When you have completed cycling (or before you start) the Twin Coast CycleTrail, why not stay longer and enjoy some of the other activities that the Bay of Islands/Hokianga Harbour has to offer.
Bay of Islands
The beautiful Bay of Islands is a stunning region made up of 144 islands dotted throughout waters abundant in marine life. It’s just three hours north of Auckland by road, but feels like a world away from city life. Your journey to the Northland region will take you through beautiful lush countryside, rural towns and past golden sandy beaches to the waterfront township of Paihia. Northland is regarded as the birthplace of New Zealand as it was here that Kupe, believed to be the first Māori voyager, arrived on its shores more than 1000 years ago; and it was just a short distance from Paihia that the historic Treaty of Waitangi between Māori and the Crown was signed in 1840, establishing a relationship that is still at the heart of New Zealand’s governance today.
There are Bay of Islands day tours to suit every traveller. Go swimming with dolphins, see the natural wonder that is the Hole in the Rock on an island cruise and enjoy spotting all kinds of birds and marine life from the boat – whales, dolphins, seals and penguins are all frequent visitors. Visit historic Russell – today a charming historic village of boutique shops and eateries, but once a lawless open port known as the ‘Hell Hole of the Pacific’.
From Paihia you can take a Cape Reinga tour to the very tip of New Zealand and see the spot where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean collide. During your tour you’ll drive along the sand on spectacular Ninety Mile Beach, sand-surf down giant dunes (if you’re feeling adventurous!) and visit ancient native kauri trees in the Puketi Forest. Māori legend holds that Cape Reinga is the point from which departed spirits leave on their journey to their homeland – stand in this deeply spiritual place, gaze out to sea and immerse yourself in the peaceful atmosphere.
Experience the Bay of Islands on this premium cruise as you discover the unique scenery, history, and culture of this amazing destination. Discover the Bay carries smaller groups so that you can experience the bay at its best. This cruise travels through the 144 islands, visits the Hole in the Rock and travels through the arch. Visit the picturesque Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island, the largest island also home to many rare and endangered birds. The cruise includes a refreshing BBQ lunch.
Check out the Conservation Centre on the island and then walk on the tracks or spot the fish life in the bay with a kayak or paddleboard. An optional stop at the historic town of Russell is available, and we’ll give you a return ticket to come back to Paihia at a later time, so join us in the Bay of Islands on this Unique Amazing Experience waiting for you.
A trip to the Wairere Boulders Nature Park (Classified as an Outstanding Natural Feature worldwide), is something not to be missed. There are a range of walks lasting for between 40 minutes and 3 hours, the scenery and sub-tropical rain forest are something to behold.
You can rent kayaks and experience the valley in a completely different way. Two hours either side of high tide you can set off and kayak up the valley between the boulders, then head out towards the Hokianga harbour through the mangroves. There are lots of distractions along the way; from wildlife to sneaky side streams and boulders just asking to be jumped off. You can even kayak all the way to the Horeke Hotel for lunch and we’ll pick you up and bring you and the kayaks back.