The Bay of Islands is a picturesque area on the northern coast of the North Island. We stayed in the lovely town of Paihia, which is a quiet little place with very few tourists. You can spend the day on the beach, do water sports, or take various types cruises out to the islands.
Tiritiri Matangi is an island is located in the Hauraki Gulf and can be accessed by a one-hour ferry ride from Auckland. This is a birder’s paradise. Birds in New Zealand evolved to be unafraid of mammals due to the absence of natural predators and were therefore wiped out when the islands were colonized and predators were introduced. This island is now a wildlife sanctuary where the original habitat and native species of birds have been reintroduced. It is absolutely wonderful.