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The Rock Overnight Adventure Cruise Paihia New Zealand

The Rock Overnight Adventure Cruise Paihia New Zealand


When you visit New Zealand’s North Island, the Bay of Islands will likely be on your itinerary. But do not just visit the beach. If you book an overnight cruise from Paihia, you have the opportunity to spend the night anchored off shore and experience the natural wonders around you.

Paihia Overnigth Cruises | Rock Adventure Cruise New Zealand Bay of Islands

Imagine kayaking in the pitch black, only to look up and see the milky way above you, thousands and thousands of stars, scattered across the sky, and nothing but the sound of your paddle stroking the water. As you paddle, the milky way suddenly starts to sparkle under your paddle, but it is not the reflection of the stars, it is the phosphoresce algae, releasing their stored light right under your boat, making you feel as if you are paddling in fairy dust.

Experiences like these are just one of the many special features of taking a Rock the Boat Adventure cruise.

Kayaking in the bay of Islands

Kayaking in the bay of Islands

Check out this post for Beach Packing Lists 

Rock the Boat Adventure Cruise Details

You will be picked up at the Paihia dock mid-afternoon, and cruise until dinnertime. With a bar on board, a pool table, chess, plenty of room to lounge around and relax, you will never feel as if you are trapped aboard a ferry, waiting to reach a destination, the Rock the Boat cruise is so much a part of your destination and your Bay of Island’s experience.

Bay of Islands Hiking

Day 2 involves some hiking or hanging out on the beach. What a view!

Playing Chess while we cruise

Playing Chess while we cruise from Paihia

Along the way, expect a game of paintball target shooting to start off your trip, and a few minutes to get to know each other. Yes, I hate the idea of ice-breaker activities, but you will be with these people for 24 hours and it was nice to hear where everyone was from before they had their three shots at a target off the back of the boat!

Paintball Target shooting on the Rock Adventure Cruise

After dinner, you can go on a guided kayaking trip to experience the phosphorescence in the pitch black dark. The staff will man the bar as long as guests desire it, and you will find other guests playing cards at the tables, enjoying a game of pool, or enjoying the company of the other guests, visitors from all around the world.

Snorkelling and tasting sea urchins is another part of the trip! Check out the best snorkel gear, or borrow theirs.

The staff on the Rock work so hard, 24 hours they are constantly there for anything you might need

The sleeping area is upstairs, and pretty awesome!

The Rock the Boat staff are what make this an exceptional experience. Anyone can put a boat on the water and offer these experiences. But it is the genuine personalities of the captain and the crew, their attention to even the youngest guests and their desire to ensure your experience is memorable.

Sea Urchins caught while moored. Do you know how much this delicacy sells for in Japan …. A LOT!!! and the seabed is full of them!

Features of the Bay of Islands Cruise

  • paintball off the back deck
  • pool table and chess as well as board games and cards
  • dinner, breakfast and lunch aboard the boat
  • hiking on one of the islands
  • beach time, beach games and time to swim
  • kayaking
  • snorkelling

Your bunks for the night on the Rock Adventure Cruise

Things to Bring

  • sunscreen
  • hat
  • bathing suit
  • camera
  • towel

Things to note

  • those with mobility issues may have difficulty getting to the top desk where the bedrooms are. We had an older woman on our cruise who spent a lot of time in a wheelchair, but was able to walk enough to get upstairs, as well as navigate getting onto the boat.
  • hostel style accommodation with private rooms and family rooms and shared bathrooms. All rooms have bunk beds, but some have a double on the bottom and single on the top which is more comfortable for couples or families with young children (We had a room with three sets of single bunks. I pulled the top bunk mattress on the floor for my youngest (he is 4) rather than worry about him on the top bunk at night.
  • the bar works on a tab system. You can charge your drinks, extra snacks, wet suit rental to your tab and then pay by cash or credit card at the end of your trip.
  • expect to be barefoot on board, you do not need to bring shoes, just sandals will do. Our hike was done barefoot, but was a bit rough for some people, so I would recommend sandals next time. Check out the best walking sandals to get a pair before your trip.
Fishing for dinner in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Fishing for dinner in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand

You can book this overnight Paihia Cruise here

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If you are looking for more information on some of the things we did in New Zealand:

Best Things to do in Rotorua, New Zealand North Island

What to know before Road tripping New Zealand


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  1. Hugh Dougal says:

    Still the best experience I had in New Zealand and there were many to be had. The crew were exceptionally helpfull. Don’t be afraid if you don’t have your sea legs, you will be looked after with great care and attention. Try everything, you will never be made to feel foolish and the crew will assure your safety and comfort no matter how trying you feel it is. I kayaked into the pitch black of the bay. I snorkeled way beyond anything I’d done before. The Rock crew were there to instruct, inform and protect. Life on board is brilliant. Great selection of food, BBQ and freshly caught whatever. My Compadres were a huge diversity of folk, age, race, background. We all had a ball. The scenery is amazing. If anything 24 hours is to short. To wake up to sunrise over the bay is spectacular. I will be back.

  2. The pictures look so good and looks like you had a lot of fun. 🙂 The bunk beds look super comfy! I’d love to do this too.

  3. Dave Briggs says:

    It looks like a great cruise for families, and the kayaking looks fantastic! Snorkelling though? Maybe a little cold for that?

  4. Ami Bhat says:

    Love the sound of this adventure. The kayaking overnight with those glowing lights must be one hell of an experience. I definitely want to do it. And the boat activities like the Paint ball add to the fun. I know that one day with all this will feel so short. Cheers

  5. Claire says:

    This sounds fabulous, and you’re right the staff and team on the boat would really make the difference on a trip like this! My only concern is that I get sea-sick so I’m not sure I could handle sleeping on the boat, but the whole trip sounds fab so I might brave it with lots of dramamine!!

  6. Cruising! I’ve only done cruising in Halong Bay, your post makes me miss that even tho it’s also one night just like yours! The boy is super cute and he looks very happy with the activities! So you had your own private room but with shared bathroom? Did I understand that right? Anyway, it doesn’t really matter if that was it because I like shared / bunk beds! The crew/ staff kindness and politeness are plus!

  7. Holly says:

    First of all the photos are gorgeous. I don’t like icebreakers either, but I understand if you are going to be with people for that amount of time. This sounds like a really fun time with some attentive staff. It is nice they man the bar and stuff until everyone is done.

  8. An overnight cruise from Paihia sounds like a great fun experience. It is ideal for a lovely family getaway. I was fascinated to read about the kayaking in the night. The amazing phenomenon of phosphoresecence must have been a wonderful experience. All in all the promise of some great times on the trip.

  9. That small boat is really cute. The sleeping area reminds me of train berths from school days. Your little boy must have had a mini adventure on board too.

  10. Leah says:

    Sadly, when I visited the North Island, I didn’t have time for the Bay of Islands. Certainly, I didn’t do the cruise from Paihia. There is so much to do in New Zealand, but I only had three weeks. That still wasn’t enough! I want to see the phosphorescence (among a million other things) when I return.

  11. John says:

    This sounds wonderful! I hadn’t really though of doing something like this before, but they way you wrote it makes me want to haha. Loved the description of kayaking at night with the milkyway and bioluminescent algae. Reminded me of the time I did stand up paddle boarding at night to some glowworm caves. Great post! 🙂

  12. Jennifer says:

    I was sold with kayaking, Milky Way and bioluminescence! This cruise sounds like it would be right up my alley and I haven’t been to New Zealand yet. Totally marking this for when we start planning a trip to New Zealand.

  13. Danijela says:

    What a good idea! You had me with “don’t just go for the beach” when visiting the Bay of Islands, when one can take a cruise instead. But then you mention that kayaking with such a lovely description of the starry night. And the algae that were glittering from below! Oh my, that must be quite a site to experience!
    Love the cruise idea, thanks! 🙂

  14. Danijela says:

    This is such a good idea! You had me with “don’t just go for the beach” when visiting the Bay of Islands when one can take a cruise instead. But then you mention that kayaking with lovely description of the starry night. And the algae glittering from below! Oh my, that must be one great site to experience.
    Love the suggestion for taking a cruise, thanks!