Skip to content

Best things to do in Bay of Islands

Discover the city through the eyes of locals. Find the best things to do, places to eat, and get priceless advice from the people who live here.

“Go at sunset and grab a table along the strand. Reservations recommended. Very romantic!”
38local recommendations
“A site of great cultural significance to New Zealand's indigenous and European people. This is where the country's bi-cultural nationhood was first formed wit the signing of a treaty in the late 1800s. ”
27local recommendations
“In terms of making the most of the Bay, I would have to recommend going to Waitangi, the "birthplace of a Nation" where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, which is a 5 minute drive away.”
16local recommendations
“I really enjoyed the tour through Pompallier House and learnt a lot about the history of Russell. Their gardens are lovely and afterwards there is the gift shop and also a Cafe. They serve up good coffee and their pastries are just the best! Beautiful setting and the views are awesome!”
12local recommendations
“Right at the end of Paihia Wharf, soak up the atmosphere at this popular restaurant. I can recommend the pork knuckle but you have to pre-order it as they run out! Call to book on 09 402 8296.”
18local recommendations
“Great to go on a Sunday between 3-6pm for Happy Hour Drinks and also listen to a Live Band!! Worth checking out- and the food is good to!!”
16local recommendations
“Lovely sunset dining. A bit more exclusive and limited seating so call for reservations!”
12local recommendations
“Learn the history: It was the first capital of Aotearoa ( New Zealand) Land of the Long White Cloud. The capitals true name is Kororareka ( Meaning Sweet Penguin) English name Russell. The locals still know Russell as Kororareka. Learn about how the colonials, whalers intermingled with the Maori how they traded how the missionaries came in to the Maori environment and transformed there ways. Lots and lots more never neverless interesting ”
8local recommendations
“Used to be part of the famous Duke but now under new ownership with a great Publican called Jake. friendly atmosphere, often has live music, sports to watch and a nice place for a pint of lager.”
10local recommendations
Grocery or Supermarket
“Or there is a larger Countdown at Waitangi. If you have a car and want to drive to Kerikeri there is also a larger Countdown or a New World Grocery Store for that little bit extra!!”
2local recommendations
“Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack has been running a massive BBQ low & slow style menu for over 10 years in New Zealand. Famous for our Ribs which started from on old American recipe, then developed to be our signature Kiwi BBQ sauce, to meet a New Zealand palate. We truly love ribs…and with over 18 tons of ribs we sell each year is testament to that! That’s just some of the story though…if our subtle charcoal smoked beef burgers don’t make Jimmy Jack’s a favourite then our healthy range of food will – with our salads, sizzle plates and vegetarian options. We have the most loved desserts, steaks, slow smoked favourites, fresh breads & seafood, right through to the largest selection of Rib boards. Jimm”
7local recommendations
“Nice trip across to an island, great walking track and swimming beaches and extraordinary views”
7local recommendations
Travel Agency
“You can book cruises around the islands etc or a trip to Cape Reinga. Also see my other recommendation and see Collete at The Russell Information Centre ”
6local recommendations
“Superb views and historic flag pole that dates back to disputes between the native Maoris and early British settlers”
6local recommendations
Point of Interest
“Community built and family friendly mountain biking trails in the Bay of Islands. If you don't have your own bikes then I can recommend hiring them from the entrance of the park, the very friendly Jonny & crew will hook you up.”
6local recommendations
“There are many quality local vineyards to try - my pick would be Omata Estate in Russell, for the good quality and value food, delicious wine and fabulous vistas.”
9local recommendations