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One of New Zealand’s most popular destinations, the Bay of Islands is located just a few hours north of Auckland. Captain Cook gave the area its name almost two and a half centuries ago thanks to the 144 islands in this subtropical aquatic wonderland. It's also home to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where in 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Maori and representatives of the British Crown.
See the small rural townships and rolling countryside of the Northland region as you make your way to the vibrant seaside resort town of Paihia.
Enjoy a guided tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and see the place where the historic treaty was signed that shaped our nation. Many of the guides descend from the signatories to the Treaty, and this personal connection will enhance your visit. View a magnificent Maori marae (meeting house) and large ceremonial waka (war canoe) - Ngatokimatawharua, the largest waka in the world.
Next, take a short ferry ride across the bay from Paihia to the township of Russell. In its early days Russell was a lawless whaling port, and for a brief period was New Zealand's first capital. Today it's a popular big-game fishing base with plenty of historical charm. Learn about its intriguing history on a one-hour Russell mini-tour, taking in sights like Christ Church (the oldest church in New Zealand), Flagstaff Hill and the country's first licensed pub.
After returning to Paihia by ferry, you'll have time to explore its shops and arcades before rejoining your coach for the return journey to Auckland.
502a Wairakei Road, Harewood