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Weekend in the Bay of Islands

June 7, 2023

A trip to the Bay of Islands is a great way to spend your weekend. There is something for everyone from historic sites, popular markets, wineries, and amazing scenery to take in.

Book in at the Duke of Marlborough on the waterfront of Russell. The Duke can lay claim to holding New Zealand’s first liquor licence (1840). Choose from a range of beautiful rooms and enjoy a bite to the eat at the hotel’s restaurant.

From the Duke you can travel a short distance to Omata Estate. The winery offers some great tasting wines from vines you can see as you look out over the Bay of Islands. Try one of their platters with local cheeses to go with your favourite drink.

There are also a number of popular eateries and historic locations to visit while you are in Kororāreka (Russell) – nearby Okiato was New Zealand’s first capital.

Catch the water taxi from Russell or Paihia and head out to Urupukapuka Island – one of the Bay’s pest free islands. Stop in for some fish and chips or head out on the Island’s track, a 7.3km circular trail around the outer parts of the island. The walk is easy.

It goes through native and regenerating bush, alongside beaches and steep cliffs. Enjoy seeing a large population of native birds and fish at the wharf in the protected area.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a short five-minute drive from the Paihia wharf is an absolute must do during a trip to the Bay of Islands. Discover Aotearoa New Zealand’s history through contemporary museums and their interactive displays plus stories handed down through the generations and told by local guides. Children are free and receive a special discovery trail activity on arrival.

When you need a bite to eat after exploring Waitangi – head to the onsite Whare Waka Café – order off the menu or from the cabinet. Kids can pick their food from a special childrens menu.

If markets are your thing you must head into Kerikeri and check out the Packhouse Markets. Local growers and makers have everything from pies, fruit, skincare, oils plus a bunch of food stalls and the onsite café to refuel.

The market is open on a Saturday and Sunday with different stalls each day.

Whatever you choose to do on your visit to the Bay of Islands, we are sure you will have a great time in the Bay!