It’s been quite the rollercoaster of a spring! With varying Alert Levels across the country and some wild weather, it’s safe to say that everyone is deep into planning their ultimate Kiwi summer holiday. And with its myriad of beaches to choose from, land and water activities to dabble in, and each charming town or village having their own character and personality to sink into, the Bay of Islands is the ideal vacation spot for first-time visitors and returnees alike.

To make your Bay of Islands holiday a little different from the last, or extra special for your first, we’ve rounded up four different accommodation options in unique locales. So, no matter your budget, no matter your interests and no matter your party size, we’ve got you covered!

1. Duke of Marlborough, Russell for a sleep/eat/relax experience.

Rooms with balcony views at the Duke of Marlborough in Russell. Credit:

Tick off all the right boxes when you book your stay at the Duke of Marlborough. They serve up a literal and visual beach-side feast, thanks to the chef’s creative use of fresh, local produce and catches, and because of the breathtaking sunsets, they can (almost) guarantee from the patio. It’s a treat for all five senses.


Originally built in 1827, the Duke offers seaside dining with its beautiful beachfront terrace. Credit:

But the best part? Being able to dine well and sleep even better – on site. An array of rooms and apartments make the most of the wrap-around porch and the mid-19th Century architecture. And you can take advantage of amenities like the gym while you’re there, but we thoroughly recommend popping out for a long walk after sampling the impressive dinner menu and wine pairings instead, to absorb that sunset even more.

2. Russell TOP 10 Holiday Park to make family memories that last

Glamping tent pitched and ready for your next summer memories. Credit:

Have three kids, a partner, two dogs and the burning need to try everything the Bay of Islands has to offer? Then TOP 10 Holiday Park in Russell is the perfect launchpad. This Bay of Islands campground is more than meets the eye. They have a smorgasbord of villas, units, cabins, powered and unpowered sites to choose from, including glamping options and dog-friendly accommodation, too. It’s the ultimate holiday park!

Once you and your entourage are all settled, venture out and start exploring; Russell TOP 10 Holiday Park positions itself as the Gateway to the Bay of Islands, and it delivers. Immerse yourself in the deep, long history of the Russell township with a tour of numerous important landmarks, or a visit to Pompallier Mansion and Printery specifically – the friendly front desk staff at TOP 10 will help with setting that up. Boat-wise, jump on a ferry to Paihia and roam about there, enjoy a fishing or sailing charter, or a general cruise of the Bay. With an affordable stay at Russell TOP 10 booked, you’re able to spend more time on how you like to explore a place, and on unique family adventures and things to do in the Bay of Islands.

3. The Rock Classic Overnight Cruise, Paihia, for a true Bay of Islands adventure cruise

Just one of the many stunning views from your floating bedroom. Credit: The Rock Adventure Cruise, @rocktheboatnz on Facebook

Is a day of sailing the Bay of Islands or fishing just off its shores not enough boat time for you? Then consider an overnight stay and an itinerary jam-packed full of exciting Bay of Islands activities with The Rock.

It’s the Bay of Islands cruise and kayak adventure that dreams are made of. Onboard, enjoy a delicious cocktail (a Shirley Temple for the wee ones) after departing from the Paihia dock and mingle with your fellow sailors as you set off into the sunset. You’ll then have the chance to try your luck at catching dinner, but the boat’s chef will have a gourmet back-up plan to be safe. Night kayaking and fireside chats onshore follow the meal, and the next day is chock full of snorkelling, island trekking and a nourishing lunch to wind things down on the sail back to Paihia.

4. Eagles Nest, Russell, for that glossy magazine kind of stay

The view to take in from the Rahimoana Villa, while pinching yourself. Credit: Eagles Nest, Russell, on Facebook

After the last couple of years we’ve all had, no one would blame you for wanting to truly treat yourself. And Eagles Nest in Russell is exactly the type of splurge you deserve.

Eagles Nest describes itself as “New Zealand’s stylish retreat” which could be a prizewinner of an understatement. This is exclusive, luxury accommodation in the Bay of Islands at its absolute finest. With 5 private villas to choose from, including the you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it sprawl of Rahimoana, and amenities like jacuzzis, infinity pools and champagne on arrival, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped out of reality and into an international travel magazine.

Additional amenities that you can choose from include a private chef, a butler or personal shopper or trainer. And guaranteed inclusions include unparalleled relaxation.


Whichever accommodation option you choose for your next Bay of Islands holiday, make sure you send us all the enviable pics; from camping to glamping, from sailing to soaking in a whole other level of luxury, we’re big fans of the unique spots to stay at here in the Bay!

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