3 Days in the Bay of Islands

North of Auckland lies a paradise with golden beaches, endless sunshine and tons of native wildlife. Welcome to the Bay of Islands!

We know time can be tight when there’s so much to see and do in New Zealand and sometimes you might only have a few days to spare. The good news is that you only need 3 extra days to visit the Bay of Islands with Stray. We’ve put together the perfect itinerary for you that squeezes in all of the very best bits. Check it out:


Jump on the Stray bus from Auckland, cross the harbour bridge and head northbound through Whangarei to the “winterless north”. It’s an early morning drive but you’re going to want to stay awake for this one… the views out the window are simply epic!

Your driver guide will make a stop at the Parry Kauri Park, where you can marvel at the huge Kauri tree that lives there and take some photos.

Top tip: Put your phone in panorama mode and move your camera upwards for a 10/10 Instagram shot!

When you arrive in Paihia, your Stray driver will give you a little tour of the town, and get you checked in to your hostel and you’ll have a whole afternoon free to explore. Not sure what to do? Here’s some ideas for you:

OPTION 1: What better way to start your Northern adventure than by jumping out of a plane? Our mates at Skydive Bay Of Islands offer one of the HIGHEST skydives in the whole of New Zealand at a whopping 20,000 feet. Witness stunning views of the beaches and 144 islands from above and scream for a whole 85 seconds of freefall. Rumour has it you can even see the earth’s curvature from up there. This is an adrenaline activity NOT to be missed!

OPTION 2: For just a few dollars, you can catch a ferry to a little place called Russell. Fun fact – this colonial style village used to be the capital of New Zealand back in the day! Hike up to the flagstaff for some great views, go swimming at Oneroa bay or just kick back and watch the sunset on the main beach.

Finish the day with a BBQ and some drinks at the hostel bar!


Prepare yourself for one of the best days you can have in New Zealand – the Cape Reinga day trip! Those with an Everywhere, Maximus, Short Maximus, Jonah or Patch pass have this day included but for those who don’t, it’s an easy add-on (and we’d HIGHLY recommend it!)

It’s a long 12-hour day but there are enough stops to make every second worthwhile! Plus, you can recover and sleep on the bus if you partied just a little too hard the night before…

Highlights of the tour include:

Exploring yet another stunning kauri forest.

Driving along 90 mile beach, an official state highway! It’s actually just 88km long but ssshhhhh.

Witnessing the Tasman sea meet the Pacific ocean at the northern most tip of New Zealand, learning more about the fascinating Maori culture and why this place is so spiritually significant.

Sandboarding down GIANT dunes in Te Paki.

Munching on the yummiest ‘fush n chups’ in all of New Zealand*
*Just our opinion. We’ll let you guys be the real judges.

Sounds pretty amazing right? You’ll sleep like a baby after all that adventuring (or you’ll just be super pepped and ready to party again).


The Stray bus departs for Auckland in the afternoon, which gives you a free morning to have EVEN more fun.

You can hire a kayak or paddle board, go parasailing, walk to a waterfall or grab a delicious brunch at one of the many cafes in town. However, there are two stand-out activities run by our mates at Fullers Great Sights that we think you should definitely consider:

OPTION 1: Journey right to the end of the Cape Brett peninsula to see the famous Hole in the Rock on Motukokako Island. If conditions permit, your skipper will guide the boat through the narrow space so you can get up close and personal with this iconic landmark. Have your camera at the ready too, just in case you spot any dolphins and whales!

OPTION 2: Hop aboard the Island adventurer and cruise around the islands on the Cliffs and Caves tour. You’ll explore the hidden caves, lagoons and sheer rock cliffs around Roberton Island and stop off on Urupukapuka Island for a short walk. Keep an eye out for wildlife during your cruise, as you visit a gannet colony and learn about the area’s juvenile hammerhead shark nursery.

Are you itching to go and play in the Bay? We don’t blame you!


Grab one of our Stray passes and live out this 10/10 weekend for yourself!


Originally from Birmingham, UK. Favourite Stray stop: Tongariro National Park. Fun fact: she has done every Bungy Jump in New Zealand.

These New Zealand Tours will depart soon

Fantail South Island Tour

14 days - starts & ends in Picton (optional: Wellington or Christchurch)

Explore the best the South Island has to offer: highlights and lots of hidden gems.

Morepork All of NZ Tour

24 days - starts & ends in Auckland

Explore the North and South Island. Hike some of NZ's best tracks and kayak at sunrise and more, much more.

Weka South Island Tour

10 days - starts & ends in Christchurch.

This tour is all about the scenery. Each day delivers more breathtaking views, epic hikes & landscapes.

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