Fullers GreatSights History
When Albert Ernest Fuller launched his sailing ship Undine in 1887 to deliver coal supplies to the islands, he had no idea he was planting the seeds of a flourishing tourism industry in the Bay of Islands. After fitting a motor to the Undine in the early 1900s, he was able to deliver coal and essential supplies as far as Cape Brett.
In 1927 Fuller acquired the Cream Trip from Edmund Lane with facilities to transport cream from the islands, and in 1928 won the Royal Mail contract allowing him to deliver post.
When the road opened from Whangarei to Russell in the 1930s, a car ferry service began between Paihia and Russell. During World War II, the military established a barge crossing between Opua and Okiato. This was continued during peacetime by the Deeming family and eventually obtained by Fuller, making Fullers an integral part of the community through the provision of services to both tourists and locals.
By the 1960s the Cream Trip had become a popular attraction, and the well known Bay Belle started its run. For five shillings a tourist could spend all day on the launch, picking up cream cans from the isolated farms and having a great outing in the Bay.
Over the years we've added Hole in the Rock & Dolphin watching cruises, as well as coach tours to Cape Reinga and around Northland. We are proud to carry on A.E Fuller's tradition and be part of the history of the Bay of Islands.
Find out about our fleet.
Bay of Islands Community Involvement
We live, work and play in the Bay of Islands and our company has grown with the community. As a successful tourism operator we employ up to 100 staff in the summer, making us one of the largest employers in the region. We keep the community connected by holding the Royal Mail contract for the islands, delivering mail and vital supplies.
We’re committed to being an active part in the community through our sponsorship and support of local events, charities, community services and environmental efforts.
Don't just take our word for it - you can read what our partners have said about working with Fullers GreatSights and our involvement in the community here.
As one of Northland's largest tourism operators, we understand that what we do has an impact on the environment. Fullers GreatSights is proud to be a founding signatory to the Northland Sustainable Tourism charter. We have a Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Award from Qualmark, New Zealand Tourism's official quality assurance organisation. This award recognises our environmentally responsible practices.
We are also proud to be one of only operators in the Bay of Islands licensed by the Department of Conservation to interact with marine mammals in accordance with the marine Mammals Protection Act (1990).
Initiatives we have taken to minimise environmental impact include:
- Supporting local biodiversity protection initiatives like Project Island Song
- Waste recycling on all vessels and at the Fullers GreatSights office
- Where possible, pumping effluent from our boats at land-based facilities instead of at sea in legal discharge areas
- Water conservation initiatives, including using water catchment from the workshop roof to clean coaches, and fitting hand pieces to all hoses
- Installing spinners on vessel engines to reduce oil consumption
- Coach Driver Fuel Incentive, encouraging drivers to improve their efficiency
- Using the E-Road Fleet System, a GPS system allowing us to better monitor speed and reduce fuel usage
- Installing speed restrictors on all coaches to cut fuel consumption
- Commitment to replace all coaches with the latest exhaust emission reduction technology. We currently have a modern fleet of coaches complying with the Euro 5 emissions standards.
- Continuing education for guides about the region’s cultural and natural history, and the inclusion of that education as part of our tours
- Commitment to working with like-minded sustainable businesses in Northland