There is a magnificent array of wildlife in the Bay of Islands, above and below the water. We see incredible sea and bird life on every trip and often see dolphins cruising through our anchorage.

Marine mammals

The Bay of Islands has transient dolphins that often frequent our favourite anchorages. We are often blessed with the opportunity of seeing large families of wild bottlenose dolphins playing, resting or hunting. We see them in their natural setting, either crossing our path while cruising or whilst on anchor. Our intention is not to harass or interfere with their natural patterns and we treat their friendly visits as a great privilege. The bottlenose dolphins are the largest and friendliest of the dolphin family and can grow up to 3.5 metres in length. We see pods or groups of up to 20 dolphins at a time in the Bay of Islands. At certain times of the year we are lucky enough to see newborn dolphins swimming with these pods.

Orca are occasional visitors to the Bay, while travelling up to 150km per day. When we hear of these sightings we can be sure not to see any dolphins as they disappear to safer waters. Orca can grow to nearly 10m in length and have a striking black and white colour. These huge mammals are very curious and often approach boats to investigate.

The New Zealand Fur Seal is seen in Northland waters during spring. They are often sighted out near Piercy Island (the Hole in the Rock) during this period. This cute, whiskery creature can dive deeper and longer than any other fur seal.

Native birds

The Bay of Islands is home to a number of native birds. You will often hear kiwi calling at night and might see signs of their night-feeding excursions on some of the islands. Oyster catchers with their distinctive red bills are often seen feeding on the rocks. The rare New Zealand Dotterels are nesting on a number of the islands: if you see one looking as though it has a broken wing, beware! it’s only pretending and in fact it is trying to distract you away from its nest. We frequently see little blue penguin, relaxing on the surface of the sea, well unless you make to much noise in which case they will dive. Always keeping our eyes open for gannets diving the waters – a clear indication there are fish feeding close to the surface. It’s always a pleasure seeing these big, graceful birds whether they be resting on the rocks or soaring above all over the waters of the Bay of Islands.

Rock the Boat NZ! This overnight trip is great fun and well worth doing, particularly if travelling in a large group.Charlie G

This was definitely the highlight of my trip in NZ! I absolutely loved the cruise and still talk about it to everyone as the highlight of my trip! So many fun activities! Fishing, night time kayaking, snorkelling and exploring an island plus many more! It was a very unique experience with friendly and passionate crew who instantly shared their passion and love for their time on the cruise! Amazing experience that really brings people together through travel :)Lara M

If you're considering it - just book it now. We had even more fun than we expected and we expected a lot. Great team, great boat, a great adventure. We've come home feeling like we had a real holiday after just 22 hours on the boat. It felt like a week in the best possible way. Thanks guys - you truly do rock! (Fellow Kiwis, get in on this - it's magic).Cara Tipping Smith, NZ

The Rock was one of the first things I had the pleasure of experiencing when I moved to Paihia in January and I have been raving about it ever since!Charlotte

Enviro Award Silver Tourism Industry Association NZ DOC NZ