the bay of islands is perhaps the most well known cruising area in nz however the hauraki gulf on aucklands doorstep is a much larger area with plenty of great anchorages and places to visit. don,t miss great barrier island particularly the east coast with white sand surf beachs , its hard to believe you are so close to a large city out there.Summer is the best time to visit tho even then you need to be prepared for occasionally strong winds , we have at times had to shelter on days when the highest gusts have topped 70 kts! No worries in the right bay with a good anchor, or two. Dave