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New Zealand is known largely for two things: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Rugby. 

However, it’s time this country got its recognition for having one of the greatest natural harbours in the Pacific. 

Bay of Islands is a group of 144 subtropical islands located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean just off the coast of New Zealand. 

Thanks to its vast beaches, indigenous culture, and big-game fishing industry, the Bay of Islands is considered by many to be one of the most picturesque and exciting retreat locations in the world.

Here is a list of 10 exciting things to do while visiting the Bay of Islands.

bay of island

1. Parasailing

Bay of Islands spectacular ocean views makes it the perfect place for parasailing. This fun activity involves being secured by a harness to a canopy-style parachute then flown over 1,000 feet into the air while tethered to a speed boat. It’s a safe and secure ride with a slow ascent and gentle return. You can enjoy 60 to 90 minutes in the bay with at least 10 minutes of airtime per ride.

Go as a pair or go solo.

And if parasailing isn’t for you, there is an option available to just be a spectator and enjoy the view from sea level. Whether looking down at the sea or outwards at the land in the distance from the sky these breathtaking views are a sight to be seen.

2. Sky Tour

For those who want to soar even higher into the sky, a sky tour is an excellent activity for you. Get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful waters, majestic forest, and golden beaches from the air.

There are two methods of flight to choose from. You can take in the gorgeous coastline scenery by airplane or soar through the Bay of Islands blue sky in a helicopter.

A scenic flight tour is a fascinating and time-effective way to experience as much of the beauty of the island as possible.

3. Skydiving

Extreme thrill seekers often gravitate towards this adventurous activity. Skilled skydivers can experience the ultimate rush as they free-fall from high altitudes reaching a speed of 200km per hour on a solo dive. And beginner skydivers can enjoy as much as 70-seconds suspended in the air in a safe tandem flight.

When the parachute activates you will feel a near-weightless sensation as you drift through the bright sky and relish in New Zealand’s sun.

tandem, skydive, fun

4. Scuba Diving

If you would prefer to be underwater rather than above it, scuba diving is the activity for you. On a dive trip, you’re sure to find Bay of Islands marine life impressive. And an exclusive dive site is a few meters under the sea waiting to be explored.

Diving can be very exhilarating whether exploring as a couple or diving with the whole family. Gear is easy to rent and transportation to the ocean dive sites can be conveniently chartered.

5. Cruise the “Hole in the Rock”

No trip to the Bay of Islands is complete without passing through the historic “Hole in the Rock”. Charter a trailer-boat, powerboat, or yacht and sail the waters on a boat tour which will take you right to the base of the iconic rock. Then as long as weather conditions permit your boating party will pass through the giant hole in the rock.

You’ll also travel near Cape Brett Lighthouse on the way. So be prepared to take pictures or memorialize the event with a video recording of you and your party as you pass through the monumental rock.

Dolphin Cruise to the Hole in the Rock

Price: 110$ per person

hole of the rock

6. Whale and Dolphin Watching

Join a crew of experienced sailors trained in locating whales, dolphins, and other types of sea life out in the deep on an ocean tour. Enjoy the informative commentators on the crew as they take you across the same routes that colonial whalers traveled centuries ago.

And in a secluded area of the bay, the ship will drop the anchor. At that time, you’ll get the opportunity to swim with Bottle Nosed Dolphins in a controlled safe zone if you so desire.

Dolphin Cruise to the Hole in the Rock

Price: 110$ per person

delphin watch
dolphin watch

7. Walks and Hikes

When pursuing exciting things to do at the Bay of Islands, adventures in the sky and on the water are often at the top of the list. However, there are also plenty of activities for land-lovers. For example, there are several walking and hiking trails available to suit almost any level of fitness.

Choose a short trail hike, half-day trek, or overnight camping adventure. Go out on a land expedition and explore the beauty of the Bay of Islands up close.

8. Visit Cultural Heritage Museum

Unbeknownst to some, the Bay of Islands is long considered the birthplace of the island country of New Zealand. Learn about the original Maori culture and the colonial history of this beautiful island in a tour of the Cultural Heritage Museum. There, you can visit the actual house where the British signed the treaty that became New Zealand’s founding document.

Immerse yourself in the rich history of the island with interactive displays and witness a thrilling cultural performance as part of the tour. There is so much history to be experienced.


9. 90 Mile Beach

If you are a beach goer this is the place where you will feel right at home. The most interesting thing about 90 Mile Beach is that contrary to its name it is in fact 54 miles long. Why the name discrepancy?

According to local islanders, the beach received its name based on how long it took to travel the length of the beach on horseback. However, they did not account for how much slower horses travel in the sand. At any rate, it’s a beach worth seeing for yourself.

10. Wineries

Lastly, one can’t forget to visit the Bay of Islands’ wide variety of wineries. All the wine brewed in the island’s vineyards is bottled in small batches. The limited-edition runs guarantee the wine tasting will be a unique experience available only on the island.

Along with the wine, the beautiful surroundings of each winery make them an optimum location to hold a special event such as a wedding.



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  1. I love how many things there are to do in such close proximity! Would love to do pretty much most of these activities although I would be terrified to do skydiving!

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