BAY OF ISLANDS, NEW ZEALAND
The Bay of Islands enjoys a sub-tropical climate. A typical summer has long spells of sunshine, warm balmy evenings and runs from November to early April, January and February being the hottest months. Winters are mostly mild. Much of the Bay’s hundreds of miles of coastline remain unspoiled, an aquatic paradise, a truly amazing playground teeming with wildlife and natural wonders to be shared and enjoyed by the whole world.
A group of 150 islands huddled in their large bay on the east Northland coast has become a major draw for holidaymakers, who come for waters ports and superb coastal scenery. This area is also of huge historic significance, as the site of the signing of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, the document that set in train New Zealand's bi-cultural society. You can explore the islands-now designated a Historic and Maritime Park-by kayak, yacht, or sailing ship; you can also go fishing for marlin or shark, dive among shoals of blue maomao, swim with dolphins, bask on the beaches or jump out of a plane.
The Bay of Islands region has the finest maritime park in New Zealand with the 144 Islands and secluded bays. The Bay has an abundance of marine life, including the big marlin, whales, penguins, dolphins, gannets and many other species. With its pristine natural environment is the gathering place in the South Pacific for overseas sailing yachts on world cruises, international sport fishermen, golfers and marine enthusiasts.
Most facilities are based in Paihia. From here a ferry crosses the bay to the small village of Russell. State Highway 1 runs to the bay, though a more interesting route is via the Old Russell Road, which leaves SH 1 for the coast at Whakapara, about 26km (16 miles) north of Whangarei. You reach the coast at Helena Bay, which, along with Whananaki and Mimiwhangata to the south and the Whangaruru Peninsula to the north, offers remote and beautiful coastal scenery. From Whangaruru the road passes the neck of the beautiful Cape Brett Peninsula before turning inland and slowly negotiating its way to Russell.