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Photo essay: the stunning Bay of Islands

One of New Zealand’s most picturesque locations is the Bay of Islands, in the far north of the North Island. I recently spent a couple of days there and got out and about in Russell as well as some of the more far flung and pristine islands.

Motuarohia Island

This stunning aerial view of Motuarohia Island was taken by local photographer Stephen Western

Bay of Islands

We climbed up here with a picnic lunch on Moturua Island

Moturua Bay of Islands

After arriving in this yacht and motoring ashore with our chief photographer and boat owner Stephen Western

Moturua flax

Trekking around Moturua touches on four idyllic beaches


Keeping up with Steve, our guide, as we hike around the island

Urupukapuka Bay of Islands

The gateway onto Urupukapuka Island

Urupukapuka bridge

Join the milk run out to Urupukapuka and bring a picnic to enjoy the stunning views over lunch

Urupukapuka Island

The perfect spot for lunch and a few photos on Urupukapuka Island

Russell church

Back in Russell, this is New Zealand’s first church

Russell church musket holes

The church still has musket holes in the walls dating back over 100 years

Duke of Marlborough Hotel

Wander along the ocean front and have a cheeky wine on the veranda at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel, the first pub to get a liquor license in NZ

The Gables Russell

Wander down to the Gables for dinner with stunning ocean views

Russell Four Square

The famous Four Square supermarket has been run by the same family for several generations

Russell wharf

Russell wharf is where the ferries from Paihia come, where kids fish and where Birdmen leap off. Truly.

If you fancy a walk around these stunning islands or to potter around historic Russell, book one of the 21 walks being organised for the inaugural Bay of Islands Walking Weekend in October. Or, be inspired any time and come up here at your leisure to this gem of New Zealand’s northland.


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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!