By car: 3 ½ hrs north of Auckland via SH1 to Whangarei and Kawakawa then SH11 to Opua. Take the vehicle ferry to Okiato and then follow the road for another 8kms. Vehicle ferry runs continuously from 6.40am to 10pm.

By bus: Regular bus services run from Auckland to Paihia. From Paihia, catch a passenger ferry to Russell - www.russellnz.co.nz/getting-here/

By air: Kerikeri airport is less than an hour’s drive from Russell. Rental cars and transfer services to Paihia are available.

By sea: Frequent passenger ferries cross from Paihia to Russell. There are excellent facilities for visiting boats.


Complimentary return ferry tickets from Paihia or Russell on the Bay Belle ferry service.

Operated by Great Sights Bay of Islands.

*For selected cruises and expeditions

Timetable Information

07:20am 07:00am
08:30am 07:45am
09:30am - 09:30pmDEPARTURES ON THE HALF HOUR 09:00am - 09:00pmDEPARTURES ON THE HOUR
10:30pm* 10:00pm*

Drop-off at Waitangi available on request (10am & 3pm sailings from Russell only)

*Summer only (1 October - 15 May)


Other Passenger Ferry Services: Three scheduled services every 20 minutes and one unscheduled service during the day. Hourly in the evening.

  • First ferry - Russell 7am Paihia 7.20am
  • Last ferry Oct -May- Russell 10pm Paihia 10.30pm
  • Last ferry June-Sept – Russell 7pm Paihia 7.30pm

Tickets are purchased on board; cash only, no EFTPOS or credit card facilities.


Your fare includes:

  • 2 ½ hr Explore the Bay Expedition
    • Freshly brewed coffee, tea or hot chocolate served throughout the expedition
    • Light refreshments and snacks for morning/ afternoon tea
    • Informative talk from our knowledgeable crew
    • Complimentary return ferry transfer between Paihia and Russell for the day of travel
  • 4 hr Island Activity Expedition
    • Freshly brewed coffee, tea or hot chocolate served throughout the expedition
    • Light refreshments and snacks for morning/ afternoon tea
    • Full length wetsuits, floatation devices and swimming aids
    • All snorkelling gear and tuition
    • Use of paddle boards
    • Informative walk on island destination.
    • Complimentary return ferry transfer between Paihia and Russell for the day of travel

Albatross V can carry up to 26 passengers.

Additional beverages are available for purchase on board such as soft drinks and bottled water.

Albatross V Expeditions operates with a minimum booking of ten passengers.

Albatross V is often booked out up to a week in advance during the busy season. As with most small expeditions it pays to book well in advance. A change of booking date or full refund is available up to 24 hours prior departure.

Thanks to tropical currents travelling down from the equator, typical water temperatures are 20–22°C in summer and 15–16 ° C in winter. Full wetsuits are provided and will keep you snug! The current water temperature can be viewed at http://www.seatemperature.org/australia-pacific/new-zealand/whangarei.htm.

We have gift vouchers, which make a lovely present, available online at www.albatrossv.co.nz or by phone 0274591796

Our child rate applies to children aged 4 to 12. Under 4’s are infants. It is parents responsibility to supervise their children if they decide to swim. Our crew reserves the right to ask for proof of age on board the vessel.

The peak season for The Bay of Islands is December to late-February as well as most warm weekends and public holidays.

We have noodles and life vests on board to assist with floatation as well as helpful, experienced crew in the water offering tuition/help for unsure swimmers and snorkelers. Wetsuits are great for floatation also and are provided to each guest.

Our 4 hr Island Activity Expedition is focused around the natural environment which offers swimming, snorkelling, paddle boarding and sightseeing activities. There are land based activities for those not going in the water such as walks on the island, paddle boarding, relaxing on the beach or simply watching the activities from the boat with a hot drink.

Yes, our expeditions cater for everyone and our crew are always near to ensure you will have a safe, fun and relaxing experience.

Once you have boarded the vessel you will be introduced to the vessels facilities and explained the safety information, we will cruise out around the bay where you will experience the breathtaking beauty. Once underway the crew will provide informative information of the local area. A morning or afternoon tea will be served during the expedition consisting of light refreshments including hot drinks and a snack selection.

Once you have boarded the vessel, you will be introduced to the vessels facilities and explained the safety information; we will then head out to an island where you can partake in any of the activities on offer. Once underway the crew will present an informative demonstration on how to use the equipment available. After arriving at our destination a snorkelling orientation briefing will be conducted including information about the marine life you may encounter. You may choose to paddleboard, go ashore and explore or have a guided snorkelling tour which are offered in small groups and each activity is conducted in a relaxed and safe environment, allowing you enough time to familiarise yourself with the environment. After a refreshing snack or hot beverage you will be invited to explore the environment at your own pace. A morning or afternoon tea will be served during the expedition consisting of light refreshments including hot drinks and a snack selection. Prior to disembarking, guests are given time to change out of wetsuits and enjoy a hot drink.

AlbatrossV loves to be able to offer everyone the chance to experience this amazing experience. All our activities are supervised by qualified and experienced guides. Inexperienced snorkelers and swimmers will be offered swimming assistance devices such as, pool noodles, life vests and the wetsuits provide floatation also. Parents with infants who wish to swim may do so in the shallows under their supervision and responsibility.

AlbatrossV operates from one of NZs most beautiful destinations, the picturesque Bay Of Islands. We cruise around the Bay where you will see the stunning beaches and coastline of the Bay, diving gannets, penguins, bird life, whales and if you’re lucky maybe a dolphin pod will come ride the AlbatrossV’s bow and you can experience the wonder of these mammals up close and personal!

We operate 2 tours per day from Russell Wharf.

  • AlbatrossV 8.30am Offering a 2 ½ hour Explore the Bay Expedition
  • AlbatrossV 11.30am. Offering a 4 hr activity based island exploration expedition focusing on low impact, relaxed and informative activities such as snorkelling, paddle boarding, swimming, walking ashore, relaxing on the beach.

We recommend calling to let us know if you think you might be late. If you are later than your check in time (20 minutes prior to departure) and we have not heard from you, we will assume you are a ‘no show’ and may depart without you; this will incur a 100% penalty fee. We strongly advise if you are travelling during peak holiday season (Dec – Feb) that you leave an additional 20 – 30 minutes, to allow for parking and extra summer traffic and if you are catching the ferry from Paihia to allow extra time. There are several Passenger Ferries operating from Paihia to Russell. You can jump on any of the ferries and they take the same route between Paihia and Russell. Ferries leave both Paihia and Russell every 30 minutes or so, from 7am - 8pm, 7 days. In summer from October to May ferries run until 10pm.

2 ½ hour Explore the Bay Expedition:

  • Hat
  • sunscreen
  • camera
  • cash for payment of fare or snacks and beverages

4 hour Island Activity Expedition: 

  • Swimsuit
  • towel
  • hat
  • sunscreen
  • cash for payment of fare or snacks or additional beverages

(If you forget your towel you can hire one from the check in for $5.00)

AlbatrossV is 20 metres long and 6.5 metres wide providing a comfortable, stable platform to enjoy the view from, with upper fly bridge and plenty of deck room. Guard rails are located all-round the vessel for safety and access is made easy through gates in aft deck rail.

Yes, AlbatrossV has a marine pump toilet.

AlbatrossV has a large, roomy, stable deck plus plenty of seating including an upper deck with seating to enjoy a bird’s eye view during our expeditions.

There are no penalties for cancelling your trip as long as you notify us at least 24 hours prior, during office hours. (i.e, 9:00am the day before you are scheduled to go). Should you cancel within the 24 hour period, a 100% cancellation fee applies.

AlbatrossV Expeditions operates only if it is safe to do so ensuring you have the best possible experience. You are welcome to change your departure day; however you must give us at least 24 hours notification.

There are rare occasions where normal operations must be suspended for the safety of our guests. AlbatrossV will endeavour to give you as much notice as possible should the event arise that we need to cancel our scheduled expedition. You will not be charged for the expedition should we cancel the trip.

On occasion when strong tides or winds are prevalent AlbatrossV will change our normal destination to another more suitable. We do not operate expeditions if the weather is expected to affect your experience.

AlbatrossV is one of the larger, more stable vessels operating in The Bay, it has a very wide beam (width) making the journey comfortable and stable. For those unsure if they suffer from sea sickness, AlbatrossV has travel-calm tablets on board, however it is a good idea to take some the night before your departure. Our crew are there to assist you and make you as comfortable as possible. We can ensure your expedition will not operate if the weather is predicted to exceed safe and comfortable conditions.

If only we had a crystal ball!!! 7 day forecasts are issued through Metservice and can be viewed by http://www.metservice.com/rural/northland#!/kerikeri
If rain is predicted the expedition will still operate. Our vessel has undercover areas to keep you dry and hot drinks will keep the chill away.

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