On New Zealand’s North Island, you’ll find two special destinations, the Bay of Islands and Coromandel Peninsula. The Bay of Islands is located just off the nation's eastern coast and encompasses 150 subtropical, unspoilt islands. Here, you can laze on white-sand beaches lapped by turquoise waters or get physical with the island’s water-based activities like big game fishing, kayaking, diving nearby coral reefs, or spotting dolphins and whales. The Bay of Islands has played an important role in New Zealand’s history. It was one of the earliest Maori settlements and later, home to the first European colony, established at Russell. The Waitangi Treaty, a crucial document governing the relations between the indigenous people and the colonists was signed here. Today, you can visit historical sites like the 19th-century Pompallier Mission, the historic town of Russell, or the Waitangi Treaty grounds. Travel south to Coromandel Peninsula, a thin strip of land that juts out into the Pacific. Its widest point is only 40 km, meaning that you can easily access everything the area has to offer. Sunbathe on the stunning beaches at Mercury Bay, explore the picturesque Cathedral Cove, climb volcanic peaks at Tairua, or dig your own hot pool at Hot Water Beach. Afterwards, relax in charming villages as you watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.