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How to Plan Your Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise Tour from Paihia or Russell

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!

How to Plan Your Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise Tour from Paihia or Russell

If you’re visiting Paihia or Russell, one of the most enjoyable things to do is to experience the beautiful Bay of Islands. Embark on a catamaran tour and witness the stunning marine life including dolphins and whales. Here’s how to plan your Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise tour in Paihia.

Step 1: Book Your Tour

Before anything else, book your tour at least a day before your preferred date to secure your spot. You can book your tour through GetYourGuide’s website, a trusted booking platform, by clicking on book the tour here. Make sure to choose the time and date that works for you.

Step 2: Prepare for Your Tour

Make sure to bring appropriate clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat as the sun can be quite strong in the Bay of Islands. The catamaran has an indoor and outdoor seating area, as well as a large outdoor viewing deck, so you can experience the tour in whatever way you prefer. Don’t forget to bring your camera or phone to capture your exceptional experience.

Step 3: Arrive at the Meeting Point

Arrive at the meeting point 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. The usual meet-up point for the tour is the Maritime Building (Paihia Wharf), situated at Marsden Road, Paihia.

Step 4: Board the Catamaran and Start Your Tour

Once you’re at the meeting point, board the catamaran and listen to the engaging and informative commentary in English from your friendly crew. Sail among the 144 isles in the Bay of Islands and say ‘kia ora’ to dolphins, whales, and other marine life. Be ready to experience one of the most famous sights in the area, the Hole in the Rock, and witness the stunning views of the sea.

Step 5: Enjoy the Amenities of the Cruise

While on the 4.5-hour scenic cruise, the Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise Tour offers free Wi-Fi on board, which is a great perk to share and post about your experience on social media. There’s also food and drink available for purchase onboard.

Step 6: Stop at Urupukapuka Island

On this tour, you’ll also make a stop at Urupukapuka Island, New Zealand’s second-largest island in the stunning Bay of Islands, where you can enjoy swimming, sunbathing and relaxation on the beach or exploring the island on a short walk.


Planning your Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise tour from Paihia or Russell is easy, and it’s an unforgettable experience to witness marine life, stunning views, and to relax in the Bay of Islands. Make sure to book your tour in advance, prepare and arrive on time, and be ready to experience the cruise amenities, stop at Urupukapuka Island, and sail through the iconic and narrow hole in the rock. Enjoy!

Insider’s Guide to Paihia and Russell, New Zealand

Paihia and Russell are located in the Bay of Islands, in the far north of New Zealand. The region is known for its picturesque coastline, abundant marine life, and Maori cultural heritage. In this insider’s guide, we’ll take a closer look at what Paihia and Russell have to offer for tourists, from local attractions and dining spots to cultural experiences and off-the-beaten-path suggestions.

Local Attractions

The Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise Tour, which departs from Paihia or Russell, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. The tour takes you on a scenic cruise to the iconic Hole in the Rock, a natural rock formation that rises out of the sea. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to see dolphins, whales, and other marine life.

Another must-visit attraction in the Bay of Islands is the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, which is the site where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the Maori chiefs and the British Crown. Today, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is a national monument that offers a fascinating insight into the country’s history and culture.

For nature lovers, the Haruru Falls, located just a few kilometers from Paihia, is a great place to visit. The waterfall is easily accessible and offers stunning views, especially during sunset.

Dining Spots

Paihia and Russell have a great culinary scene, with plenty of options for all tastes and budgets. For seafood lovers, the Catch Fish and Chips and the Charlotte’s Kitchen are both great choices. If you’re in the mood for some Asian cuisine, Pukekos Thai Restaurant and Absolute Bliss Thai Restaurant are both highly recommended.

For a more upscale dining experience, the Duke of Marlborough Restaurant in Russell is a great choice. The restaurant offers a fine dining experience with stunning views of the Bay of Islands.

Cultural Experiences

The Te Paki Maori Village in Kaitaia, which is about an hour and a half drive from Paihia and Russell, offers an immersive cultural experience that showcases the traditional Maori way of life. Visitors can enjoy a cultural performance, including the famous Haka, and learn about the history and customs of the Maori people.

Another way to experience the Maori culture is by visiting Russell Museum, which showcases the unique story and heritage of the region through photos, artifacts, and exhibitions.

Local History

Paihia and Russell are steeped in history, and there are many sites that reflect this. The oldest surviving church in New Zealand, Christ Church, is located in Russell and dates back to 1835. Another historical site worth visiting is the Russell Museum, which has collections dating back from the early Maori settlement through to modern times.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Suggestions

For those looking to explore lesser-known places, the Bay of Islands has plenty of hidden gems to discover. The Kawiti Glowworm Caves, located just 30 minutes from Paihia, is a unique experience that takes you through an underground cave system filled with thousands of twinkling glowworms.

Another great off-the-beaten-path suggestion is the Rainbow Falls in Kerikeri, which is a stunning waterfall that is surrounded by lush greenery and is a popular spot for swimming and picnics.

In conclusion, Paihia and Russell are two beautiful towns that offer a variety of experiences, from exploring the Maori culture and local history to indulging in great food and discovering hidden gems. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, cultural experiences, or gastronomic adventures, the Bay of Islands has something to offer for everyone.

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How to Plan Your Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise Tour from Paihia or Russell

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!