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Bay of Islands Attractions, Activities and Visitor Information


Tapeka del Mar is the perfect base to explore the Bay of Islands and the Northland region of New Zealand. This is the gateway to Northland and the perfect base to explore the many unique places and activities to be found in the winterless North. Below are some of the local Russell area, Bay of Islands and Northland attractions with many great day trip destinations, most no more than an hours drive

Scroll down for photos of the region's attractions and activities


Waitangi Golf Course with views to Tapeka Point top right                   

 Cape Reinga - the northern tip of New Zealand

Tapeka Beach Area Activities

Tapeka Point Walk - starts behind Tapeka Del Mar and just 15 minutes to the top. You will pass the Maori Pa (fortress) site and to the top of Tapeka Point and the amazing 360 degree views that await of the Islands, Tapeka, Paihia and Waitangi.


Hone Heke's Flagstaff - top of the hill between Tapeka and Russell. Great views and lots of history. Continue the walk into Russell via the road or around the shore line at low tide. The area is surrounded by a Kiwi habitat where they can often be spotted at night


Volley Ball - net in the public reserve opposite next to the massive 1830's Norfolk pine trees


Fishing - off the beach, from a boat, on a charter or rock locations either end of the beach, Rocky Beach - or take out the guest dinghy


Swimming - safe all tide swimming sandy beach with a diving pontoon and boat ramp


Boating - take out one of the five kayaks or the dinghy available for guest use. Take a trip or charter a boat


Beach Walks - explore the rock pools, walk around Tapeka Point or around the coast to Russell at low tide exploring the secluded bays


Russell Attractions and Activities

The Waitangi golf course across the water from Russell has one of the most panoramic courses in the country and welcomes visiting players. 20 minutes further north is the Bay of Islands Golf Club - Kerikeri and world top 100 Kauri Cliffs championship golf course and retreat (refer below)


Kayaking - Commercial operators provide guided coastal tours in sea kayaks. One of the operators is based at Tapeka beach - or take out one of the complimentary guest kayaks


Cruises around the Bay of Islands and to the world famous "Hole in the Rock" by slow or very fast boat, catamaran, yacht, or sailing ship (see below) All stop at the Russell wharf to collect and drop off passengers

Walking Tracks - a track from Tapeka leads through the bush to the Flagstaff on Flagstaff Hill (where Hone Heke chopped down the flag pole) and back down to the sea shore next to Russell. This area is frequented by Kiwi. Another winds through native forest to a secluded beach. You can walk around the coast to Russell at low tide. Other excellent well sign posted heritage trails originate from Russell or simply climb the 15 min track behind the house to the top of Tapeka Point. For serious trampers there is a track out to Cape Brett light house. The track starts at Oke Bay, Rawhiti or can be joined at Deep Water Cove. The Okiato to Russell Walkway takes you from the vehicular/foot ferry landing at Okiato to Orongo Bay on a well formed track which traverses wetland flats, undulating areas of mature native bush and boardwalk at the water's edge before joining the roadside.

Wineries - Omata Estate is located nearby on the road from the Opua car ferry. The wine shop provides tasting and purchase of Omata and other fine New Zealand wines. It has wonderful views down the vines and across the bay to Paihia and serves lunches during the summer months. Others include Marsden Estate Winery and restaurant (lunch only), Ake Ake Vineyard and restaurant, Stonybrook Estate and Cottle Hill Winery in Kerikeri. Bishops Wood Estate just north of Kerikeri is a boutique distillery specialising in Schnapps, liquors and spirits.

Restaurants and Bars - Russell has many including the historic Duke of Marlborough hotel, The Gables, Hone's outdoor Pizza, Swordfish Club bistro, RSA Bistro, cafes, ice cream parlour, Fish & Chips, Indian, Thai and more. Ten minutes to Paihia on the passenger ferry and there are many more options within an easy walk of the wharf.

Historic Places in Russell - Russell Museum, NZ's oldest Church, NZ's first police station, Pompallier mission house, other historic buildings and historic places. Learn about the fascinating history from the days of whalers and when Russell was the first capital of New Zealand and known as the "hell hole of the pacific"


Pompallier House - a working museum complete with tannery and working printer. Stories of missionaries who produced Maori language books during times of Pacific exploration and beautiful grounds. Located on the south side of the Russell waterfront.


Waitangi Treaty Grounds - across the water from Tapeka and around the corner from Paihia are the grounds, Treaty House, gardens and Waka (war canoe)


Arts and Crafts - Russell has pottery, gifts, antiques, art galleries, photo galleries and more


New Zealand Cycle way - One of the first trails is a 90Km trail from the Hokianga harbour on the west coast through to Opua and Russell. The trail passes though 11 settlements and towns with the first 12km being an old rail corridor between Kaikohe and Okaihau. This follows ancient Maori trails, through two tunnels, past the western shore of lake Omapere and is historically significant.

 Tapeka is the perfect base for surf casting, boat or big game fishing. A number of world famous game fishing charter boats operate out of Russell as do part day group trips. The Bay of Islands Swordfish club is located on the waterfront in Russell. See our Fishing page


Yacht / Launch charters - bareboat or with skipper. There are many day sailing options with the ability to share with other tourists or exclusive charter.

  Diving - including tuition and gear rental available from Paihia Dive and Dive HQ. Other charters are available to take out diving parties. Dive tank refills next to the wharf. Dive the Canterbury Warship Diving Attraction - the last of NZ's steam powered Leander class frigates in Deep Dater Cove.

  Dolphin Encounters - swim with the dolphins on several cruise options departing Russell wharf. The Fullers booking office is located next to the wharf and the booking office on the wharf have helpful advise for all attractions, trips and tours.

  Tall Ship Sailing - day cruises on the classic sailing ship R. Tucker Thomson where you become part of the crew

Oyster Farm - located at Orongo Bay on the road from the car ferry. Open to the public for purchase

  Tennis - public courts are located near Russell town centre

  Bowls - the local bowling club welcomes visitors

Scenic Flights / Parachuting - Salt Air operates from an airfield on the road from Paihia to Kerikeri


Coach Tours - Russell Mini Tours depart from the wharf several times each day for an interesting tour of the highlights and history of the Russell area. Others leave from Paihia to Kauri forests, Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach


Parasailing - operates from Paihia with launching from on board the boat (so you don't get your feet wet)


Marae - located on the waterfront next to the town all


Special Events - Russell Birdman Festival (July), Hell Hole of the Pacific celebration, Tall Ships Race Festival (January), Russell to Paihia ocean race, Bay of Islands Jazz Festival, Cape Brett Challenge (April), Coastal Classic Yacht Race (October), Bay of Islands Food and Wine festival (October), Bay of Islands Sailing Week (January), Russell Oyster Festival and many other festivals and special events are based in Russell. Check out Links page to find out what is happening when you plan to stay




Northland Day Trip Destinations


Urupukapuka Island /  Cape Brett - and other day boat trips and private charters depart Russell wharf


Paihia - by car ferry or passenger ferry from Russell. More shops and attractions with Waitangi around the corner. Visit Action World circus park on the Haruru road. See Paihia


Waitangi - national reserve, Treaty house, Maori meeting house, war canoe and native grounds. Walking distance from Paihia


Haruru Falls - scenic water falls on the Kerikeri road out of Paihia


Kerikeri - historic stone store, Kemp House, Pete's Pioneer transport museum, The Parrot Place bird display, shopping, supermarkets, cafes, orchards, chocolate factory, wine tasting, vineyard lunch


Steam Railway - Operates from Kawakawa near the famous restrooms during the summer months


Giant Kauri Trees in the Dargaville forest


Wairere Boulder Valley - Hokianga


Glow Worm Caves near Opua on SH1 south of Kawakawa


Horse Riding - treks operate between Waitangi and Haruru Falls


Ninety Mile Beach and Cape Reinga the northern tip of New Zealand. Fullers and Dune rider offer coach day trips from Paihia


Fish and Chips - at the famous shop in Monganui (but we prefer the fish shop next to "The Pub" in Russell


East coast surf beaches - take the Old Russell Road to the east coast surf beaches south of Cape Brett


Whangarei - the largest city in Northland 45 minutes drive south of the car ferry. Waterfalls, marina, cafes and lots of larger shops


Cape Brett Walk - a wonderful track (optional ECO tour guided by Cape Brett Walkways) to the Bay of Islands entrance


Zion Wildlife Gardens Whangarei - view the big cats, wildlife and take a personal or group tours. NZ's answer to Australia Zoo


Matauri Bay, Coopers Beach, Taupo Bay and Tauranga Bay are among the many small beach resorts and townships further up the east coast


Twin Coast Cycle Trail - Pou Herenga Tai passes through some of New Zealand's earliest European and Maori settlements and the Far North District, which gave birth to the Treaty of Waitangi. The trailís construction has been divided into four stages. The first section is 14km of the old rail corridor between Kaikohe and Okaihau. In subsequent stages the trail will then run for 34km from Kaikohe to Kawakawa, 25km from Okaihau to Horeke and a further 11km from Kawakawa to Opua. The route will include some gentle climbs with wide paths which will allow cyclists to travel side-by-side for most of the journey


Kauri Cliffs World Top 100 Golf Course the par 72 championship golf course measures 7,125 yards/6,412 meters and offers four sets of tees to challenge every skill level. Fifteen holes view the Pacific Ocean, six of which are played alongside cliffs which plunge to the sea. The beautiful inland holes wind through marsh, forest and farmland. The golf complex includes a world class practice range, putting and chipping greens, a well stocked golf shop. Voted the best new golf course in the world. 45 minutes drive from Tapeka Del Mar


Tall Ships Race - held every January departing Russell and passing Tapeka Beach

  Mac Attack Hole in the Rock trip  

IPiripiri Overnight Luxury Island Cruise



Whale Watching


Cruise to the famous "Hole in the Rock" off Cape Brett at the entrance to the Bay of Islands


  Kawiti Glow Worm Caves - Kawakawa   Vintage steam railway operating from Kawakawa
  Hundertwasser Toilets  

  Kawakawa's world famous Hundertwasser public toilets (restrooms) Amazing tile designs and not a straight wall to been found !   Historic Pompallier Mission House Russell c 1842. The sole surviving building of the French Catholic mission headquarters to the Western Pacific. working museum, where tanning, printing and book binding can be seen.

  Cape Brett lighthouse marking the southern entrance to the Bay of Islands since 1909. The track Starts at Oke Bay or is 2.5 hours from Deep Water Cove where it passes  

Sail NZ Day Catamaran Day Trips

  Twin Coast Cycleway   Opua to Russell Walkway (click for lge map)

R Tucker Thompson Tall Ship day sailing

  Sand Dune Riding

  Horse Riding trails near Waitangi  

Kingfisher Yacht Charters day charters

  Russell Birdman Festival held every July    2 in 1 Sky Dive and Scuba Dive !
  Dive the Canterbury at Deep Water Cove   Action world circus theme park Paihia
  Parasailing from Paihia   Swimming with Dolphins off Tapeka Beach



View from top



Wairere Boulder Valley - Hokianga


          Eco walking tour to Deep Water Cove


Another Marlin weigh in at the Russell wharf


  Sea Kayaking tours from Tapeka Beach

Salt Air scenic flight over Roberton Island

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Manginangina Boardwalk

Hug a Kauri Tree near Dargaville

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Waka (war canoe) in Waitangi Reserve near Paihia

Maori Meeting House at the Waitangi Treaty grounds


Russell Mini Tours - informative local tour taking in all the local highlights and local history including Tapeka and Long Beach. Departs from Russell Wharf. An ideal way to get a quick familiarisation of the area BOOK NOW

Makana Chocolate Factory - Kerikeri

Where you can sample the goods before you buy

Marsden Winery Kerikeri - great weekend wine tasting and lunch

near the Kerikeri turn off

Omata Estate vineyard near Russell

Wine tasting and lunches with commanding views

Historic Stone Store Kerikeri -  next to Kemp House, New Zealand's oldest building built by missionaries and Maoris  prior to the Treaty signing

Haruru Falls on the Paihia Kerikeri road


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Opua Marina with berths available for visiting vessels

Excellent cafe, marine stores and services

Just west of Whangarei. Lions, Tigers, Cats and many more animal species in their natural environment. This is no zoo. Group and private tours
Custom Search Bay of Islands and Northland




Tapeka Del Mar is the perfect base to explore the northern tip of New Zealand. Cape Reinga, the west coast Kauri forests and the city of Whangarei are all easy day trips from Tapeka. Attraction information is provided at the house and there is an information centre and attraction booking offices in Russell






"The Bay of Islands is one place you will never get bored and a must include destination on your itinerary"




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