Unforgettable Sailing Experience

Beautiful Bay of Islands Day Trip

Wildlife Viewing

Memorable Bay of Islands Day Cruise

Come spend a day with the Barefoot Sailing crew for a magical day cruise sailing to a beautiful wildlife sanctuary island. You can enjoy water activities such as snorkeling and paddleboarding and explore hiking trails which are perfect for bird lovers. This small-group tour is designed to suit the active adventurer but is equally relaxing if you’re looking for an easy-going day out. There’s plenty of deck space to spread out and relax while you take in the sights and sounds provided by the wonderful array of wildlife, including seabirds such as the Australasian gannet and blue penguins, and marine life beneath us like stingrays and the occasional hammerhead shark. And of course, there’s a chance that you might see some dolphins or orca whales too! If you’re looking for something a little different, you’ve found it!

Please note: this is a popular cruise so please book in advance to avoid disappointment!


Experience the wonders of sailing around the Bay of Islands

Sail the catamaran yourself - ahoy, captain!

Tuck in to our ready-made lunches as we make our two-hour island stopover

Take your pick from our fun optional activities such as unforgettable Bay of Islands snorkelling, swimming, paddleboarding & hiking

Visit a wildlife sanctuary island, where you can take a walk in the native bush and experience some of New Zealand’s rare endemic bird species in regenerating native bush

Contribute to conservation projects - a portion of your ticket price is donated to the wildlife sanctuary Project Island Song

Enjoy a day of sun-kissed skin, windswept hair, and salty smiles!

Please click the tabs below for more info...

The Details

The Details


  • $185 per adult
  • $155 per child (12 & under)

Departure time

10 am sharp! Please be ready to board the boat at Paihia beach by 9:45 am. Returns 4 pm

Meeting point

Paihia Beach, Marsden Rd Paihia


October to May


6 hours, we return at 4 pm

Group size

Max 16 people


  • Morning – coffee/tea
  • Lunch – delicious packed picnic lunch
  • Afternoon – refreshing cold drink

What to bring

  • A hat, sunblock and sunglasses
  • Swimwear and towel
  • A bottle of water to keep handy – we can refill it for you
  • Suitable shoes or sandals for the beach or walking tracks
  • Sunblock
  • Comfortable casual clothing – jeans are not recommended, wear quick dry fabric
  • Warm clothes and a jacket as it may be windy, as well as a light layer to cover up from the sun
  • Don’t forget to bring your sense of adventure – we’ll do the rest!

Optional activities

  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Paddle boarding
  • Island bush walks
  • Bird watching
  • Beachcombing

Tour staff

Skipper & crew

The Experience

Departing from Paihia beachfront, the boat pulls right up to the beach where you can step aboard from the shoreline. We set sail for our day’s adventure to a beautiful island destination of Ipipiri, the Eastern Bay of Islands.

With 144 islands, we really are spoiled for choice with spectacular destinations for our day-sailing adventures. We have many favourites to choose from such as Urupukapuka, Motuarohia, Moturua, or Waewaetorea for our island stopover.

During our morning sail, we’ll enjoy a morning tea cuppa and bikkie together and share some great conversation, giving you insights into the Bay of Islands’ geography and history. If you’re a keen sailor or keen to learn, please let us know as we’d love to make this day extra special for you and we’ll even reserve VIP seating with the captain & crew. It takes approx. 2 hours to sail to our island destination.

During our 2-hour island stopover, the boat anchors close to the beach where you can step off and enjoy some great water activities such as snorkelling and paddleboarding for the water babies. And for those who prefer dry land under their feet, there are great hiking trails where you can discover picturesque views and soak up the sounds of birdsong.

Then it will be time to enjoy a delicious packed lunch at a stunning picnic spot of your choice. You can also take a refreshing swim or simply dig your toes into the sand and relax – the choice is yours.

Once we’ve finished our island adventures we set sail again, making the most of our beautiful sea breezes on the home run. So watch the wind fill the sails, kick back, relax and enjoy the peace and tranquillity – a perfect end to our Bay of Islands adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions

If lockdown restricts travel & operation of the cruise at the time it is booked, you may reschedule your booking, hold a credit or opt for a full refund of the ticket price. See the Covid Policy page for more details.

We have a maximum of 16 passengers on our cruises.

You will find us on the beach at Paihia. We won’t be hard to find once you get there, just walk along the beach and you will see the boat anchored very close to the shoreline. If you’re not sure, search Google Maps for Barefoot Sailing Adventures and you will easily find us. The crew will be on board getting it ready for our sailing adventures so give them a wave and have a seat on a bench or a nice sandy spot on the beach, they will hop off to meet you on the beach when the boat is ready to board.

Absolutely! But not too wet – you will have to step into the water to get onto the boat. Sometimes it is ankle or calf deep, other times a wave will roll in and it may be up to your knees. So kick your shoes off and roll up your trousers before you step aboard. Sometimes we get the odd wave splash on the boat, it’s all part of the fun!

Just the usual – bottle of water, warm clothing, a jacket, footwear for island walks, swimwear, towel, hat, sunglasses and sunblock – please do not spray sunblock, it eats the paint.

Please do bring clothing that you can cover up with, the summer sun can be intense on your skin so be prepared for this as much as the possibility of cool wind.

Nope, just like the name suggests we are Barefoot Sailing Adventurers!  Kick off your shoes at the shore and experience the Kiwi barefoot culture for yourself, it’s quite liberating!

No, the boat sits flat while sailing which means it is a very comfortable experience, especially for first-time sailors or families with children. There is plenty of deck space and we have bean bags to relax on if you are sitting on the front half of the boat, the back half has seating.

Yes, our skipper loves to get people involved if they want to take the helm or help set the sails. There are some conditions or points of sail that it is not practical to have others helm the boat, but for the most part you are very welcome.

Our delicious packed picnic lunch is all made in a handy picnic bag ready for you to take with you on your island adventures. It includes a delicious freshly made deli sandwich, fruit, muffin/cake, chips and a muesli bar. It’s a nutritious lunch, with some goodies for the sweet tooth. We don’t like anyone going hungry so we’ve made sure it’s a good portion. Vegetarian options are available, please select how many vegetarian lunches you would like for your group when booking.

Please note: special dietary requirements such as allergies, gluten-free, vegan or any specifics should be self-catered for your safety and personal satisfaction.

We are limited to what we can do on the boat with lunches as we don’t have a full commercial kitchen, because of this we recommend that any special dietary requirements such as allergies, gluten-free, vegan, or any specifics should be self-catered for your personal safety and satisfaction.

Yes, we do. We use the motor to get in and out of the beach to anchor. We just love sailing! So we like to sail as much as possible, the boat performs far better under sail than under motor so sailing it is! There are times where if there is not enough wind to reach our destination we will have to use the engine or keep to our time schedule – we don’t like to make anyone late to catch their ferry/bus.

Yes, we often see dolphins, not every day but they are there and if they happen to be where we are sailing it is a lovely experience to see them play around the boat. We like to advise you that the Bay of Islands is a Marine Mammal Sanctuary. The resident dolphins are very sensitive to human and boat interaction, we do not encourage any interaction with them. For this reason, we will not follow them nor do we do any swimming with them. We prefer to leave them to do what dolphins do best – be dolphins in the wild!

We have children of all ages on our cruises, even babies on occasion. An ideal age is 4yo and upwards, however some families are used to being in the outdoors environment with younger children so if this is you then great! The trip is 2 hours sailing to the island, 2 hours at the island, and 2 hours sailing home. This is a good amount of boat time for kids, we find they are usually entertained with all the goings-on and the beach time is great. If your child is exceptionally active this might not be too well suited as we can’t allow them to run around the boat, but gentle play is ok, and we are really happy for interactive kids to join the sailing.

In our experience, if both parents are very nervous on the boat, the kids can be hard to manage. So one confident parent is the key to a good day sailing. If you are unsure, please call and we will be happy to chat with you about it as we’d love you to enjoy an amazing family day experiencing the Bay of Islands with us.

Please note: the maximum number allocation we have for the boat is 16, with young children and even babies considered a whole person and counting towards this number. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to give tickets free/discounted for infants or toddlers.

New Zealand can be tricky to plan for with the weather, particularly when choosing outdoor activities. So to be realistic you just have to be prepared for anything as we can’t promise that every day will be a perfect summer’s day.

We do try our best and are very vigilant when it comes to weather, the skipper is well informed with different weather forecasting models.

Safety is always our foremost concern, then comfort. We are generally not too bothered by a rain shower here or there. The seating of the boat is on deck in the open air, so we have rain ponchos to cover up and stay warm/dry, or you can pop down into the cabins if you want. If the forecast looks like a serious day of rain, which will make the trip a misery then we will cancel/postpone, as we would like our guests to have a good experience.

The skipper is experienced to make decisions based on the weather, and the final decision will be theirs (keeping in mind that we are reliant on the information that is given to us, we can’t promise the forecast will be 100% correct).

We have a strict operational policy to follow when it comes to weather cancellations. Cancellation of the cruise by the Barefoot Sailing Adventures staff will happen on the morning of the scheduled cruise when we get the latest weather update possible, please check your emails at 8:30 am for any updates. We will try to make contact by phone the day before if we have early warning, but phone communication can be difficult with people travelling and the possibility of bad reception or overseas calling numbers not working, so always check your emails at 8:30 am. If we decide to cancel, a full refund will be given if we can’t make alternative arrangements for another day that suits your travel plans.

We understand that everyone has a different level of comfort when it comes to the weather, and we do our best to make everyone as comfortable as we possibly can. Sometimes people are not used to the wind, the sea state, salty splashes, a bit of rain, or even the sunshine. But as Kiwis, this is all part of our lifestyle, and it is how New Zealand has become so well known for its adventure tourism because we are so good at it!

Cancellations – If you wish to cancel your cruise for any reason, there is a 10% non-refundable fee. This fee covers booking fees and credit card charges and administration which we can’t recoup. 90% of the total price will be refunded to the credit card which was used to make the purchase. Normal transaction times apply.

Cancellations within 48 hours of cruise departure are non refundable. If you do not show for your booking the full charge will apply, this includes if you are late for your scheduled Cruise. Tickets are not transferable for another day in the case of cancellation within 48 hours, or a no show.

We recommend our guests hold a comprehensive travel insurance policy in case of any unexpected changes in their travel plans that may incur a cancellation fee.

If we make a cancellation due to weather, mechanical issues, or any circumstance out of our control we will give you the option to re-schedule, hold a credit for your booking or give you a full refund.

The Island Hopper Cruise is our regular scheduled day cruise that may be suitable for cruise ship passengers depending on the ship schedule. Our departure and return times are set, and it is a public cruise (not dedicated solely to cruise ship passengers).

We advise allowing 1.5 – 2 hours either side of cruise ship anchor/departure is recommended to allow reasonable time to get to and from our departure point at Paihia Beach, which involves getting a shuttle bus from the tender terminal to downtown Paihia, and is a 5 minute walk from there.

We can not make allowances for a change in ship schedule or late arrivals. Please arrive 15 min prior to departure time, we leave on time without exception. Normal terms and conditions and cancellation policy apply.

Risk Disclosure Statement – Barefoot Sailing Adventures

We are committed to delivering a safe and enjoyable experience. We take all care to ensure your safety, however there are inherent risks in the nature of our activity. To ensure your safety, you must follow the
instructions of our time, act in a safe manner, be physically capable of undertaking any activity you partake in, and not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The following risks may result in serious injury or death:
Boarding and disembarking – slips, trips, falls, crushing.
Sailing equipment – impact injury from moving parts, entanglement.
Changing weather conditions – sea state, moving vessel, exposure to the elements wind cold rain sun heat, unforeseen events. Natural hazards.
Water activities – swimming snorkeling paddle boarding, encounters with marine creatures, cuts & grazes, missing person, person adrift, drowning.
Island walks – uneven terrain, slips & trips, cliffs & steep drop offs, getting lost.
Chemicals – poisoning, burns.
Remote location – medical facilities and immediate access to medical care are limited and may be significantly distant.
Vessel Emergencies – Person overboard, vessel grounding, steering, loss
of engine power, fire, abandon ship, encounters with marine mammals.
Natural Hazards – Tsunami, waterspout, wildfire.
Personal Property – risk to personal property being damaged.

By participating, you signify your acknowledgment and acceptance of these inherent risks, and agree to conduct yourself in a safe manner.
Your safety and enjoyment are our priority, and we appreciate your cooperation ensuring a safe experience. You agree to inform all others in your party of the above risks.

Have more questions? Check out our FAQ page!

Good to Know

Book in advance to avoid disappointment - This is a popular cruise! It may be possible to book on the day of the cruise if there are seats available, however online bookings close 2 hours before departure time. Please call if you wish to book after this time.

The trip is scheduled to depart most days by demand. A minimum number of bookings is required for the trip to go ahead, because of this please ensure your booking is made in advance as the boat can’t be prepared at short notice.

The boat departs right on time at 10 am, please be ready to board the boat at 9:45 am.We will help you onboard, get you settled in, and start the day with an introduction and safety briefing before we depart at 10 am. Please don’t be late for boarding!

This cruise is designed with the active traveler in mind, a good level of physical ability is required to board the boat safely and to be able to move around the boat while it is underway. This is not difficult on a calm day, but if there is a bit of wind and waves this can be challenging for some people, particularly if you have mobility problems in the knees or legs. If you are unsure whether it will suit you, please don’t hesitate to give us a call, we are happy to chat with you.

The island we visit is a pest-free wildlife sanctuary. Please check your gear BEFORE you board the boat, check your shoes are clean of mud and weed seeds, and ensure there are no ants or other pests in your bags. Biosecurity at the islands is very important to keep our endangered wildlife safe, and it is everyone’s responsibility.

From the deck of Kopiko you may get the chance to see a range of seabirds including the magnificent Australasian gannet. Also, shearwaters, petrels, terns, gulls and the blue penguin are often popping up too. We occasionally come across a juvenile hammerhead shark while sailing, which is simply beautiful and exciting to see! And of course there’s a chance you might see dolphins or orca whales too.

The bays we anchor in are home to stingrays and eagle rays, and a great array of fish species which you may encounter during a snorkel at the island.

The Bay of Islands is a fully protected marine mammal sanctuary, this means all seals, dolphins and whale species are protected and no boating or human interaction is allowed. We have a set of rules which we must follow when in the presence of marine mammals, and adhere to them strictly as it is in everyone’s best interest to protect these precious and vulnerable mammals. At times this may disrupt the cruise, we do our best to minimise the impact, and we do ask for your understanding if this occurs.

The water temperature ranges from 18 degrees in October, warming up to around 20 degrees in December and makes its way up to a peak in February of around 23 degrees, before slowly cooling off to around 20 degrees again in May. People swim or snorkel all season long on this cruise, depending on their version of “warm enough!” Please note: we do not provide wetsuits.

Paddle boarding and snorkeling experiences are exclusive to the Island Hopper Cruise, so if you are keen on some underwater adventures or surface exploring then this is the cruise for you!

The seating is arranged on deck. There is a range of seating from bean bag seating to comfortable bench seating in the cockpits with the crew. There is no specific shade cover on the boat, however you do get shade from the sails on different parts of the boat while we are sailing.

Private Charters are available for your group exclusively, check out the Private Charters page or call to enquire.

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