10 Best Luxury Experiences in the Bay of Islands© Northland Inc
10 Best Luxury Experiences in the Bay of Islands

10 Best Luxury Experiences in the Bay of Islands

© Northland Inc
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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Premium Tours and Activities in Paihia, Kerikeri, Russell and the Bay of Islands

A special place like the Bay of Islands, with its turquoise waters and 144 breathtaking islands, deserves to be experienced in the most special of ways. By land, by sea or by air, you can do just that. Mix a scenic flight with adrenaline in a beach-landing skydive or keep things irresistibly simple with an indulgent spa treatment – it’s all here in Paihia, Kerikeri, Russell and the Bay of Islands. So, discover some of the most premium activities in the bay with this list of luxury experiences in the Bay of Islands.

For more advice on planning your getaway, be sure to browse The Luxury Guide to the Bay of Islands. Plus, pick a stunning place to stay with the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in the Bay of Islands.

1. Experience the Bay Through a Private Wine Tour

The Bay of Islands is one of the most underrated wine-growing regions of New Zealand, which means you’ll get a truly off-the-beaten-track feel for any winery visit or wine tour you’ll experience here. For instance, indulge in a private winery tour with the Kernhem Group who offer comprehensive tours incorporating wine tasting and sightseeing. The full-day experience explores some of the natural and historical attractions, including Haruru Falls and the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, before embarking on a journey to the Kerikeri wine region. See more tours like this in the 10 Best Foodie Experiences in the Bay of Islands.

Location: Pick-ups are available from accommodations in Paihia and Kerikeri.

10 Best Luxury Experiences in the Bay of Islands© Northland Inc

2. Embark on a Scenic Flight Over the Bay of Islands

Nothing allows you to take in the magnificence of the bay’s 144 islands quite like a scenic flight. Salt Air offers an array of options to experience the Bay of Islands by air and on land. You could fly from Paihia to Ninety Mile Beach on the “Cape Reinga Tour“? Or, just keep things simple and enjoy the views on the “Hole in the Rock Helicopter Flight“. See how these flights compare to the 10 Best Helicopter Tours in New Zealand.

Location: Tours depart from Paihia Wharf.

10 Best Luxury Experiences in the Bay of Islands© Northland Inc

3. Indulge in a Spa Day

Make sure you fit in some “you time” with a heavenly spa treatment. The Paihia Beach Resort & Spa Hotel is a great place to start, where you can indulge in a wide range of treatments, from facials to body polishes, at their on-site spa, La Spa Naturale. Alternatively, get pampered with a range of spa therapies at the Pure Bliss Spa of the Copthorne Hotel & Resort. And those staying at the Paroa Bay Winery can choose from four relaxing treatments.

Location: Paihia Beach Resort & Spa – 130 Marsden Road, Paihia, Copthorne Hotel & Resort – 1 Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi, and Paroa Bay Winery – 31 Otamarua Road, Russell.

8 Luxury Activities in the Bay of Islands© Paihia Beach Resort & Spa Hotel

4. Skydive onto a Beach

If relaxation is not your thing, then amp up your Bay of Islands experience to the next level with an adrenaline-pumping skydive! Offering one of the highest skydives in the country Skydive Bay of Islands do jumps from a whopping 20,000 ft giving you 85 seconds of freefall. In good weather, you also have the unique experience of landing on the beach. Compare this skydive with others in the 10 Places to Tandem Skydive in New Zealand.

Location: 182 Wiroa Road, Kerikeri Airport. Pick-ups are available from central Paihia and Kerikeri.

8 Luxury Activities in the Bay of Islands© NZPocketGuide.com

5. Soar Over the Islands on a Private Parasailing Charter

For something a little closer to sea level, but still pretty darn high at 1,300 ft, try parasailing over the islands in your very own private parasailing charter. Flying Kiwi Parasail offers a unique experience of hiring a private charter for up to 12 people, picking you up from any private yacht, island or even your cruise ship anchored in the bay. Alternatively, check out their small-group tours on Viator.

Location: Pick-ups for private tours are available from anywhere in the bay.

8 Luxury Activities in the Bay of Islands© NZPocketGuide.com

6. Treat Yourself at the Fine Dining Restaurants and Wineries

Of course, no luxury getaway is complete without delectable dining. For fine dining, we recommend the Terra Restaurant (76 Marsden Road) with its seasonal menu of contemporary New Zealand cuisine. In Russell, indulge in the Northland fare of The Gables (19 The Strand), New Zealand’s oldest operating restaurant. And don’t forget to treat yourself to some of the wineries in the Bay of Islands, such as the Paroa Bay Winery (31 Otamarua Road, Russell) and the Marsden Estate (Wiroa Road, Kerikeri).

Check out The Food Guide to the Bay of Islands for more recommendations.

10 Best Luxury Experiences in the Bay of Islands© Northland Inc

7. Sail the Bay of Islands on a Luxury Catamaran…

Enjoy the serenity of sailing among some of New Zealand’s most breathtaking coastlines on a sailing excursion. There are several gorgeous yachts to choose from, as well as experiences from small-group sunset sailings to private full-day charters. Join the R. Tucker Thompson, a tall sailing ship that has a late afternoon sailing with drinks and antipasto platters available to purchase onboard. Alternatively, Bayscapes Charters offers sailing catamaran tours with a 2-hour island stop including SUP boards, snorkelling and lunch. To keep things as exclusive as possible, indulge in a private sailing charter with one of the following Bay of Islands sailing charters:

Location: Departure from Paihia or Russell Wharf.

10 Best Luxury Experiences in the Bay of Islands© Northland Inc

8. … Or Enjoy a Bespoke Cruise of the Bay of Islands

The cruise is yours! Spend the day visiting several of the 144 islands in the bay, cruise over vibrant blue waters, swim and snorkel, hike on bush-clad islands, do some stand-up paddleboarding and more on the customised Bay of Islands cruise with Island Getaway Tours. The cruise is suitable for all ages and there are half-day to full-day options available.

Location: Departure from Paihia Wharf.

8 Luxury Activities in the Bay of Islands© Unsplash

9. Have a Swing at the Kauri Cliffs Golf Course

Be sure to leave some time to test your swing at one of the most scenic golf courses in New Zealand, the Kauri Cliffs Golf Course. The par-72 golf course is atop the dramatic cliffs of Takou Bay where views of the vast Pacific Ocean can be enjoyed from 15 holes. Alternatively, the Waitangi Golf Club and Bay of Islands Golf Club are also worth a visit. Learn more about the country’s golf courses in the 20 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand.

Location: Kauri Cliffs – Tepene Tablelands Road, approximately 32 km (20 mi) north of Kerikeri. Waitangi Golf Club – Tau Henare Drive. Bay of Islands Golf Club – Golf View Road, Waipapa.

10 Best Luxury Experiences in the Bay of Islands© Jabob Sjoman - Tourism New Zealand

10. Stay at a Luxury Lodge

Finally, if you’re looking for a comprehensive luxury experience of the Bay of Islands, then consider treating yourself and your loved ones to a stay in one of its luxury lodges. From all-inclusive stays in private bays such as Eagles Nest and The Landing to hidden gems close to town like Sanctuary Palms and Treghan Luxury Lodge, luxury lodges in the Bay of Islands often have delectable dining, in-house experiences like spa treatments, winery tours and more, as well as dream-worthy facilities like swimming pools.

Check out the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in the Bay of Islands to compare the bay’s most lavish properties.

10 Best Luxury Experiences in the Bay of Islands© Eagles Nest - Northland Inc

More About a Luxury Trip to the Bay of Islands

That’s it for the best luxury experiences in the Bay of Islands. For more about planning the perfect getaway to the Bay, check out more of our insightful guides:

Finally, find even more tips to make your luxury getaway exceptional in The Luxury Travel Guide to New Zealand.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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