Water activity

Bay of Islands: Full-Day Tall Ship Sailing Excursion

4.9 / 5

50 reviews

Activity provider: R. Tucker Thompson
Water activity

Bay of Islands: Full-Day Tall Ship Sailing Excursion

Activity provider: R. Tucker Thompson

From US$ 98.53 per person

Sail on a tall ship in the Bay of Islands on this full-day schooner adventure. Do as much or as little as you like while on board. Help hoist the sails, climb the rigging, take the helm, go for a swim, and enjoy a morning cream tea and a tasty BBQ lunch.

About this activity

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Covid-19 precautions
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Duration 5.5 hours
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Live tour guide


  • Set sail for a day on a tall ship
  • Help hoist the sails, climb the rigging, take the helm, or relax and enjoy the day
  • Hear stories from the knowledgeable crew about the history of the ship and the Bay of Islands
  • Enjoy a morning cream tea of scones and jam and a BBQ lunch
Full description

Catch the breeze and set sail for the day on board the unique tall ship

R. Tucker Thompson

, built in the tradition of 100-year-old schooners by local Northlanders. She has sailed the world, but today explores the somewhat calmer seas of the Bay of Islands. The design of the tall ship is based on the Halibut schooners of the north-west coast of America, which were considered fast and easily manned. She has the look of a working ship of the 18th century, purposeful and square-shouldered, but with a touch of style and speed. The day out can be an interactive experience, so help set the sails, ride on the bowsprit, or climb the rigging. If you prefer, you can relax while the crew does the work. The crew will share stories about the ship, the Bay of Islands and involve you as much or as little as you want. You’ll enjoy the Devonshire cream tea freshly baked in the galley each morning. The ship is spacious and comfortable and the friendly crew makes this a personal experience, suitable for people of all ages. At lunchtime the vessel anchors in a secluded bay. Step ashore, take a swim, or try swinging from the yardarm. With all this sea air and activity you'll have a hearty appetite that will be well taken care of by a tasty BBQ lunch cooked on board. After lunch the ship will head back to the historic village of Russell. The ship is operated as a not-for-profit charitable trust with profits from day sail activities being used to support youth sail training programs over the New Zealand winter. Operating for over 25 years, the ship is Qualmark-approved with a Gold environmental rating.

  • Ferry tickets from Paihia to Russell and return
  • Full day of sailing
  • Morning cream tea
  • BBQ lunch

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    Meeting point

    The R. Tucker Thompson departs from Russell Wharf at 10:00 AM. If you are staying in Russell, please report directly to the ship at the end of Russell Wharf. If you are not staying in Russell, you will require a passenger ferry transfer from Paihia to the Russell Wharf; this is included in the cost of your trip. You can pick up your passenger ferry tickets from I Site Information Centre on the Paihia wharf, please collect these no later than 9.15 AM. The last ferry to meet the ship will depart from Paihia wharf at 9.30 AM, in time to get on board the ship in Russell for a 10:00 AM departure.

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    Important information

    What to bring

    • Sunscreen

    Know before you go

    • What to wear/bring:
    • Jacket or a warm top (sea breezes can be cool)
    •  Swimming gear and towel
    • Sunglasses and a hat
    • Sun block
    • Water bottle
    • Camera
    • Any medication you may need
    • A smile
    Customer reviews

    Overall rating

    4.9 /5

    based on 50 reviews

    Review summary

    • Guide
    • Transportation
    • Service
    • Organization

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    Star rating:

    This was a fabulous day. Good value. Well organised with a very casual yet extremely professional approach to the day. The meal was great and scones perfect! Very friendly and informative staff and on our cruise Captain Wayne entertained us with his knowledge of the history of the area.

    March 28, 2023

    We really enjoyed our day on the tall ship, relaxing or you can help pull up the sails, fantastic when the wind picked up and the sails were full, around the islands and you can go ashore on one of the island if you like, beautiful lunch tandoori chicken and salad prepared by the crew and scones for morning tea. We also went across to Russell and returned by the ferry included in the ticket.

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    March 28, 2023

    The day was truly fabulous. Crew sensational, as was our lunch. Time for a swim, the young climbed the rigging whilst the rest of us enjoyed a time to talk with interesting folk from around the globe & our four outstanding crew. We saw dolphins, penguins & a hammerhead shark. A day to remember. Thank you.

    March 28, 2023

    Product ID: 30275