Explore the famed islands and coastlines of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and Bay of Islands as we delve into the region’s early New Zealand history, visit island sanctuaries where native wildlife flourishes, and learn about the region’s conservation success stories and on going efforts on this 8-day expedition of Northland.
Spanning 1.2 million hectares of scenic glittering ocean between Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, five marine reserves and more than 50 islands, the Hauraki Gulf is a veritable aquatic wonderland and lays claim to having some of the country’s most beautiful beaches and hidden coves, perfect for exploration by kayak.
The union of three channels, Colville, Cradock and Jellicoe, connect Hauraki Gulf with the Pacific Ocean putting it on the ‘whale super highway’ with almost a third of the world’s marine mammal species living in or visiting the marine park with Orca, Bryde’s Whales and Bottlenose and Common Dolphins regularly observed here.
Below the surface, numerous conservation efforts are underway to help restore the balance to the Gulf which is still recovering from industrialised overfishing and the impacts of the surrounding farming.
The island hopping and national history continues in the subtropical haven of the sheltered waters of the Bay of Islands. Once a raucous seafaring centre with a wild past, this now low-key stretch of paradise is widely regarded as the berth place of the nation and aptly named with some 144 islands ranging from rugged outcrops through to impressive oases.
Experience some of the country’s greatest conservation success stories in action and explore remote, forgotten island paradises by foot, kayak and our luxurious expedition yacht Heritage Explorer as we sail through the Islands of the Hauraki Gulf.