The Tasman Sea on the west and the Pacific Ocean on the east meet at the top of North Island at Cape Reinga. No matter what route you take, you'll pass farms and forests, marvellous beaches, and great open spaces. The East Coast, up to the Bay of Islands, is Northland's most densely populated, often with refugees from bigger cities—looking for a more relaxed life—clustered around breathtaking beaches. The first decision on the drive north comes at the foot of the Brynderwyn Hills. View more
The romance of the seas, small ship sizes and intimate atmosphere, Silversea has long been a leader in the ultra-luxury market. Travelling to both iconic and secluded ports, Silversea’s award-winning itineraries inspire wanderlust and exploration. With over 900 destinations, longer port stays and more late-night departures than ever before, even the savviest traveler will find something new. A butler for every suite, a complimentary in-suite bar stocked with your preferences, all-inclusive exquisite dining, award-winning onboard entertainment and an unparalleled space to guest ratio all contribute to the Silversea experience. Not forgetting our famed Italian hospitality, where new faces become old friends. Bienvenuti a bordo.
An informative introduction to the history of New Zealand can be experienced on this tour as you learn both the Maori & European stories of their early beginnings. Other highlights include visiting the historic Kerikeri Basin, walking amongst the enormous Kauri trees and being welcomed onto a traditional Maori Marae (Meeting House), where the customs of the local tribe will be explained.
Get acquainted with the rich traditions and culture of the Maori people, who have lived in this area for more than 800 years. After tendering to the wharf, you will be welcomed by your Maori guide and transferred to nearby Kerikeri. Stop for photos of the historic Kerikeri Basin, where two of New Zealand's oldest buildings are located, Kemp House and the Stone Store. Continue through the picturesque town of Kerikeri, well known for its citrus orchards, to the beautiful Puketi Forest.
Enjoy a short walk in the forest, which has many towering kauri trees, the largest of New Zealand's native trees. Once covering the whole of Northland, the kauri was grossly exploited for building timber in the late 19th century and there are now very few fine specimens of this gigantic tree still around.
A special highlight will be a visit to a traditional Maori
, Marae, or meeting place. You will drive through the lush green Northland countryside to the Marae. Here you will experience a traditional Maori welcome before entering the richly carved meeting house of the Maori people. The elders of the tribe will explain the carvings and the traditions of the Maori people to you. They trace their ancestry back to the Maori voyages to New Zealand from Polynesia, approximately 800 years ago. Juice or water will be served at the Marae.
Return to the Bay of Islands via Waimate North where, for a short time in the late 1830s and early 1840s, the influential Anglican Church established its New Zealand headquarters. Finally, pass by the many locations around Paihia and the Waitangi Reserve where Maori ancestors fiercely debated the Treaty of Waitangi - New Zealand's founding document, and to a viewpoint overlooking the grounds, before returning to the pier.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking, approximately 500 yards (457 metres), with a few steps to climb. Participating guests with limited mobility and those who utilise a wheelchair, able to get on and off the coach via steps, may not be able to access all of the sites. The order of sites seen may vary. If there is a tangi (funeral) the guests may visit a different Marae.
An opportunity to explore the unique and stunning coastline surrounding the Bay of Islands region and flying over the "Hole in the Rock" at Cape Brett.
The Bay of Islands offers some of the best coastal and island scenery in New Zealand, this helicopter scenic flight offers exceptional views of these beautiful islands leading to the infamous "Hole in the Rock".
Cape Brett Lighthouse
Join your minivan for a short transfer from the Wharf to the beachfront helipad in Paihia. Your flight heads across Russell with views over to Opua and surrounds before tracking along the stunning peninsula coastline to Cape Brett and it's lighthouse where you will experience an exciting turn to fly around the Hole in the Rock and its remote coastline on the Eastern side on the Cape Brett Peninsula.
The return portion of the flight flies directly over the main islands of the area with birds eye views of their white sandy beaches. Before coming into land you will see views of the Kerikeri Peninsula then past the Waitangi Treaty grounds and Paihia township before landing back at Paihia, where awaiting is your return transfer to the Wharf.
Please note: This tour requires a minimal amount of walking and is not recommended for those who utilise a wheelchair. Guests must be able to embark and disembark the mini van and helicopter with minimal assistance. It operates in a chartered, 5-seater Longranger Helicopter, and minivan vehicles. A minimum/maximum of 4 guests is required for operation; space is very limited. Total flying time is approximately 30 minutes. Due to weight and balance limitations, as well as guest safety and comfort, the maximum weight per passenger is 297 pounds (135 kilograms/21 stones). Seating is at the pilot's discretion. All members of your party are required to submit their weight information to the Shore Concierge once on board. Operation of this tour is subject to favourable weather and wind conditions and may be cancelled by the pilot on short notice.
Explore this region's geological wonders dating back 300 years and see a multitude of stalactites and stalagmites within limestone caves covered with millions of glow worms at the Kawiti Glow Worm Caves. Get close enough to see the actual body of the glow worm and its blue/green tail light.
Kawiti Glow Worm Caves
Depart the pier with your driver-guide for a scenic drive into the countryside to the Kawiti Caves, which to this day are still owned by the Kawiti family, whose early founders fought against the British army. Follow your guide along a wooden boardwalk through a 655 foot (200 metre) limestone cave system. As you wonder at the glow worms above, your guide will explain the life cycle of the New Zealand glow worm (Arachnocampa Luminosa) and the intricate webs used to catch their prey (mosquitoes and midges). You will get close enough to see the actual body of the glow worm with its blue/green tail light, before making the return bushwalk walk through a natural corridor of karst rock formations and pristine rainforest. Re-board your coach for the short drive to Kawakawa, the quintessential New Zealand town.
Next, visit nearby Kawakawa which still has a railway line running down the middle of its main street. However, its claim to fame is its public toilets designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the famed Austrian architect and artist. With a thatched roof and a living tree, gold balls, mosaic tiling and bottle-glass windows all integrated into the structure, the colourful toilets are the unmistakable hallmarks of the Austrian-turned-New Zealand artist. They are without doubt the most photographed toilets in the world.
Re-board your coach for the drive back to the pier, travelling via the scenic village of Paihia.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking for a distance of approximately a half mile (1.2 kilometres) over undulating unpaved paths, with approximately 200 steps. Portions of the walk are on steep inclines and can be strenuous. Guests should be in good physical condition. This tour is not suitable for guests who suffer from claustrophobia, have limited mobility, or those who utilise a wheelchair. Dress in layers, bring a warm jacket and wear flat, comfortable walking shoes.
Experience the pristine natural beauty of the Bay of Islands during this scenic kayaking excursion amidst the calm waters of the Waitangi Estuary.
Waitangi Estuary Kayaking
After tendering ashore, meet your kayaking guide and walk across the Waitangi Bridge to the Coastal Kayakers base. Following your safety and kayaking instructions, board your two-passenger kayak and commence your guided kayaking excursion in the beautiful Waitangi Estuary.
Along the way, pass by an abundance of mangrove trees. The lifeblood of the estuary, this unique tree features an extensive root system protruding out from under the water and is a favourite breeding-ground for many small fish.
At the end of the Waitangi Estuary is Haruru Falls, which are surrounded on one side by the beautiful Waitangi Forest. Although not especially high, the Haruru Falls are a spectacular sight nonetheless, especially after any recent rainfall. After a stop for light refreshments, commence the return transfer back to the wharf.
Upon arrival, walk back across the Waitangi Bridge and tender back to the ship.
Please note: This tour involves an extensive amount of activity, including walking for approximately 700 yards (about 640 metres) and two hours of kayaking. It is recommended for guests in good physical condition and is not suitable for pregnant women or guests with back and/or neck, heart and/or respiratory problems, limited mobility, or those who utilise a wheelchair. Wear a swimsuit under a cover-up with beach shoes and bring sun protection and a towel from the ship. Lifejackets are provided. The maximum weight to participate on this tour is 220 pounds (100 kilograms/15.7 stone). A signed waiver is required to participate on this tour.
Enjoy an exciting journey aboard a 50-foot (15 metres) Maori War Canoe, the Waka Taua. After a traditional Maori welcome, depart from the beach on an educational tour to historical landmarks and sites. Paddle over the tidal estuaries of the Waitangi River to the Haruru Falls as a guide shares legendary tales and provides rare and unique insights into ancient customs, rituals and traditions of the local Ngapuhi people.
Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands is home to the Ngapuhi tribe, join their interactive Waka experience which provides a rare and unique insight into Maori ancient customs, rituals and traditions. Their ancient histories and stories are shared as you paddle together aboard a 50 foot (15 metres) Waka Taua (Maori War Canoe) on the tidal estuaries of the Waitangi River. Departing from the Waitangi Bridge, the Waka voyages are a perfect combination of eco and interactive cultural experiences. Engage in conversation with the Maori host who will share personal, tribal and family histories from an ancient past.
This tour is an interactive and educational Waka (Traditional Maori war canoe) experience; learning traditional paddle techniques, Waka manoeuvres, chants and Haka whilst absorbing the breath taking natural beauty of the Waitangi River eco systems native flora and fauna.
Paddle to the pool of the sacred and spiritual Haruru waterfalls. The magic of this place is brought to life by the skilful oratory of the local guides.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking and extensive paddling. It is recommended for guests in good physical condition. This tour would not be suitable for pregnant women or guests with back and/or neck, heart and/or respiratory problems, limited mobility, or those who utilise a wheelchair. Wear a swimsuit under a cover-up with beach shoes as your feet will get wet and bring sun protection and a towel from the ship. Lifejackets are provided. There will be some walking required as well as paddling.
Discover the splendid natural beauty, historic sites and flavours of the Bay of Islands during this panoramic, half-day sightseeing cruise with lunch.
Bay of Islands, Boat Cruise, Opua, Omata Estate Vineyard, Kororareka Oyster Farm, Okiato, Lunch
Depart the pier aboard a motorboat for a scenic cruise along the calm waters towards Opua, then past the Omata Estate Vineyard and Kororareka Oyster Farm before heading over to Okiato. En route, sit back and relax whilst dining on a New Zealand-inspired meal on board the boat, which was specifically designed inside for lunch and dinner cruises. Your dining experience is the highlight of this tour, which takes place against the backdrop of the Bay of Islands and its historic sites.
Russell Town, Waterfront Village, Old Homesteads, Churches and Wooden Cottages, Free Time
It's hard to fathom that the gorgeous town of Russell was dubbed the 'Hell Hole of the Pacific' by whalers, traders and sealers. Russell was the original port in the North Island, and today is a picturesque waterfront village filled with old homesteads, historic churches and wooden cottages. Disembark your boat in Russell for some free time to explore the township at your leisure. At the conclusion of your visit, embark the boat and commence the approximately 30-minute drive back to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves a minimal amount of walking, with a few steps to negotiate to embark/disembark the boat. This tour is not suitable for guests prone to seasickness, guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair. Guests are advised to wear lightweight, comfortable clothing with flat, closed-toe walking or boat shoes, and bring sun protection and a weatherproof coat or jacket from the ship. Guests must be at least 18 years old to participate in tastings of alcoholic beverages. Operation of this tour is subject to weather conditions. Space on this tour is very limited; we suggest you book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Join your driver-guide at the wharf and visit two of Northland's vineyards including wine tastings. This half day tour will take you to the boutique Ake Ake vineyard and the well-established Marsden Estate winery. Both vineyards are family owned and operated, and consistently produce award winning wines.
Northland is starting to make a name for itself as a premium wine region in New Zealand producing quality Chardonnays, Pinot Gris, Syrahs and unique varieties such as Chambourcin and Tempranillo.
The tour will take you to the boutique Ake Ake vineyard and the well-established Marsden Estate winery. Both vineyards are family owned and operated, and consistently produce award winning wines. This tour includes wine tastings at each vineyard and a platter at Marsden Estate.
Afterwards travel to the Kerikeri Basin and pass by the historic Stone Store and make a brief stop at a local chocolate shop.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking, approximately 50 yards (45 metres) at each of the wineries. Participating guests with limited mobility and those who utilise a wheelchair, able to get on and off the coach via steps, may not be able to access all of the sites. The order of sites seen may vary. Guests must be 18 years of age to consume alcohol in New Zealand.
This half-day tour provides a good introduction to the Bay of Islands area and its Maori and European history. It was here that many of New Zealand's formative events occurred. After tendering ashore, meet your driver-guide and board the coach for the drive to Kerikeri via Paihia.
Visit New Zealand's oldest building on a guided tour, the Kemp House dating from 1822 and the adjacent Stone Store built in 1832. It was at Kerikeri where the Church of England missionaries established their second mission station in 1819. Continue with your drive to the Waitangi Golf Course Lookout for a fine view over the area. Then, a short distance farther, arrive at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Visitors to this historic place become acquainted with the signing of the most significant pact between the Maori and Great Britain on February 6, 1840. See the historic Treaty House before strolling through the beautiful grounds and admiring an elaborately carved Marae (Maori meeting place), as well as a waka, a huge canoe that required over 70 warriors to paddle.
From here, head back to the Wharf, and tender back to the ship.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking, approximately 500 yards (460 metres) downhill at the Treaty Grounds, with a few steps to climb. Participating guests with limited mobility and those who utilise a wheelchair, able to get on and off the coach via steps, may not be able to access all of the sites. The order of sites seen may vary.
Sail through the famous 'Hole in the Rock' during this scenic, half-day, catamaran excursion to the Bay of Islands.
Bay of Islands, Catamaran Cruise
Depart the pier aboard a chartered catamaran for a picturesque, approximately three-hour cruise along the Bay of Islands. Sit back and relax aboard the vessel, which features comfortable indoor and open-deck seating, and a well-stocked cash bar, whilst observing many of the Bay's 144 islands from close quarters.
Cape Brett Lighthouse, Cathedral Cave Formation, Piercy Island, 'Hole in the Rock'
Sail past the historic Cape Brett Lighthouse, the only historic lighthouse managed by the Department Of Conservation with its internal workings still in place, and pass the famous Cathedral Cave formation nearby.
Your route circles Piercy Island, also known as 'Motukokako Island', at the outermost limits of the Bay of Islands, and sails through the 'Hole in the Rock' (weather-permitting). Perhaps one of the most naturally beautiful sights in all of New Zealand, this 210-foot (about 64-metre) hole at sea level was created over centuries by wind and waves. Be sure to have your camera on hand to capture this awe-inspiring natural wonder.
Seabirds, Dolphins, Penguins
Seabirds and marine life abound in this vicinity; bottlenose and common dolphins are the most frequently encountered marine mammals in the Bay of Islands, and you may see a pod during your journey. You may also see little blue penguins, Australasian gannets, black-winged gulls, red-and-black-beaked gulls, Caspian and white-fronted terns, Buller's, sooty, flesh-footed and fluttering shearwaters, prions, storm petrels and pied shags. On the islands, you are likely to see variable oyster-catchers, dotterels, fantails, pukekos, and tuis. Your panoramic Bay of Islands cruise concludes back at the pier.
Please note: This tour involves a minimal amount of walking, with a few steps to negotiate to embark/disembark the boat. This tour is not suitable for guests prone to seasickness, guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair. Guests are advised to wear lightweight, comfortable clothing with flat, closed-toe walking or boat shoes, and bring sun protection and a weatherproof coat or jacket from the ship. Although frequently encountered on this type of tour, marine life sightings are not guaranteed. Operation of this tour is subject to weather conditions. If the sea conditions are not favourable or deemed to be too rough, and the boat is unable to go out to the 'Hole in the Rock', an alternative inner-island experience is substituted.