With such a diverse mix of landscapes, the Bay of Islands and its 144 islands are a visual feast from any angle. However, those visitors fortunate enough to witness the region from the air are rewarded with a unique perspective that you simply can’t experience any other way. Soaring high in the sky by plane or helicopter, you’ll have an unrivalled view stretching from coast to coast. In just a short space of time, you’ll gain a vast appreciation for the panoramic beauty of the bright blue oceans and golden sand beaches through to the towering Kauri forests and native bush. Whether you stay in the plane or jump out of it halfway through, you’ll be left awe-struck by the Bay of Islands from above.
Take the leap with Skydive Bay of Islands
Experience a thrill of a lifetime on a tandem jump with the crew at Skydive Bay of Islands. Taking off from Kerikeri, choose from a jump of 9000, 12,000, 16,500, or even 20,000 feet – the higher the altitude, the higher the adrenaline hit! After climbing into the sky, take the ultimate leap of faith and feel the rush as you reach speeds of up to 200km/hr – with freefalls ranging from 20 seconds up to an incredible 85 seconds. Then, take in the pristine scenery as it unfolds around you during a relaxing parachute ride back to the ground.
As if jumping out of a plane wasn’t enough of an achievement in itself, you’ll earn massive bragging rights as the 20,000ft jump is in fact New Zealand’s highest skydive! For reference, Auckland’s Sky Tower is 1,076ft; Mont Blanc, the tallest in the Alps is 16,781 ft – and even Mount Kilimanjaro is 19,341ft!
Soar above the sea with Bay of Islands Parasail
For all the thrills of being high up in the sky, but without the leap or needing to be strapped to an instructor, Bay of Islands Parasail is the perfect airborne adventure. Offering single, tandem, and triple options, you’ll reach a height of 1300ft and experience ever-changing scenery across the many picturesque islands. Depending on the day, you’ll be in good company with dolphins and orcas often popping along to say hello – and to upsize your fun, add on a dunk in the refreshing water at the end with a Royal Splash!
Take to the skies with Salt Air or Swan Air
Salt Air (based in Paihia) and Swan Air (departing from Kerikeri) both offer a variety of scenic flight options to experience the Bay of Islands from above. Choose a helicopter, seaplane, or airplane flight – the hardest part is deciding what destination to discover first! Perhaps you’ll head to the northernmost tip of Aotearoa New Zealand, where a scenic flight across Northland’s secluded bays and untouched islands (as well as the famous Ninety Mile Beach) is followed by a tour to the iconic Cape Reinga lighthouse and Te Paki Sand Dunes.
For a true one-of-a-kind experience, opt for a helicopter landing on the iconic ‘Hole in the Rock’/Motu Kōkako. Become immersed in the area’s rich cultural and natural history, as you fly past Russell, Opua, and Cape Brett.
A Heli Wine Tasting Tour is another popular option, with scenic helicopter connections between three incredible wineries alongside cellar door visits, tastings with the winemakers, and a gourmet local lunch. Sample your way through the vines and then take the taste of Northland home with you. Or if you have a special destination in mind, the Salt Air team even allows you to customise your own flight!
Wake up to an awe-inspiring view at Eagles Nest or The Landing
Looking for somewhere to stay in style, with a view to match? Perch yourself high at Eagles Nest, an award-winning retreat offering five luxury villas with sweeping views of the ocean. With five-star service and cuisine, you’ll feel on top of the world atop the native bush-clad cliffs that set the backdrop for a truly peaceful and relaxing getaway.
Or stay in one of The Landing’s four unique architecturally-designed lodges, set in a prime location on a thousand-acre heritage and conservation property. With six private beaches, a lush wetland, and a native forest area, plus an award-winning vineyard on-site – it’s the epitome of luxury accommodation.
Get off to a flying start
Can’t wait to start your high-flying adventure? Get a head start before you’ve even touched down! Whilst it’s a stunning drive up the coast from Auckland, Bay of Islands is also well-connected by air, with direct flights from Auckland and Wellington to Kerikeri. Nab yourself a window seat and you’ll fall in love with the turquoise oceans, pristine beaches and rolling countryside hills in no time at all.