Enjoy a sumptuous lunch on a leisurely cruise through the beautiful calm waters of Bay of Islands, passing a vineyard, an oyster farm and several historical sites before reaching the port of Russell.
Your relaxing cruise begins in Waitangi, where in 1840 New Zealand's founding document between the British Crown and the Maori chieftains was signed. It's a fitting point of departure as many of the sites you'll pass in the Bay of Islands have influenced the country's history.
For instance, Okiato, also known as Old Russell, was New Zealand's seat of government before it moved to Auckland and then Wellington. Omata, once a favored destination for European immigrants, has now established itself as one of New Zealand's premier wine-growing regions. In the early 19th-century, Kororareka was the largest whaling port in the southern hemisphere and notoriously inhabited by hard-living seamen, deserters and escaped convicts.
As you cruise the coastline, savoring a traditional New Zealand lunch, you'll learn much about the area's history and how the Bay of Islands has evolved into one of the country's most attractive destinations. Arriving in Russell, you have the option of disembarking the boat to explore on your own, or cruising directly back to the pier in Waitangi. Those who opt to remain in Russell will discover a historical town filled with meticulously restored buildings from the mid-19th century. If you stop at Christ Church, which held its first service in 1835, look for the musket ball holes left from the Battle of Kororareka. A ferry ticket back to Paihia will be provided for your return to the ship.
Please note: Walking on this tour is mainly at the guests' discretion for those who elect to explore Russell. Guests will have to enter and exit the boat with limited assistance. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Casual, weather appropriate clothing to include a light jacket or sweater; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.