Bay Of Islands
If you are looking for an exquisite tropical getaway, then it should be your mission to visit the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. The beaches are some of the best in the world, with perfect white sand and crystal clear water. The weather is ideal, and if all you want to do is relax on the beach, you are in luck. There are enough beaches here to keep you happy for weeks. But if you would like to mix in a little culture with your beach time, then many locations within the Bay of Islands will suit your desires. The museums, parks, and historical sites are wonderful. The Bay of Islands is the most noteworthy sector of Northland, and this is also the home of the Waitangi National Reserve, where the Treaty of Waitangi was drafted and signed. After much deliberation, the Maori and European settlers came to an agreement here in 1840. Both governmental and land distribution decisions were made, coming after many years of hard fought struggle.
Vast open areas ideal for exploring complement the beaches of Bay of Islands. Many of the regions in this portion of New Zealand are quite unpopulated, so grab yourself a tour guide and start discovering the diversity and beauty of the countryside for yourself. The indigenous people of New Zealand have various cultures, depending on where their ancestors originated. The crime rate in the Bay of Islands is normally not very high, and it is generally a safe and peaceful place to be. If you are a beach lover, the one thing you can be assured of during your stay is that you will love the beaches of the Bay of Islands. If you enjoy great food, then you are also in luck. Visit the Bay and experience pleasure the New Zealand way.
Docking & Local Transportation
Cruise ships dock at the Port of Opua in the Bay of Islands. Road connections and several transportation options at the port link you to all the destinations surrounding the bay.
If time is precious during your stay here, you may want to take an organized one-day tour of the Bay of Islands, courtesy of Kiwi Experience (09/366-9830). Friendly and knowledgeable guides will educate you about the culture and geography of this fascinating area. Rental car service is available nearby if you would like to travel around the Bay on your own. Contact the Bay of Islands Visitors Centre (09/402-7345) for more information.
Kelly Tarlton's Museum of Shipwrecks is located next to the Pahia-Waitangi Bridge (09/402-7018) and is certain to captivate the entire family. This entertaining site is both a memorial and a museum. The waters off New Zealand's shores have claimed many lives and dozens of ships. Hundreds of fascinating remains and artifacts from these sunken sea vessels are on display here at the museum. In his day, Kelly Tarlton made it his life's passion to treasure hunt for all the deep-sea relics he could excavate from the bottom of the ocean. Along with all these interesting finds are the corresponding photographs that picture the actual discoveries.
Beaches and Outdoor Activities
The white-sand beaches of the Bay of Islands are truly spectacular. Both picturesque and enjoyable, they are the perfect destination for water sports, swimming, or just relaxing. There are tons of great locations, but some of the best are found on the Kerikeri Peninsula. Here the water is a sparkling turquoise-blue, and the amenities are plentiful. The conditions are ideal for the whole family, and the scenery is splendid.
To meet all your golf expectations, visit the Waitangi Golf Course (09/402-7713) where you can rent clubs and play on the spectacular 18-hole course. It is located on the waterfront, and it is so pretty that even if you don't have your best game you will still leave relaxed. The scuba diving in the Bay of Islands is awesome, and Dive North (09/402-7079) is the best company to contact to make arrangements. The Rainbow Warrior wreck is one of the premier dives in New Zealand, and is as eerie as it is extraordinary.
The Rocket Café & Robbs Fruit Winery is located on Kerikeri Road (09/407-3100). The restaurant is famous locally, having been voted the best café in Northland twice. The selection is great, and the food is scrumptious. The view out of the windows is fabulous, and both the entrees and the desserts will dazzle your taste buds. Some of the best dishes include the quiches, calzones, and pastas. For dessert, try one of the freshly baked pies. They are better than mama ever made! Only Seafood can be found at 40 Marsden Rd. (09/402-6066) and offers outstanding seafood cuisine. The sushi is top notch, the salmon fillet is delicious, and the Provencale grilled and accompanied by teriyaki sauce is supreme. For a light meal, try one of the super salads.
The area around the Bay of Islands Visitor Information Centre Paihia is a pleasant spot where you can take a break from the outdoors and do a little shopping. The Information Centre is located at the Maritime Reserve in Paihia (09/402-7345) and can provide you with everything you will need to track down the store to suit your particular needs. There are a number of shops in the area that specialize in souvenirs, jewelry, and handicrafts.