Following an increasing number of potential safety incidents on KiwiRail’s Great Journeys of New Zealand scenic rail services, the outdoor viewing carriages will be closed until further notice while a safety solution is found.
Starting in Auckland, travel north on one of GreatSights' comfortable and air-conditioned deluxe coaches on this Bay of Islands day tour. Sit back, relax and enjoy the informative commentary as you cross the iconic Harbour Bridge, and soak up New Zealand's spectacular scenery of rural countryside and sub-tropical bush en route to the beautiful Bay of Islands.
After arriving in Paihia, visit neighbouring Waitangi for a guided tour of the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds where in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Maori and the British Crown. Explore the original Treaty House, one of New Zealand's oldest and most visited historic homes and the Te Whare Runanga, a fully carved Maori meeting house, which is representative of all iwi (regional tribes) in New Zealand. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds offer a truly unique insight into New Zealand's early history.
After returning to Paihia, take a short ferry ride across the harbour to Russell, also known by its Maori name Kororareka. From here you will enjoy the Russell Mini Tour by coach. This intimate one-hour tour is led by an engaging guide who has a fantastic combination of historical knowledge and local insight, really bringing the cultural history of the area alive. Although Russell may seem tranquil today, you'll hear all about its rowdy past in the early 19th century when it was a lawless open port, known as the 'Hell Hole of the Pacific'!
Learn about the features that make Russell so significant in New Zealand's history, such as Christ Church (the oldest church in New Zealand), historic Pompallier House, and even the country's oldest licensed pub. You'll also hear more about the world's second oldest game fishing club – the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club, made famous by American author Zane Grey. The tour visits areas which cannot be easily covered on foot, like Flagstaff Hill (Te Maiki), which offers stunning 360-degree views of the whole Bay of Islands.
After your tour ends you'll have time to wander the township before returning to Paihia.
Free WiFi available on board the coach
Please note: this tour operates on Christmas Day (25th Dec) and Waitangi Day (6th Feb) but does not include the visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds on those days.
A picnic lunch is available on this tour (extra cost applies). Lunches must be pre booked by 6pm the day before travel. Ask us for details.