The "Bay of Islands" was how Captain Cook described this area two centuries ago when he found a coastline of bays and white sandy beaches and a sea dotted with 150 islands. The Maoris believe that the Bay of Islands was originally discovered by their legendary navigator Kupe. This is where the Maoris first arrived, and not so long ago was a base for whalers, sealers and sailors, preparing the way for a fusing of Maori and European culture.
The Bay of Islands is the finest Maritime Park in the country with 144 islands, secluded bays and an abundance of marine life. There are endless activities too - fresh water and deep sea fishing, forest and beach walks, all kinds of water sports and great golf courses. Northland is the cradle of European civilization in New Zealand and has many historic places to visit. The Waitangi National Reserve also has the finest examples of Maori culture and traditions in the world for you to experience.
Access to area is normally from the townships of Paihia and Russell. The Treaty House at Waitangi is the site where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the representative of the British Crown and the chiefs of a number of Maori tribes. The Treaty is considered to be the founding document of New Zealand although there remain a number of disputes concerning it.
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