Accommodation & Other Activities
- Bay of Islands Travel Guide
- Visit the Official Site of Destination New Zealand
What dates/times do you depart?We operate between 1st November and 1st May, departing Tuesday and Friday from the wharf at Paihia on the following days and times:
Depart Tues 10:00am, return Thursday 4:00pm
Depart Fri 10:00am, return Sunday 4:00pm
2018/19 Christmas period.
We depart on Tuesdays and Fridays as usual over the festive period.
Depart Friday, December 21, return Sunday, December 23
Depart Tuesday, December 25, return Thursday, December 27
Depart, Friday, December 28, return Sunday, December 30
The prices for these special dates are:
Dorm bed: NZ$ 725 per person, per trip
Double/twin cabin: NZ$ 1700, per trip
The first trip of the new year departs on Tuesday, January 1, 2019 and every Friday and Tuesday after that as usual.
We run occasional trips off season. We need a minimum of 6 people (or the $ equivalent). The more flexible you can be with the dates the higher the chances of finding enough people. Let us know what you have in mind and we will try to work something out for you.
What do I need to bring?- Island walks will be more enjoyable if you wear suitable footwear
- You will not see a shop for three days, bring a good supply of personal items
- We do not supply alcohol, but you are welcome to bring your own
- Prepare for lots of sun, wind, rain, heat and cold
- Bring at least one change of clothing and a towel
- Insect repellent
What is the weather going to be like?Good question! Our weather has a tendency to be somewhat unpredictable. Weather, of any kind, does not tend to last long and you are quite likely to experience a range in the same day. Generally it is more settled from Christmas until the end of March with light winds and less rain than throughout the rest of the year. Day temperatures average around 23 degrees in summer and 15 degrees in winter. If you prepare for our four seasons in one day you should be fine.
Am I going to get sea sick?Most of the Bay of Islands is very sheltered with calm waters. We always pick our route according to the weather conditions and avoid rough seas whenever we can. It can get a little bit rough between destinations on occasion. If you are worried about sea sickness do bring medication as we can't supply any.
Am I too young/old for this cruise?We get passengers of all ages. Our oldest passenger was 82! A basic level of fitness is required for boarding ladders, saloon steps and getting in and out of the inflatable. Unfortunately, our boat does not have adequate wheel chair access.
What about children?The trip is great for youngsters. We have lots of interesting and fun stuff to keep them entertained. We do offer discounts but it depends on numbers, age and when you would like to go. Just ask us.
Will I see whales, dolphins or seals?Ecocruz is not a whale or dolphin watching tour. We are happy to adhere to the Marine Mammal Protection Regulations which place a number of restrictions on our interactions with marine mammals. As such we do not go out of our way to encounter whales or dolphins but enjoy stopping for a look should they cross our path or join us whilst at anchor.
The bottlenose dolphin is the most commonly encountered marine mammal in the Bay of Islands. Unfortunately, there has been a significant decline in numbers in recent years which may be due to excessive boat interactions. Consequently, the Department of Conservation is asking boats to avoid encounters with them to take the pressure of these much-watched dolphins. Ecocruz supports this measure and we are happy to do our bit to give these dolphins a chance to use the waters of the Bay of Islands without disturbance. We are not permitted to let you swim with whales, dolphins or seals. Please keep in mind that any wildlife we encounter should be considered as a special bonus rather than something to be expected.
What other wildlife am I likely to see?You are likely to see Australasian gannets, black winged gulls, red and black beaked gulls, Caspian and white fronted terns, Buller’s, sooty, flesh footed and fluttering shearwaters, prions, storm petrels, little blue penguins and pied shags. Various albatross and mollymawk species can be spotted occasionally but mainly in the cooler months or on windy days. On the islands you are likely to see variable oyster catchers, dotterels, fantails, pukekos and tuis.
We frequently encounter large schools of fish such as blue mao mao, kahawai, parore, trevally, tuna and kingfish and occasionally see sun fish, marlin, mako and hammerhead sharks in deeper waters.
Underwater you are likely to see a multitude of fish as well as anemones, sea urchins sponges and moluscs. Stingrays, eagle rays, octopus and squid are also quite common. Phosphorescence (bioluminous plankton) can be seen on most nights.
What makes you an 'eco' cruise?The 'eco' tag is sometimes misused to describe just about any outdoor activity from bird watching to jet boating. We aim to live up to the definition of eco-tourism as laid out by the Nature Conservancy:
Ecotourism can be distinguished from nature tourism by its emphasis on conservation, education, traveler responsibility and active community participation. Specifically, ecotourism possesses the following characteristics:
- Conscientious, low-impact visitor behavior
- Sensitivity towards, and appreciation of, local cultures and biodiversity
- Support for local conservation efforts
- Sustainable benefits to local communities
- Local participation in decision-making
- Educational components for both the traveler and local communities
Click here for more details on how Ecocruz lives up to these criteria including our Environmental Plan.
Why do you offer fishing on an eco-cruise?We believe in sustainable fishing. Gathering your own seafood is ecologically sound provided you are responsible. Knowing how to feed yourself off the land and the sea (and how to ensure its sustainability) is a vital part of living with nature rather than in it. It is also something we like to share with our passengers. We practice low key fishing and only take enough to supplement our meals. We don't target vulnerable species such as Paua (abalone), Snapper or Kingfish and keep fishing during the spawning season to a minimum.
Do I need to know how to sail?No. Most of our passengers have never sailed before. However, you are more than welcome to lend a hand and learn a thing or two.
How much sailing will we do?We usually travel between 3-5 hours per day and sail whenever we can. Generally, there is less wind in the warmer months (December to February) which means that we have to use the motor more often than we would like during this period.
Where should we stay the night before/after the cruise?Check out our cruise and motel combo in conjunction with the Averill Court Motel. Paihia boasts plenty of accommodation of all types and budgets. We always get asked for nice places to stay and, given the wide range in people’s tastes, tend to be a little hesitant to recommend one place over another. If Paihia is busy, try Keri Keri (25 min) or Whangarei (50 min.) For a comprehensive list of all your options you should have a look at the official New Zealand Tourism website.
How do I get from Auckland to Paihia?If you are driving just follow State Highway 1 (North). Allow at least 3 1/2 hours from Auckland. There are a number of bus companies that service Paihia including Intercity which offers daily departures. Expect to pay around NZ$ 50-100. Travel time is about 4 hours and you will have to travel up the day before but you can return on the day we get back.
You can also fly Air New Zealand to Kerikeri which is 25km from Paihia. They usually have a morning flight that gets into Kerikeri at 9.20 which will get you to Paihia by 10am if you are on a tight schedule. Don't worry, we can wait for you if you're a little late. Flights can be surprisingly affordable if you book early.
Where can I leave my car?Check out our cruise and motel combo deal for free and safe parking. Other accommodation might let you leave your car at their place. Otherwise Kings Rd has toll free parking and is fairly safe. Don't park anywhere else or you will get a ticket.
How much luggage can I bring?If you can, we suggest you bring as little as possible. However if you have problems storing luggage in Paihia we will find room for it aboard.
Am I expected to help out with anything?Any help on deck and in the galley (especially dishes!) is greatly appreciated but not expected.
Do you cater for vegetarians or people with special dietary needs?Yes. Please let us know when you book.
Do I need to bring any food?All main meals as well as light snacks are provided. If you think that you will get hungry between meals you might want to bring some nibbles.
What are the sleeping arrangements?There are 3 private double cabins (NZ$ 850 pp) and 2 multi-share bunk cabins (NZ$ 725 pp) which sleep 4 each. There are two toilets and one shower on board.