Regarded as the birthplace of New Zealand, the Bay of Islands is a spectacular National Maritime Park. Learn more of the nation’s early history whilst enjoying & experiencing the many marine and land based activities & attractions available in this subtropical region.
Bay of Islands
The region of Northland and the Bay of Islands stretches north from Auckland, towards the warm waters of Polynesia, the ancestral home of New Zealand’s first inhabitants.
The relaxed, sunny lifestyle of Northland springs from its subtropical climate and the myriad of beautiful islands, bays and beaches around the coastline. The people of the North have a passion for water sport - surfing, boating, game fishing, sailing and diving. They also have a deep appreciation of the region’s fascinating Maori and European history.
It is believed that the first Polynesian voyagers arrived in this region during the 11th century, but it wasn’t until after the landing of the British sea voyager Captain Cook in 1769 that missionaries, whalers and traders arrived. The Treaty of Waitangi, the document that founded bicultural New Zealand, was signed in the Bay of Islands in 1840. The legacy of Northland’s earliest European settlers can be seen in the form of historical buildings and museums that provide a unique insight into colonial New Zealand.
Much of Northlands’ extensive coastline remains unspoilt - an aquatic playground for adventure activities and escapist relaxation. Whangarei and Opua are renowned throughout the Pacific as attractive havens for yachts. You’ll find that Maori culture is still very much alive in this region (32 percent of the population are Maori) and you’ll also enjoy the shopping, dining and entertainment possibilities that stem from the distinctive local culture - which embraces art, creativity, organic farming and alternative thinking.