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Five spots to visit in the Bay of Islands before summer ends

If you’re like most New Zealanders, you’re likely looking for some fun activities to do with the family before the end of summer. Well, look no further than our very own Bay of Islands, one of the most popular fishing, sailing, and tourist destinations in the country.

The Bay of Islands is located at the northern tip of the North Island, about 60 kilometres north-west of Whangarei. You can get there via a short, 45-minute flight from Auckland or three to four hours drive time. Or, if you’re a bit more adventurous, you can take the stunningly beautiful drive that winds its way up from Whangarei through to Paihia and the Bay of Islands.

Once there, you should make a point to visit these five amazing destinations:

1. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Located in the Town of Waitangi, this beautiful site holds special importance – seeing the ground where New Zealand was born with your own eyes can be a very moving experience.

2. Paihia

Paihia is one of the best launch points for exploring the Bay of Islands. The Paihia Wharf is a main departure point for dolphin swims, cruises, and whale watching.

3. Russell

Just a short boat ride from Paihia, and also a great jumping off point for Bay of Islands visitors, Russell is the location of New Zealand’s first sea port and European settlement – and NZ’s original capital.

4. Matauri Bay

Just a 45-minute drive from Paihia, Matauri Bay offers some of the most breathtaking white sand beaches in the area. It’s a popular spot for surfers, snorkellers, fishers, and campers.

5. Haruru and Rainbow Falls

No trip to the Bay of Islands would be complete without seeing these stunning natural waterfalls close to Paihia. Make sure to add these to your itinerary.

Once you’re in the Bay of Islands, how do you get around? Ferries are available from the main wharfs in the area. Or, you can hire a car or campervan from a local outfit like Epic Rentals. Lastly, you can also hire a bus or coach and join a tour group.

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