Lonely Planet’s travel experts have explored the vast region’s of Asia Pacific – from high volcanic mountain peaks, tropical islands big and small, the land and the people of the land, all to find the best places to visit.

And we are really excited that the Bay of Islands came up number three in their top ten list of 2019!

Most travellers have heard of the influential American-based travel guide Lonely Planet, that works with seasoned travel experts across the globe each year to produce insightful and detailed travelled guides for keen travellers from all walks of life.

Well, they know their stuff and have done for decades. So this is huge win and honour for the Bay of Islands.

The team at Lonely Planet said they rated the Bay so highly because of the amazing breadth of outdoor activities and natural attractions like the “extraordinary surf beaches, myriad of islands and forests of giant trees“.

But it was also our area’s rich cultural history that got their team really excited.


Image: Newzealand.com
Maori culture & heritage is a huge draw card (Image: Newzealand.com)

The notion that visitors love the mix of untouched natural beauty and the intriguing history up here is reflected in our experience chatting to visitors as well.

The Bay boasts the title of the first capital of New Zealand up in Russell – a quaint town filled with historical things to explore, on foot or by boat.


Russell, Bay Of Islands
Photo from Russell Visitor Information Centre

And of course, the famous Waitangi treaty grounds are a must see, which was a highlight for Lonely Planet experts as well.

If you’re only planning to visit for a short time have a look at our suggested three-day itinerary which soaks in the highlights from Lonely Planet.

And we’d also like to point out that as well as a myriad of marine activities to explore (whale watching anyone?) and insightful history, there are also options for those who want some pampering or luxury, or a spot of shopping at the local markets .

Should we also mention our info blogs on the Bay being a golfers paradise and some of the top diving or fishing spots? Or the top restaurants to savour? OK we will stop now :o).


The Gables Restaurant, Bay Of Islands
The Gables Restaurant, Bay Of Islands

When referring to the whole Asia Pacific region, Lonely Planet’s Chris Zeiher said, “Its food delights the senses, its forests and seas teem with life, and the cities fizz with culture and creativity”.

We agree that the Asia Pacific area is an eclectic, colourful and mind-bending region of the globe – but we’re still not surprised our beloved home is on this list, even given the stiff competition.

So make sure to follow the world’s top travel experts and add our small pocket wonderland to the agenda when you’re down in the Pacific.


Te Hine Ruru, Retreat for women, Bay of Islands
Te Hine Ruru, Retreat for women, Bay of Islands


Lonely Planet’s Top Ten best places to visit in Asia Pacific 2019

  1. Margaret River, Western Australia
  2. Shikoku River, Japan
  3. Bay of Islands, New Zealand
  4. Singapore
  5. The Cook Islands
  6. Central Vietnam
  7. Fiji
  8. Palawan, Philippines
  9. Beijing, China
  10. Cambodia

This is an incredible list, that’s for sure… but this image of a local Bay of Islands beach is still a winner to us … 


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