10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands
10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands

10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands

© NZPocketGuide.com

Sailing, Cruises and Boat Tours in the Bay of Islands

Don’t look forlorn at the glistening waters of the Bay of Islands from shore, get out there on one of the sailing cruises, catamaran tours or even a jet boat ride! There’s no better way to experience the bay and its island highlights than a boat cruise, so take your pick from our diverse selection of the best cruises in the Bay of Islands.

And for planning more of your trip according to your unique travel style, check out The Complete Travel Guide to the Bay of Islands and the 10 Best Things to Do in the Bay of Islands.

1. Fullers GreatSights Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

Deliver mail to remote islands in the Bay of Islands and see iconic sights on the Fullers GreatSights‘ Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise. Enjoy a smooth cruise on their large catamaran with multiple viewing decks ideal for spotting dolphins and other marine wildlife. A highlight is heading all the way to the end of the Cape Brett Peninsula and through the giant archway island known as the Hole in the Rock. The cruise lasts approximately four hours. Find out more about the cruise on Viator and Tripadvisor

Location: Departures from 69 Marsden Road, Paihia Wharf or Russell Wharf, The Strand.

10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands© NZPocketGuide.com

2. R. Tucker Thompson Sailing Cruise

One of the most striking vessels in the Bay of Islands, R. Tucker Thompson is a 100-year-old tall ship. On their 5h30mins day cruise, help hoist the sails, climb the rigging or simply enjoy relaxing on the deck. The cruise includes morning tea, as well as a barbecue lunch. You’ll also anchor in a secluded bay to enjoy some swimming in the warmer months. Sunset voyages are also available. Find out more about the cruises on Viator and Tripadvisor

Location: Departures from 69 Marsden Road, Paihia Wharf or Russell Wharf, The Strand.

10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands© R. Tucker Thompson

3. Barefoot Sailing Adventures Island Hopper Day Cruise

A laidback way to see the Bay of Islands is on the catamaran sailing yacht of Barefoot Sailing Adventures. As Paihia’s only cruise that departs from the beach, you’re encouraged to go “barefoot” from the get-go. Then kick back on one of the yacht’s beanbags with morning tea. Enjoy the views and look out for dolphins on the way to the cruise’s island destination for snorkelling, paddleboarding and enjoying some lunch. Find out more about the six-hour cruises on Viator and Tripadvisor

Location: Paihia Beach, Paihia.

10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands© NZPocketGuide.com

4. Explore Bay of Islands Discovery Cruise

Jump on board Explore‘s modern catamaran for a day out in the Bay of Islands. See the sights of the bay with full onboard commentary, while looking out for dolphins. You’ll sail through the iconic Hole in the Rock, as well as stop by the scenic Urupukapuka Island for a barbecue lunch/dinner. The experience lasts approximately five hours. Find out more about the Explore cruise on Viator and Tripadvisor

Location: Ticket office is 60 Marsden Road, Paihia. Cruises depart from 69 Marsden Road, Paihia Wharf or Russell Wharf, The Strand.

10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands© NZPocketGuide.com

5. The Rock Adventure Cruise

Stay overnight on the waters of the Bay of Islands with The Rock Adventure Cruise. Your cruise departs on an evening where you’ll experience night fishing, kayaking over bioluminescent algae, and tucking into a barbecue dinner. You’ll stay in one of the private cabins or dorm cabins of this purpose-built floating hostel before waking up the next morning to snorkelling and/or hiking on one of the islands. The experience lasts approximately 22 hours. Find out more about The Rock on Viator and Tripadvisor

Location: Cruises depart from 69 Marsden Road, Paihia Wharf.

10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands© NZPocketGuide.com

6. Carino Wildlife Cruise

For a sailing tour with an emphasis on wildlife and dolphin viewings, choose the Carino Wildlife Cruise. The six-hour cruise on a 15m (50ft) catamaran yacht focuses on looking out for little blue penguins, gannets and, of course, the Bay of Islands’ resident pods of dolphins. The cruise includes an island stop with a scenic walk, as well as a barbecue lunch and the opportunity to snorkel from the beach. Learn more about the experience on Viator or Tripadvisor. See more places to spot dolphins in New Zealand here.

Location: Cruises depart from 69 Marsden Road, Paihia Wharf.

10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands© Carino Wildlife Cruise

7. Sea Shuttle Bay of Islands Cruise and Island Tour

A more active cruise in the Bay of Islands, Sea Shuttle Bay of Islands offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy watersports and a hike on an island on their cruise and island tour. They have small-group and private tours available with snorkelling gear, paddleboards and more to make the most of your day. Light refreshments are included but you might want to bring your own lunch. Find out more about the five-hour tour on Viator and Tripadvisor

Location: Cruises depart from 69 Marsden Road, Paihia Wharf.

10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands© Sea Shuttle Bay of Islands

8. Xtreme Jet Bay of Islands Jet Boat Tour

For an alternative way to cruise the Bay of Islands, jump on the high-speed thrill ride that is Xtreme Jet! More about epic 360° spins than exploration, the 30-minute experience gets you darting across the calm waters of the sheltered Bay of Islands at speeds of up to 80km/h! Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor. Plus, check out other jet boat tours in the 17 Best Places to Jet Boat in New Zealand.

Location: Cruises depart from 69 Marsden Road, Paihia Wharf.

10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands© Xtreme Jet Bay of Islands

9. Bay of Islands Cruise & Kayak Waterfall Cruise

Forget the bay with 144 islands, Bay of Islands Cruise & Kayak takes you on an alternative cruise down the Waitangi River. The trip begins on a specially-built boat topped with kayaks and paddleboards to enjoy later. The 40-minute cruise takes you past cormorant colonies and mangrove forests on the way to Harurru Falls where it’s time to get out and have some paddling fun! The whole experience lasts approximately 2h45mins. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor

Location: Te Karuwha Parade, Waitangi Bridge, Waitangi.

10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands© NZPocketGuide.com

10. Ecocruz Overnight Sailing Cruise

Getaway for three days on a sailing adventure with Ecocruz. Their 22m (72ft) yacht is kitted out with a private double room and shared bunk cabin, making it ideal for families to couples to groups of mates looking for an awesome weekend activity in the bay. The trip includes highlights like the Hole in the Rock, visiting two islands and anchoring in quiet bays where you can enjoy snorkelling, kayaking and wildlife. Note that tours only operate between November and May. And for more experiences like this, check out the 8 Luxury Activities in the Bay of Islands.

Location: Cruises depart from 69 Marsden Road, Paihia Wharf.

10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands© NZPocketGuide.com

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