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. There are loads of Bay of Islands sailing trips to choose from; cruise on a yacht, head out on a speedboat, even sail on a pirate ship!
Most of the Bay of Islands sailing trips also give you the opportunity to swim, and if you're lucky you might even be swimming beside some wild dolphins. And believe me when I say there's nothing better than swimming with dolphins that choose to swim with you!
Below we'll explore just 2 of the many sailing trips you can choose from.
Cliff and Caves - Fullers Great Sights
Cat from Base Bay of Islands was lucky to try out the Cliff and Caves 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.
The Cliffs and Caves Boat Tour is 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.
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!
R Tucker Thompson - Pirate Ship!
Jess, Base Bay of Islands superstar, was lucky enough to explore this New Zealand paradise by boat on a day trip with R. Tucker Thompson. This is how it went...
Cruise through the Islands in style on your very own pirate ship! Ok, maybe not a real pirate ship, but the R Tucker Thompson sure feels like it with its huge masts and rigging and ‘big old wooden boat’ feel to it.
They do day sails, and evening sails. So, whatever you fancy they got it. Setting off from Russell you can haul up the sails (I thought I was semi fit before I helped with this task!!), climb the rigging and even go out to the very front of the boat and have your own ‘Titanic’ moment! Or if that sounds like too much work, you can simply sit back and enjoy the breeze, sip on a wine and chat to their amazing crew.
The Tucker is part of a charity organisation that aims to help children of varying backgrounds enjoy new experiences. In winter they take groups of kids out sailing for a week at a time! The kids have to take part in all the different activities of a Tall Ship Sailor. So in the summer months when they take out all sorts of tourists, this is their chance to raise money for a good cause and provide such a unique experience for these kids.
If you like a good cheesy voiceover to a video, watch this to get a taste of what the R Tucker Thompson Bay of Islands sailing experience is all about...
If you are someone that thinks they have “done it all”, trust me you haven’t until you have had a scone with cream and jam while hanging on for dear life out on the bow of the boat. I can now say I’m one step closer to the “done it all” status. Not only is it a full day sailing the high seas, but they serve up a mean tasty lunch during their lunchtime Island stop. You can also jump from the boat and have a swim or venture onto one of the islands for some photo ops to die for during your lunchtime stop!
Go be a pirate for a day! Join the Tucker crew!
Need somewhere to stay? Head to Base Backpackers Paihia.
Main Image - Alistair Guthrie - Tourism New Zealand