The Bay of Islands is the birthplace of New Zealand, 200 km north of Auckland city and 160 km short of the very top of the country at Cape Reinga.
The early history of the European in New Zealand focuses on The Treaty of Waitangi and the grounds where it was signed. The Treaty House, built in 1832 is open for visitors, as is the carved Marae (maori meeting house). A cultural experience is part of the tour, with dancing, singing, and poi. Waitangi means weeping waters.
Stay for an evening Hangi and Concert. A Hangi is a Maori traditional meal cooked in an underground oven.
The oldest stone building surviving in New Zealand is the Stone Store at Kerikeri (Maori for digging). The store is a delightful museum of yesteryear. Next to the Stone Store is the oldest wooden building in New Zealand, Kemp House. Over the river find Maori history at Rewa’s Village. The first capital of New Zealand was Russell and there you will find a church with bullet holes remaining from the Maori Wars in the 1840s. Also here you will find Pompallier Mission. See how thick the walls are!
The Bay of Islands is a wonderful area for water activities. Famous for deep sea fishing and boating, try an adventurous jet boat, ‘Mack Attack’ or ‘Excitor’, out amongst the 144 islands of the Bay. The ‘Cream Trip’ from ‘Fullers’ is also a great tour, going through the “Hole in the Rock’. Sail the Bay on a tall ship- the ‘R Tucker Thompson’. Travel to the top of New Zealand in a bus tour, via 90-mile beach. Drive across to the west coast to see the giant Kauri trees in Waipoua Forest.