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Bay of Islands Area Guide

Yachting near Russell - ©
Perhaps Northland's most popular tourist destination is the Bay of Islands, a collection of over 140 islands with a coastline sporting four villages set up to house, feed and entertain the region's visitors.

If you take it as read that the area offers a full range of suitable accommodation, restaurants and cafes, then the main attractions are threefold.

First there's the landscape, combining coastal and island beauty with the more rugged forest and bush terrain inland.

Then there's the sea, inlets, rivers, beaches and estuaries, which play host to dozens of water-based activities. These include fishing, cruises, boat charters, sailing trips, kayaking, diving and similar.

Finally, there is a flourishing artist community associated with the area, reflected in the galleries of Russell and the numerous arts and crafts shops of Kerikeri. Most famous among the bay's artists is the late Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who left his mark on the public toilets at Kawakawa, the largest inland settlement associated with the region.

The other main settlements are all on the coast: Kerikeri to the north, then Paihia, Opua and Russell. Browse the listings to learn more about each village and its surrounds, and to explore the possibilities offered by a visit to the stunning Bay of Islands area.