Bay of Islands
Visitors are attracted to the Bay of Islands for sightseeing, water sports
and exploring the history of New Zealand.
The Bay of Islands is well named as it has 144 islands and many secluded
bays. It is a marine park and the marine life includes marlin, whales,
penguins, dolphins, gannets and many other species.
The main tourist centre is Paihia, but from there visitors take many trips.
Bus trips take them to Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach and launch trips
take them across the Bay to Russell.
The Bay of Islands is rich in history. Early in the nineteenth century
whalers, sealers and traders congregated in Kororareka, now Russell. In the
bay the first Christian service was conducted by English missionary, Samuel
Marsden, on Christmas Day 1814. The Waitangi National Reserve, a short walk
from Paihia, is where the Treaty of Waitangi, the founding document of
modern New Zealand, was signed in 1840. The house where the treaty was
signed has been preserved and you can now visit the Waitangi Visitor Centre
and Treaty House, watch an audio-visual about the history of the area, and
look at a collection of Maori artefacts. On the Reserve there is also an
impressive Maori meeting house and war canoe.
Sailing, cruising, sea-kayaking, fishing and swimming with the dolphins are
popular activities on the water, and sky diving, gliding and parasailing
are avilable for those who like to be airborne.
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