlet that is nestled on the north-east coast. This natural harbour features several arms that stretch to the land, including the Waikare Inlet in the south and Kerikeri and Te Puna in the north-west. In total, there are over 150 islands in the bay, yet many of these are rarely explored. The endless beaches and islands, crystal clear aquamarine waters and the mountains of cool green mangroves in the background, give the bay stunning beauty and wonder and are essentially what attracts so many tourists year on end.

When visiting the Bay of Islands, you will come across four main centres that are the commercial hotspots of the region. These four towns include Paihia, its close neighbour, Russell, Waitangi and the portal settlement of Opua. All of these towns encompass the laid back nature of the bay and are all largely focused on seaside living. In these towns you will find many fine restaurants which offer the best gourmet cooking and the warmest hospitality. These fine dining experiences are just a taste of what the bay has to offer, but they certainly won't leave you disappointed.


The bustling, seaside town of Paihia is home to a healthy sprinkling of beaches and rocky peninsulas. Paihia is the perfect place to base yourself for exploration of the bay as it is within a central location to everything. Home to quaint seaside shops and business, this town depicts the very essence of seaside living and has a pleasant small-town atmosphere.

Paihia is also a popular base for exploration of the rest of the Northland. The town is located only a 40 minute drive to Kerikeri and its orchards and vineyards. It is also located a 5 minute drive from the port of Opua, which makes it the perfect place for those much loved water activities. Another close by attraction is the world famous, Ninety-Mile Beach, which you will find close to Cape Reinga. All of these natural attractions add to the allure of Paihia and will make you want to stay forever.


A lovely climate, interesting history and riveting entertainment await you in Russel, another placid township of the Bay of Islands. Here you can discover the elegant and historic buildings such as Pompallier House, Christ Church (New Zealand's oldest church) and the Shrine of St. Peter Chanel. These buildings, as well as the Russel Museum, depict the Maori/ European aspect of the town and will allow you to gain a broader understanding of the discovery of the bay.


Waitangi is within a very close proximity of Paihia and is home to many interesting walks along the coastline. Park your campervan in the Treaty House carpark and take a gentle walk inland to the thunder of the Haruru Falls. This stunning waterfall is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch and you will be able to take some amazing photos so that you can remember this sight forever.

Take some time to play a round of golf at the Waitangi Golf Club. You may not be an expert at golf, but that really won't matter because the views are enough to capture your attention. The awe-inspiring views over the bay allow you to enjoy the beautiful distant mountains and the scattered cruise ships and yachts in the harbour.


The port township of Opua is the natural connection point for sailors and is located at the juncture at the Waikare inlet, the Veronica Channel and the Kawakawa River. The town enjoys a subdued atmosphere, with the port abuzz with incoming and outgoing yachts, ferries and non-commercial traffic. The Opua Harbour and nearby beach are the primary points of activity and a stroll along the jetty is another must-do activity. The peacefulness of this town is fundamentally what will draw you in and make you never want to leave.

The Bay of Islands truly is a spectacular place to visit. There is no other place like it in New Zealand and perhaps even the world. The seaside beauty will take your breath away and will offer you an abundance of adventure and exploration that will rest in your memory forever.

Christine Barton