In our ‘Complete Guide’ series, we’re going to be visiting some of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations and getting the inside track from our GO Explore followers on the best places to stay, eat, drink, sunbathe and more. Instead of just finding out what the guidebooks tell you, find out what the locals and the travellers think when it comes to the best place to get an ice cream, the best fish and chips and the best cocktail you’ll ever taste!

The next in our series of Complete Guides takes us to the Bay of Islands on the North Island, just a short three and a half hour drive from Auckland and home to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches, beautiful views and the rare occurrence of two oceans colliding. If you’re planning a trip to the far north, you’re in for an absolute treat. Let’s get GOing!

Worthy of an honourable mention is Kerikeri which is definitely a town to add to your list of places to visit on your trip to Northland. Kerikeri is home to New Zealand’s oldest Stone Building as well as some great walks and waterfalls. There is no shortage of accommodation options and it is a little quieter than the busy towns of Paihia and Russell.

Best accommodation in the Bay of Islands

Obviously there are a lot of places to choose from when you are picking your accommodation for the Bay of Islands – whilst most people will choose to head to Paihia and Russell, we asked our GO Explorers for their top tips and this is what they came back with:

Best places to eat out in the Bay of Islands

There are hidden gems all across the Bay of Islands which is why it’s a good job we have our GO Explorers to help you to pick out some of the best. Here are some of top restaurants, takeaways and cafes in the Bay of Islands – let us know what you think.

Best beaches in the Bay of Islands and Northland

As you would imagine, the Bay of Islands and Northland region is not short on amazing beaches. Whether you are looking to kick back and relax with a good book or you are looking for a great walk, one of these amazing beaches should tick your boxes. Take a peek at the top five beaches in Northland:

Rent the perfect car for your adventure

Recommended vehicle for exploring the Bay of Islands


0-1 year(s) old

The Ford Everest Titanium is perfect for exploring the coastal roads around the Bay of Islands with adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.

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5-7 Seats

4 large bags

6 small bags

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