Things to do on (and under) the water

We find for the most part we are better to do your bookings based on local knowledge and the weather at the time of your stay. This service does not cost you anything.  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 is 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:

Tall ship

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 sailboat.

To see or swim with dolphins by yacht there’s Carino Sailing

For the dolphin boats we recommend Explore


Diving companies can take you out for reef dives or wreck dives at the Canterbury or Rainbow Warrior.