1,000 years ago New Zealand was first discovered by the Polynesian navigator, Kupe, who named the islands Aotearoa, which means Land of the Long White Cloud. After returning to his home, Hawaiki, he gave instructions on how to get to the islands but it wasn’t until 400 years after this that the Maori people arrived in Aotearoa and began to populate the North Island.
In 1642, Abel Tasman charted part of New Zealand’s coastline thinking it was part of the Australian continent. Once his mistake was discovered, the country was renamed Nieuw Zeeland. But it wasn’t until 1769 when Captain James Cook came to New Zealand and charted the coastlines of both the North and South Island of New Zealand that the Bay of Islands were given their present name.
Experience the Bay of Islands by taking a tour
There are a number of different tour options depending on how long you want to spend exploring the islands. By taking an organised tour, you’ll be able to visit a number of iconic and important places without having to arrange a thing! Here are some of the most significant and beautiful places you’ll visit on a Bay Islands tour:
Waitangi– This is the site of where the treaty took place between the Maori and European settlers. It has huge historical significance and is a wonderful place to see.
Russell– This is a fascinating township with a history of whaling. Take a stroll along the waterfront and do some shopping before getting back on the ferry to Paihia. Both Russell and Piahia have some excellent restaurants to try.
Cape Reinga– This is where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea. Expect incredible views.
Piercy Island– The island here is rich in marine life and it’s likely you’ll see fur seals, dolphins and possibly some orcas.
Cape Brett– As you head to Cape Brett, you’ll cruise past the stunning islands that this location is famous for. The highlight of the tour here is travelling through the Hole In The Rock, as long as the conditions are right.
Puketi Kauri Forest is another stunning place to explore on your tour, walking among trees that are hundreds of years old. Yet another highlight of the tour is travelling by coach along the Ninety Mile Beach.
This is just a taste of what you can expect to enjoy when taking a tour of the Bay of Islands. If you want to explore all of the beauty of the Bay of Islands in just a few days, taking a tour will ensure you don’t miss a thing.