6 Night Luxury Bay of Islands Cruise

Bay of Islands

Step aboard the luxurious ‘Island Passage’ and explore the Bay of Islands in the Northland region of New Zealand.

This sub-tropical region has the finest maritime park in New Zealand with 144 islands, secluded bays, and an abundance of marine life including marlin, whales, penguins, dolphins, gannets and many other species. It is one of the most picturesque and popular holiday sites in New Zealand. It combines great fishing, diving, sailing and other water sports with some of New Zealand’s most significant historic sites.

DAY 1 - Opua to Assassination Cove

Bay of Islands

On the first day of your cruise we meet you at the Bay of Islands airport and transfer you into Paihia township. At 5pm tonight, we get together at the Paihia Wharf to board the ship. We allow you to get familiar with you home for the next six nights and also the safety briefings before we set off on our adventure. You’ll be surrounded by exquisite scenery while enjoying champagne and tasty canapés in the company of your fellow cruisers.

From Opua we’ll be cruising up the Veronica Channel towards the tourist hub of Paihia and the historic village of Russell, ending up in the picturesque tranquil haven Opunga Cove where you’ll be spending the first night. This evening you can relax in your comfortable steamer chair while enjoying the sunset from the deck. Opunga Cove, also known as Assassination Cove, has a fearsome history.

Assassination Cove: French explorer Marion du Fresne and 26 of his crew were killed and eaten in this bay - an act of utu (revenge) by the local tribe. The Frenchmen had made the mistake of fishing in tapu waters, even though they had been warned to stay away. You can relax - the tapu has long-since been lifted from Te Hue Bay.

"It was more thickly populated than those parts further south, the people more elaborately tattooed, some of their canoes more elaborately carved; the bay itself beautiful, with many good anchorages, the hills and valleys round it, forests and cultivations beautiful also. Cook called it the Bay of Islands."

Joseph Banks, 1769

DAY 2 - Assassination Cove to Cooks Cove

New Zealand luxury cruises

On your second day you’ll visit beautiful Motuarohia-Roberton Island.  This island can be explored in different ways - you can either go for a hike up to the historic Maori Pa site, maybe you want to paddle around the bay in a kayak or you can go snorkelling in the sheltered lagoon. Later this afternoon we’ll continue to Urupukapuka, the largest island in the bay, where the chef will prepare you a gourmet barbecue dinner with delicious fresh seafood and produce from the local farmers’ markets.

Motuarohia Island: Like Assassination Cove, this island has a murderous history. It was farmed by a widow, Mrs Roberton, and her farm manager Thomas Bull. Bull apparently brutally mistreated a young Maori farm worker, Maketu, who took his revenge with an axe. Mrs Roberton threatened Maketu with an English hanging, so he killed her and her two daughters, then chased her son to the top of the pa site and threw him over the 60 metres cliffs to his death.

Urupukapuka Island: The largest island in the bay, Urupukapuka has eight significant terraced pa (fortified village) sites, which you can discover on an archaeological walk that’s interpreted with signs. Located mostly on headlands, the pa allowed Maori to see enemies approaching by sea.

In a 2006 study, the Bay of Islands was found to have the second bluest sky in the world, after Rio de Janeiro.

Dumé, Belle (2 August 2006)

DAY 3 - Deep Water Cove

Dolphin tours Bay of Islands

This morning we’ll spend some time exploring Urupukapuka Island. You could either go for a hike around the beautiful island and discover the historic pa sites and the island’s great beaches. Or as an alternative you could explore the area by kayak and enjoy a picnic along the way. Fishing is also an option for you today; maybe you’ll even catch dinner. If you prefer a more relaxed start to your day you can simply lounge around on board, enjoy a good book, cold drinks and some tasty nibbles.
After lunch we continue onward towards Deep water cove. This magical nature reserve is encircled by native forest complete with an idyllic waterfall; you’ll also have the chance to swim with the dolphins in these beautiful surroundings.

Another popular activity in Deep Water Cove is a fishing trip to Piercy Island, one of Zane Grey's preferred spots when he visited New Zealand. We will stay the night in this spectacular cove If possible.

Deep Water Cove: Framed by steep, forested hillsides, Deep Water Cove was the site of Zane Grey's first angling base and an early whaling station. It’s now a nature reserve, complete with idyllic waterfall. Beneath the waters of the cove lies the HMNZS Canterbury, a Leander-class frigate built in Scotland for the Royal New Zealand Navy. The ship was scuttled in 2007 to become a dive attraction.

"Rakaumangamanga is a mountain of renown standing here to the east the words spread of the ancestors from Hawaiiki comes handed down."

Maori paddling song

DAY 4 - Oke Bay

Hole In The Rock Tour

Today we head to the beautiful Oke Bay, an anchorage with beautiful clear water and the perfect place to go for a swim. Dolphins are regular in these waters so you might have another dolphin encounter today.  After lunch is another special treat as you’ll be taken for a complimentary scenic helicopter flight over the Bay of islands from where you’ll be sure to get some amazing views of the crystal clear turquoise waters and the island group. When the sun begins to set we’ll head back to our anchorage in Parekura Bay where we’ll stay for the night.

DAY 5 - Marsden Cross

After a delicious breakfast on the deck we’ll continue to our next destination on the other side of the Bay of Islands. On our way, we’ll make a stop at the Black rocks to get some fresh green-lipped mussels which you’ll enjoy for today’s lunch alongside with a chilled glass of sauvignon blanc. Today we’ll also visit the iconic Marsden Cross on the mainland, before enjoying our dinner and watch the sunset at the Te Pahi Islands, just off the Purerua Peninsula.

DAY 6 - Marsden Cross to Russell

After breakfast we’ll continue to cruise to Russell – a historic village previously known as ‘the hell-hole of the Pacific’ which is a nickname the village was given because in whaling times it was the place of loose women and wasted sailors.

In Russell you can check out the local craft shops and museums, churches and the historic Pompallier French Mission house before going back on board and enjoy the rest of your day.

Day 7 - Farewell

On your final day of your cruise we enjoy breakfast and continue our way to Paihia where we'll have you disembarking at 9:00am. We transfer you to the airport for flights leaving today.

If you prefer to head down to Auckland or regional areas, coaches will be departing from Paihia Wharf.


Please take the time to view our “Virtual Tour” for the 5 Night Luxury Bay of Islands Cruise or download/print the detailed “Tour Dossier”. Both can be found on the right hand column of this page. Alternatively you can simply contact us. For a comprehensive list of all activities available in each location featured in this tour, please refer to the "Destination Guide" found at the top of this page.

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