Auckland, also known as the City of Sails, and the Bay of Islands are two gems you won’t want to miss on your New Zealand trip. The Bay of Islands is world-famous for its game fishing and sailing while Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city with excellent food & drink and big city adventures, all in a gorgeous harbour setting. We’ve got some of the best things to do and places to stay in both of these regions for you, whether you’re booking a self-drive holiday or an escorted tour.
Things to do in Auckland
Auckland Bridge Bungy
One for the adrenaline junkies or maybe the kids. Get the best view of the Waitemata harbour from the Harbour Bridge… then jump off! The original Harbour Bridge bungy comes in at 40 metres high with a water-touch option available.
Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter & Underwater World
You simply won’t find Penguins closer to downtown Auckland than at Kelly Tarlton’s. A stone’s throw from the city centre, Kelly Tarlton’s is widely loved for its huge array of underwater creatures on display – as well as the Penguins in the Antarctic section there’s stingrays, sharks, piranhas and much more to see!
Hobbiton guided tour
Just a short drive from Auckland in the green rolling hills of the Waikato region, the Hobbiton movie set is the world’s largest “green set” and preserves the magic of the iconic Lord of the Rings movies – take a photo at Bag End or stop off at the Green Dragon inn… this is a movie lover’s dream!
Places to stay in the Auckland
1. The Great Ponsonby Art Hotel
- Style: Quirky
- Best for: B&B Hospitality
2. Hotel DeBrett
- Style: Boutique
- Best for: Art Deco Style
3. Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
- Style: Luxury
- Best for: Stunning Location, Harbour Views
Things to do in the Bay of Islands
Hole in the Rock
One of the Bay of Island’s most famous attractions, and the best place to see dolphins. Head out to Cape Brett and the lighthouse, and weather permitting you’ll be guided through the hole in the rock by your skipper. Don’t worry if you get some water drips on you from above as you go through the rock, according to Māori legend, it’s good luck!
After stopping at the Waitangi Reserve where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, take a ferry ride to Okiato and onto Russell where you’ll find the best vantage point of the Bay of Islands, simply breathtaking views! Lunch on the Waterfront at the Duke of Marlborough hotel is a great way to break up the day.
One of the most popular activities in the Bay of Islands, book a fishing charter and go after the catch of a lifetime.
Places to stay in the Bay of Islands
1. Cliff Edge by the Sea
- Style: Boutique
- Best for: Service, Amazing Food
2. The Waterfront Suites
- Style: Modern
- Best for: Central Location
3. The Heads Omapere
- Style: Secluded Retreat
- Best for: Privacy, Ocean Views
See the City of Sails and the beautiful Bay of Islands on your next trip. Ask us how you can book your next New Zealand holiday.