If you’re looking for a slower paced, but more hands-on experience than a simple boat cruise, then sailing a yacht on the Bay of Islands may be for you. There are several companies that operate yacht trips that range from one to three-day cruises. Most of the one-day cruises depart Paihia or Russell around 10am, returning around 4pm. Some of the sailing companies only operate during summer.
Bay of Islands Sailing (Gungha II)
Bay of Islands Sailing operate sailing trips on Gungha II, a 60ft maxi-yacht is loads of fun and many people regard it as the best of the one-day cruises. You have the opportunity to help crew the yacht or you can let others do the work. There is an island stop over and there is also a chance to see dolphins. This trip operates October–May and a full day sailing costs $110 including lunch.
Carino Sailing operate full day sailing trips on a spacious 12m (40ft) catamaran. This boat makes plenty of island stops where you can swim or snorkel and there are often opportunities to swim with dolphins. A day sailing costs $124.
Ecocruz run a fantastic three-day sailing trip aboard a 22m (72ft) ocean-going yacht and the longer trip allows you plenty of time to really experience the Bay of Islands. This trip includes sea kayaking, snorkelling and fishing and you get to explore islands in the bay. There’s also the opportunity to see marine wildlife, including dolphins. This trip departs Tuesday and Friday between October and May. The three-day cruise starts at $725, including all meals and accommodation on board the boat.
She’s a Lady
She’s a Lady Island Sailing Adventures run full day trips on the bay with lunch on an island and opportunities for snorkelling, swimming, fishing and knee boarding. A full day sailing costs $97.