The Bay of Islands is an area located on the east coast of Far North District of North Island, New Zealand. Currently, it is one of the most popular sailings, fishing and tourist destinations in the country. The Bay of Islands has been renowned worldwide for its big-game fishing since in the 1930s American author Zane Grey publicized it. The Bay of Islands is 60 kilometers north-west of Whangarei city. Cape Reinga, situated at the country's northern tip, is about 210 km further to the north-west. The bay itself is irregularly-shaped 16 km-wide, 260 sq.km drowned valley system and natural harbour. It is composed of 144 islands, of which the biggest is Urupukapuka, and numerous inlets and peninsulas.
Albert Ernest Fuller launched the Undine sailing ship in 1886 in the Bay of Islands in order to deliver coal supplies to the isles within the Bay. Due to the fitting of a motor in the early 20th century, Fuller could deliver essential supplies and coal to communities as far as Cape Brett. In 1927 he acquired the so-called "Cream Trip" from Eddie Lane, together with the facilities onboard to transport cream from the isles. By the 1960s, this run was started by the newly commissioned Bay Belle. Despite the fact that a modern catamaran today takes the historical route of the Cream Trip, Bay Belle continues to transport tourists and locals between Paihia and Russell.
An interesting fact is that in a 2006 study, the Bay of Islands was found to have the 2nd bluest sky in the world, following the first, Rio de Janeiro.
Bay of Islands cruise terminal
Bay of Islands cruise port (New Zealand) has no dock that is able to handle passenger ships. Cruise vessels anchor in the bay (near Russell) and passengers are offloaded via the ship's tender boats.
- Most cruise lines tender to Paihia, but it depends on the ship's daily arrangement.
- A ferry service is available between Russell and Paihia.
- At Waitangi (western side of the bay) there are free of charge shuttle busses to Paihia.
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