bay of islands

Did you know that New Zealand's Bay of Islands is made up of 144 islands? The best way to explore the islands is by booking a day sailing tour from the little town of Paihia, north of Auckland. Cat from Base Bay of Islands was lucky to try out a brand new tour with Fullers Great Sights. She loved it so much that she wanted to share her experience...


One of my favourite ways to spend a sunny afternoon is out on the water in the Bay of Islands. Thanks to Fullers, and their new range of summer boat trips, they are making it easier for everyone to enjoy a morning or afternoon out among the islands.

bay of islands

One of the newest, is the Cliffs and Caves Boat Tour. Easily one of their cheapest activities and it gives a good coverage of the bay: taking you in and out of some of the closer islands, looking at the different rock formations and visiting some of the caves that the Bay has to offer. The trip is very versatile and has interesting features to see on both the East and West side of the Bay. So regardless of the weather or wind you won’t be disappointed with what there is to offer. And if the swell is playing in your favour the boat will even creep right up into one of the larger caves... now that’s pretty cool.

paihia caves

A plus side to this trip is that it is not crammed full, it is one of their smaller, speedier boats. This offers opportunities to move around and get pictures from all sides of the boat when they are stopped, so you don’t miss out on that awesome photo of a caves, rock formations or wildlife. The boat flies over the water with a comfortable yet thrilling speed and before they return you to either Russell or Paihia will make a stop on one of the nearby islands. Here you get about 30 mins to do as you please. We decided we’d hike up a track to the top of one of the hills for an amazing view of the bay. It was a gorgeous view and definitely worth all the huffing and puffing on the way up. If walking up hills isn’t your thing, chill on the secluded beach, can’t complain with that option either!

great sights cliff and caves tour

The cliffs and caves tour also has the ability to change its format somewhat when you book and they can drop you on the largest of the islands; Urupukapuka, after your, tour for you to do the breath taking 6km walk around the island. There is then the option of few different return pick ups, so up to you how fast you want to do it. If you’re unsure what to do with your time, get out on the water... you won’t be disappointed!

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