Bay of Islands Wildlife Guide

From marine mammals to native birds, the Bay of Islands is teeming with animal life.

 Bay of Islands Wildlife

What wildlife can I see in the Bay of Islands?

Thanks to its subtropical climate and pristine, sheltered waters, the Bay of Islands is a haven for New Zealand wildlife. The Bay of Islands is one of the best places in New Zealand to view wild dolphins and migratory whales year-round.

Native New Zealand fur seals and penguins can often be spotted bobbing about in the water or basking on some rocks. Wheeling overhead or diving into the depths you'll see a range of seabirds, from gannets and gulls to petrels and muttonbirds. On the seashore, dotterels and oystercatchers dabble in the sand, and in our beautiful native rainforest, songbirds flutter in the treetops.

Our crew are experts and will help you spot native wildlife during your cruise or tour. Keep your camera handy so you can photograph our beautiful New Zealand wildlife in its natural habitat.

Click to see more information about the most commonly-seen Bay of Islands wildlife:


Bay of Islands Dolphins


Bay of Islands Orca


Bay of Islands Fur Seal on Rocks


Bay of Islands Birds



When can I see dolphins and whales in the Bay of Islands?

Dolphins and migratory whales visit the Bay of Islands year-round. Our Bay of Islands marine mammal guide shows when you're most likely to see different species during our cruises. This chart is based on data collected by our crews over the past decade.

Bay of Islands Wildlife Guide



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Visiting the Pest Free Islands of Ipipiri

Project Island Song is a pest free wildlife sanctuary. The seven main islands in the eastern Bay of Islands have enjoyed pest-free status since 2009 making them a haven for some of our most endangered animals and plants.

It is important to keep these ecologically significant Islands pest free.

Read more about visiting the Pest Free Islands of Ipipiri and Project Island Song