What shall we do if...
We want to take a drive
Of course one of the most versatile ways to experience the Bay of Islands is by car; the drive itself is much of the pleasure as you move through different scenery, from coastal to mountainous landscapes.
Whangaroa. On your return, stay on the main state highway and drive through the quaint town of Kaeo and back to the Bay of Islands via SH10.
For a slightly longer drive, keep heading north from Whangaroa toward Doubtless Bay; Mangonui is a lovely township to browse through and it so happens to have a legendary fish and chip shop.
Hokianga is unmissable. This route takes you through a changing landscape and shows you the heart of Northland, from coast to coast. Coming from Paihia, head north out of town along the Puketona (or Black Bridge) Road. At the end of the road, turn right and immediately left. Follow Old Bay Road until the end of the road and turn right. This will take you through Kaikohe and then on to Omapere and Opononi. You can take the Rawene Road to Rawene and cross to Kohukohu and then travel back to the Bay through the Mangamukas. Or you can head south to Waipoua Forest to see Tane Mahuta, New Zealand’s biggest kauri tree.