It’s December. Temperatures are on the rise and around the country, we have begun to shake off the shackles of the lockdown (Aucklanders, you can finally go places!) If you’re planning to travel, can we be cheeky and ask you to visit us in the Bay of Islands?
Here are a few things to not miss out on if you’re planning a road trip around Bay of Islands:
1. Getting some ‘vitamin sea’
No one comes to the Bay of Islands and goes back without visiting our stunning beaches. The hugely popular Paihia offers a variety of water adventures from kayaking, scuba diving, sailing and parasailing, as well as dolphin-viewing cruises or a trip to the famous Hole in the Wall. Or if you’d rather keep it simple, you can unwind at the beautiful Paihia Beach.
2. Experience history
The Bay of Islands is home to some of the most significant historic places in New Zealand. North of Paihia is Waitangi, where the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed in 1840. Head over to the Treaty Grounds to immerse yourself in Aotearoa’s history and Māori culture, including two contemporary museums.
To the east of Paihia is Russell, the first Pakeha settlement in New Zealand. Take the vehicle ferry from Opua over to Okiato before making your way to Russell and its old town charm. There are a number of cafes, restaurants, galleries and buildings with colonial architecture to keep you busy for a whole day.
3. Say hello to glowworms
If you are travelling with children, the Waiomio Glowworm Caves are sure to be a fascinating experience. These lesser known caves, in comparison to Waitomo, are located south of Kawakawa and have an hour-long guided tour. New Zealand Glowworms (Arachnocampa luminosa) thrive in damp, dark environments like these limestone caves and thousands of them can be seen here.
4. Hiking in the Puketi Forest
If you are someone who loves a hike, there’s something for you too in the Bay of Islands. Located north west of Kerikeri, the Puketi Forest has six tracks ranging from easy to advanced, including some for wheelchair users. The forest is home to majestic ancient kauris, podocarps and a number of native birds. Take your kids for a walk or go mountain biking.
5. Oi oyster!
A trip to the Bay of Islands is incomplete without having oysters. The Bay of Islands can spoil you with its delicious, fresh seafood options. There are a number of restaurants serving this and more, as well as wineries, especially in Russell and the nearby fruit-producing Kerikeri.
A great way to experience all of the Bay of Islands is to drive around and take in the beauty at your own pace. Better still, do the trip in an eco-friendly car. Blue Star’s hybrid car rentals ensure your travels are greener and better for the planet. As a small locally-owned business, we offer not only great vehicles (like 8-seater vans for large families, or compact cars) but also friendly service and great local tips. Book a car for summer today.