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Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands via cruise ship

Hello! We will arrive in Bay of Islands by Princess Cruise Ship. We would like to not book an excursion through the cruise line. How do we get from the cruise docking area to Paihia? thank you!

6 Answers

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Auckland

Hi, I'm not sure where the big cruise ships dock in Bay of Islands - perhaps they use tender boats to bring passengers into Paihia while docking offshore. Anyway, Paihia is quite small and will not be a problem to find your way around. You can book great excursions on the wharf at Paihia with Fullers - their office is right there. Most full day tours start between 8-9am but one or two are available later in the day also. Cape Reinga is a great choice, but also cruising around the bays on the Cream Trip is excellent, as is swimming with the dolphins. Have fun!

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Las Vegas

We sailed on Celebrity Mercury into BofI in 2007. We also lived in Auckland for a year, and we fell in love with the BofI.

In 2007, we had to tender to shore. Celebrity provided free shuttle buses to town (5 min ride) and back to Paihia shopping area. The shops in Paihia are near the wharf. Take a ferry over to Russell. Russell is the first English settlement in NZ. The church has amazing petitpoint cushions in the pews. The cemetery is full of history. Take a walk on "The Strand" (road on the shoreline) to Pompalier house. Have lunch at the "Duke of Marborough" hotel. Be sure to check out the Police Station that was built as a church to keep the locals from burning it down. All of this is easy walking and the ferry crossing can't be more than 15 minutes?

Can't be sure, but I believe the Waitangi Treaty House would be near to where the shuttle buses pick up cruises passengers. You should be able to see it from the ship (on a grassy knoll with lots of flags. The WTH is where the Maoris and English signed a peace pact...... and you can guess who came up on the short end. If you have to choose, go to Russell.

Enjoy..... hope you read up on some NZ history before you go.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Las Vegas

Previous post is correct about Fuller's trip. I forgot about them. I would suggest you go on line and see if you can buy tickets ahead of time. We did the Cape Cruise and we did the "cream" trip. The BofI is truly stunning.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member

Thank you for all the suggestions! Very helpful!

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Christchurch

It is correct that you are tendered ashore as the cruise ships cannot dock in the Bay of Islands. Normally the tenders go to Waitangi or Russell.

From Russell you can take the passenger ferry to Paihia, and from Paihia it is just about one kilometre along the shore to Waitangi, so you can walk easily.

As Waitangi is the most important historic place in NZ this would be my first choice for sightseeing. Russell (NZ's first capital) is lovely and also worth a visit, and also has some nice beaches. So if you are happy with just strolling around and get into NZ's history, you would not have to spend a lot of money.

However, as the Bay of Islands also is a place for diving, boat tours, kayaking, dolphin watch and swimming, etc. you can also invest more ;-)

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think there is no local bus to get to Kerikeri where you would find NZ's oldest buildings, and the Intercity bus only operates three times a day or so. If you want to go there you could rent a car in Paihia well before your arrival.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Waterloo

We visited Bay of Islands on Queen Elizabeth this past February and were tendered to the docks at Paihia (right to the Fuller Ferry terminal). From there it is an easy walk to the Treaty House, and the ferries to Russell run every 15 minutes or so throughout the day. Fuller alos offers a package: ferry from Paihia to Russell, and a roughly one hour mini-bus tour with guide around Russell which lets you see the highlights, and you can then walk around to the places that interest you.
Your cruise line probably offers a number of shore excursions, but so does Fuller, possibly at lower cost. One that we would recommend (but did on a previous visit, when we stayed at a local hotel) is the "Cream Trip, or Day in the Bay" which takes you to all the interesting points in the Bay of Islands, with some time to explore on your own. However, be aware that if a cruise line booked shore excursion is delayed, the ship will wait for it; if a privately booked tour is delayed, the ship will leave without you.

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