Things to do on (and under) the water
There are various options for water trips ranging from large cruise launches to yachts.
This is the most personal way to see why the Bay of Islands are rightly famous. Just you and eight to ten other like-minded people going where the wind (and your captain) takes you. Chances are you'll even have dolphins for company on the way. Lunch is included. We recommend three excellent Russell-based yachts:
Fullers / Great Sights www.dolphincruises.co.nz
The square rigger R Tucker Thompson looks
magnificent in full sail and gives you an idea of what it was like on
ships like the Bounty or Endeavour and for the early settlers coming to
New Zealand. You can help sail her or just sit back and watch the crew
do the work. Morning tea and lunch are included.
If you want to see the bay and the famous Hole in the Rock in one go take one of the cruise boats which offer half and full day cruises through the islands to Cape Brett. On the way look out for dolphins, orca and even occasional whales plus sea birds, not to mention stunning scenery. They give you a commentary on interesting aspects of geography and local history along the way.
The bay is home to several pods of dolphins. Orcas and whales sometimes come into the bay as well. There are several specialist dolphin watching and swimming options, either on a motor launch or sail boat.
To see or swim with dolphins by yacht there's Carino Sailing and Dolphin Adventures.
For the dolphin boats it's Great Sights, Awesome Adventures and Explore as above.
Three diving companies can take you out for reef dives or wreck dives at the Canterbury or Rainbow Warrior.
For something completely different you can learn to crew and paddle a traditional waka (canoe) with tuition by traditionally clad Ngapuhi toa (warriors).