Life on board Island Passage delivers equal quantities of luxury, fun and adventure. You’ll get the rest and relaxation you’ve been waiting for, accompanied by your choice of mild or wild outdoor experiences – fishing, kayaking, hiking and swimming. Helpful, charming crew will ensure that every moment is pure pleasure. The 144 islands that make up the Bay of Islands are a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers. You’ll discover perfect beaches, untouched native forests, fabulous day walks and interesting historic sites. Nearly a century ago this area was named ‘the angler’s Eldorado’ by Zane Grey, and in terms of New Zealand’s history it’s the birthplace of our nation.
We operate one tender (4-6 guests) with a guide for approximately 2 hours on fishing days.
When we designed our small ship the instructions were simple: we wanted a luxurious layout, spacious and comfortable for a maximum of 24 like-minded travellers. Similarly, oversized cabins, generous en-suites, wide halls and decks that prevented that feeling of being cramped in small spaces and to create an overwhelming feeling of being on board a small private yacht. We wanted an experience designed around the little details that really mattered; fine linens, ever changing selection of natural soaps and shampoos, nightly turndown service with delicious chocolates and bottled water, the fresh smell of flowers, ample lighting, storage and seating areas, individually controlled air conditioning in each cabin, fabulous cuisine and a crew who love to be of service to our guests.
For fun trips away from the ship, Island Passage carries purpose-built landing craft, three large tenders, sea kayaks, a five-seat helicopter, fish and snorkel equipment. Never a dull moment, although lazing in a deckchair is always an acceptable option. During each journey, our eight-person crew is on hand to share their knowledge of the ocean and all of the local activities.
Our expedition boats are designed to provide fast and efficient transport to and from the ‘Island Passage’ and are well suited for exploring the local bays, islands, and rivers that are right on your doorstep. All boats are manned with guides, two-way radios and safety equipment for your peace of mind.
We hope that you will come and join us on our adventures. You will visit remote islands and beaches, snorkel over beautiful reefs, visit local communities and experience fabulous locations in New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands.
Your ship departs the port of Opua at 5pm this afternoon, cruising up the veronica channel towards the tourist hub of Paihia and the historic village of Russell. You’ll be sipping champagne, nibbling canapés and getting to know your fellow cruisers as the exquisite scenery slips by. Our crew is always on hand to explain points of interest, or refill your glass. Your first night will be spent at picturesque Opunga Cove, a tranquil haven for cruising yachts and launches. The cove faces west, so you can sit and enjoy the sunset from your comfortable steamer chair on deck. Opunga, also known as Assassination Cove, has a fearsome history. French Explorer Marion Du Fresne and 26 of his crew were killed and eaten in this bay in the 1800s. Utu (revenge) was carried out as the crew ignored warnings and fished in a tapu (sacred) area. Thankfully the tapu was removed many years ago, so our fishing guides can take you to their favourite spots.
Today you’ll visit beautiful Motuarohia/Roberton Island, which you can explore in many different ways. Snorkel in the sheltered lagoon, kayak around the bay or hike up to the historic Maori Pa site.
From the summit you’ll be rewarded by blockbuster views of the entire Bay of islands area – green jewels in a sea of sparkling blue. Like Opunga Cove, this island has a murderous history.
Ask one of the crew to tell you the horrific story that ends with a 60-metre plunge off the island’s cliffs. Late afternoon we’ll motor to Urupukapuka, the largest island in the bay.
While anchored in gorgeous Paradise Bay (which is very aptly named), you’ll enjoy our chef’s gourmet barbecue with fresh seafood and produce from the local farmers’ markets.
Today there’s plenty of time to discover Urupukapuka Island. You could hike around the island, which has historic pa sites and several fabulous beaches. Or explore the edges of the island by kayak, stopping for a picnic along the way. Fishing from one of our tenders is also an option – maybe you’ll catch dinner! if this all sounds too much, simply lounge around on board with a great book and regular deliveries of cold drinks and tasty nibbles. After lunch we’ll cruise through the narrows of the Albert Passage and along Cape Brett Peninsula towards Deep Water Cove. Watch for gannets and dolphins along the way. Deep Water Cove is a magical nature reserve complete with an idyllic waterfall framed by native forest. We hope you’ll get the chance to swim with the dolphins here – an amazing experience you’ll remember forever. A popular option from Deep Water Cove, which was Zane Grey’s favourite angling base, is a fishing trip to Piercy Island (also known as the ‘hole in the rock’). if conditions allow we will overnight in this spectacular cove.
Today’s destination is beautiful Oke Bay, an anchorage that will certainly tempt you over the side for a swim. Dolphins often visit this bay, so you might have another dolphin encounter here. The water is beautifully clear – swimming to the beach is always an option for fitter guests. When the sun begins to set we return through the Albert Passage to our anchorage in Parekura Bay.
After a sumptuous breakfast on deck, we’ll make ready to motor across to the other side of the Bay of islands. Along the way you can admire stunning homes tucked into remote bays and beaches. We’ll make a detour to the Black rocks, to collect fresh green- lipped mussels for our barbecue lunch. The sauvignon blanc is chilling and the chef is determined to impress you, yet again.
Our anchorage for the night is the Te Pahi Islands, just off the Purerua Peninsula. Before dinner there’s time to visit iconic Marsden Cross on the mainland, the site of the first missionary settlement in New Zealand and reverend Samuel Marsden’s first- ever Christmas service (1814). Watch the sunset while sipping a sundowner, then look forward to a night of indulgence with the Captain’s gourmet dinner.
On your final day we have breakfast on the way back to Opua and disembark at 9am.
Tour Prices 2016
|State Room NZ $3,995 (Brochure Price NZ $4,995)|
|Cabin size 16 sqm (175 sq ft) Located on the main deck with less ship movement, these five staterooms are either twin or queen in configuration. Each stateroom has two large portholes with views and natural light, generous sized en-suites and in-cabin entertainment.|
|Solo Cabin NZ $4,495 (Brochure Price NZ $5,495)|
|Cabin size 12 sqm (130 sq ft) Absolutely perfect for a passenger travelling alone. This cabin is light, roomy and has a queen size bed, two large windows, beautiful en-suite, in-cabin entertainment and as with all our cabins and suites it features original New Zealand artwork|
|Ocean Suite NZ $4,995 (Brochure Price NZ $5,995)|
|Suite size 18 sqm (195 sq ft) On the promenade deck, with the dining and saloon area on the same level, these four suites are extremely popular. They feature queen or twin beds, large viewing windows with a door directly onto the outer teak deck, large en-suites, writing desk and in-cabin entertainment.|
|Bridge Suite NZ $5,995 (Brochure Price NZ $6,995)|
|Suite size 22 sqm (235 sq ft) Located on the bridge deck these two suites feature super king size beds, large panoramic windows and a door with access direct to the outer teak deck. A large en-suite, writing desk, armchair and in-cabin entertainment make our best suites regular favourites.|
Departure Dates 2016
|9th Jan 2016 North|
|16th Jan 2016 South|
|23rd Jan 2016 North|
|30th Jan 2016 South|
|6th Feb 2016 North|