Explore where New Zealand was born

Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of history while exploring the stunning Bay of Islands in New Zealand, where every experience is a journey through time

russell top ten holiday park view
Duke of Marlborough Hotel

Day One: Thursday

Haere Mai - Welcome

On Thursday afternoon and evening travel to Russell by passenger or car ferry, then start your getaway in Russell by checking into the oldest hotel in New Zealand The Duke Of Marlborough Hotel. Then, immerse yourself in the laid-back coastal vibe with a visit to the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club in Russell, the oldest pub in New Zealand for a stunning sun set dinner, making for a truly memorable start to your seaside escape.

Whare Waka Cafe Waitangi
printing press, pompallier house
the gables

Day One: Friday

Starting at Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Begin your day with a journey to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where you can immerse yourself in the rich history of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Treaty of Waitangi. Catch the passenger ferry to Paihia then free shuttles run from Paihia to Waitangi every 15 minutes, or take the 25-minute walk along the coastline. Embark on a highly recommended guided tour and explore the fascinating exhibits of both Te Rau Aroha and Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi. Afterwards, indulge in a delightful lunch at the Whare Waka Cafe, situated conveniently within the Treaty Grounds, offering delectable dishes infused with unique flavours and showcasing local Northland cuisine. With picturesque surroundings of lush bush and native birdlife, as well as breathtaking views of Ngatokimatawhaorua, the largest waka, the experience is truly captivating. In the afternoon, journey back to the historic township of Russell, where you can delve into the intriguing history of the area at the Pompallier Mission and Printery. Join one of the informative tour groups and uncover the fascinating French heritage of Russell. Treat yourself to an afternoon pick-me-up at the French-themed cafe onsite. As evening falls, savour a delicious dinner at the Gables Restaurant, another charming waterfront dining spot in Russell, renowned for its Italian cuisine. Then get ready to embrace the adventures of tomorrow with your 2-day pass for the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Museums.

Day Two: Saturday

Indulge in Culture

Begin your day by rising early and embarking on a journey to visit another mission at Waimate North, an area steeped in history within the Bay of Islands. Don’t forget to pack your swimwear for a relaxing soak at the Te Waiariki Ngawha Springs in Kaikohe on your return to Paihia. Refuel with lunch back in Paihia before returning to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds to continue exploring the fascinating museums and grounds, taking full advantage of your two-day pass. After a delightful afternoon in Waitangi, hop back on the free shuttle to Paihia and indulge in dinner at Zane Greys Restaurant and Bar, situated right on the waterfront, where the restaurant itself boasts a rich history waiting to be discovered.

Footprints Waipoua Forest - Visit BOI - Featured Image

Day Three: Sunday

Wider Journey of History


Embark on an enriching day trip to Hokianga, nestled along the picturesque West Coast of Northland. Upon arrival, delve into the captivating 75-minute interactive experience at Manea Footprints of Kupe, a multi-sensory journey of guided storytelling infused with art, cultural treasures, film, and digital interaction, all amidst the breathtaking backdrop of Hokianga’s natural beauty. Afterwards, relish a leisurely picnic lunch by the tranquil waters, soaking in the mesmerizing vistas of Hokianga Harbour. On the return journey, make a stop in Kerikeri to explore the historic Stone Store and Kemp House, an emblematic site of the Bay of Islands, steeped in missionary heritage. Peruse the store’s array of local artisan products and ascend to the upper floors for a glimpse into its storied past. Take a moment to wander up to Kororipo Pā, absorbing the panoramic views and rich history of a locale where both Māori and early Pakeha settlers once dwelled. Immerse yourself in the tapestry of history woven throughout the stunning Bay of Islands, where each experience is a timeless voyage through the annals of New Zealand’s captivating past.