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Bay of Islands Tall Ship Sailing on 'R. Tucker Thompson' Including BBQ Lunch

Badge of Excellence
Russell, New Zealand

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Number of travelers
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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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icon5 hours 30 minutes  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds


Sail the Bay of Islands on a working tall ship aboard the famed ‘R. Tucker Thompson,’ built in the tradition of a 100-year-old Northland schooner. Ply the waters of the pristine bay, where you can help hoist the sails, climb the rigging or simply relax on board, then swim while anchored in a sheltered bay in the maritime park. Enjoy morning tea and a barbecue lunch, with an optional complimentary ferry ride from Paihia to Russell, where your vessel departs.
  • Half-day R. Tucker Thompson tall ship cruise in the Bay of Islands
  • Sail the waters on a replica vintage schooner
  • Bite into fresh scones, sip cream tea and enjoy a BBQ lunch served on board
  • Anchor at a secluded bay for a swim
  • Includes round-trip ferry transport from Paihia to Russell, if option selected
Saved to wishlist!
Cruise on board the "R. Tucker Thompson" tall ship
Coffee and/or Tea
BBQ lunch
Wet weather gear (if required)
New Zealand's Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Hotel pick up and drop off

Departure Point

The Strand, Russell 0202, New Zealand

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
Make your way to the Russell wharf and board the tall ship R. Tucker Thompson, a working Northland schooner that has sailed the world. If departing from Paihia, you’ll take the 30-minute Fullers Bay Belle Ferry across to Russell (round-trip ferry ticket included if selected at booking). 

Embark on a 5.5-hour sailing tour through the Bay of Islands, and enjoy the New Zealand tradition of morning tea with freshly baked scones and Devonshire tea brewed in the galley. You can take the helm, help set the sails or just catch the breeze on the spacious deck while you listen to tales from the crew about the tall ship's adventures at sea.

Your skipper anchors the R. Tucker Thompson in a sheltered cove at lunchtime. Step ashore at one of the bay’s secluded islands or swing from the yardarm and splash into the water for a swim. With all this sea air and activity you'll have a hearty appetite, taken care of by a tasty barbecue lunch cooked on board. 

Then climb the rigging to keep a lookout for fairy penguins, dolphins and seabirds on the return to Russell.
Stop At:  
Paihia Harbour
Paihia is a bustling tourist town in Summer with plenty of activities, shops and restaurants/cafes and a beach. You can spend as much time or as little time as you want here.
Duration: 2 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
R. Tucker Thompson
We have a counter in this building - come say hi! This is also where you can pick up ferry tickets, boarding passes and ask as many questions as you like.
Duration: 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Lovely town with plenty of character - easy to walk around - plenty of shops and restaurant, museum, and other attractions. You can spend time here before or after your sailing with us. Your ferry tickets can be used as early and late as you wish on the day of your sailing.
Duration: 2 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Infant seats available
  • Please talk to us about any physical disabilities. We try hard to accommodate all travelers!
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 47 travelers
  • OPERATED BY R. Tucker Thompson

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the maximum group size during Bay of Islands Tall Ship Sailing on 'R. Tucker Thompson' Including BBQ Lunch?
A:This activity will have a maximum of 47 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Bay of Islands Tall Ship Sailing on 'R. Tucker Thompson' Including BBQ Lunch.

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Traveler Tips

  • "Great crew, well worth taking time out to go on this excellent sail training vessel." See review


203 Reviews
1 star

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 203 reviews
Steve, Abbie and Michelle...
, Mar 2021
Steve, Abbie and Michelle were awesome. Very friendly and Steve was a real character, he had some very tall tales to tell hahaha It was our first time on a sail ship and loved everyy minute of it. I was a little disappointed that I had a shoulder injury and couldn't help out but there's always next time. Highly recommended Adventure 😁👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾
icon Response from Host , Mar 2021
Glad you enjoyed your time on board with Captain Uncle Steve! We'd love to see you again when you aren't carrying an injured shoulder, kia ora and thank you.
Absolute Must Do
, Feb 2021
Everything from the great crew to the other passengers. All were just nice. Having a school of dolphins playing around the boat was a real bonus.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2021
Kia ora Thank you for your feedback - we're glad that there was a good atmosphere aboard - that's why we do this . While we don't seek out wildlife and follow the regulations regarding sea mammals, sometimes they come our way to say hello.
Had a great trip and will do it again when we visit next time.
, Feb 2021
We had a great time from beginning to end. Crew friendly and happy to answer any question . Captain a genuine sailor so knows his stuff. You can help raise the sails if you want, sail the ship and climb the rigging or just enjoy the ride. When the sails are up and the engine is off, she is truly under sail and its great. In the winter season the ship is used for youth development.
icon Response from Host , Feb 2021
Kia ora That is our favourite part too - when the engine is turned off and Tucker gets to do what she does best: sail! We are happy you enjoyed your experience. Thank you for your support!
Fantastic experience
, Jan 2021
Captain Wayne and the crew, the ship itself, the weather and the scenery. It was such fun and beautifully arranged and organised.
icon Response from Host , Jan 2021
Kia ora We're thrilled you had such a great time - will pass on to the crew.
Amazing day out for the Bullen family
, Jan 2021
Lets start with the crew, AMAZING!, Piper you have a huge future! The rest of the crew were fantastic, very skilled and communicative. The sailing experience was amazing, the ship was incredible, the lunch just blew us away. This wasn't one of the cheaper activities we have done but it was incredible value for money. Our son went to the top of the mast and both kids loved swinging from the rigging. We are so pleased that the youth of the far north will benefit from the funds raised by our tour. Thank you again all involved with the R. Tucker Thompson experience!
icon Response from Host , Jan 2021
Thank you for the great review. Piper is one of our trainees and will be thrilled with your feedback. The rest of the crew will appreciate your kind words as well. We like to think the sailing is good value so appreciate your support. Kia ora!
E xcellent trip. Best holiday experience.
, Nov 2020
Crew were very welcoming. Skipper was knowledgable and personable. Just enough commentary without being too much. Good sense of fun. Although I did not climb the rigging I enjoyed watching those braver than me. The luch and refreshments were excellent. Thank you for a great day.
icon Response from Host , Nov 2020
Kia ora We're so happy you were able to join us on the ship and enjoyed the experience - we'll make sure to pass on your comments to the crew. Thank you for supporting our programmes and come again!
The Highlight of North Island experiences
, Mar 2020
One of the best experiences in all of New Zealand. A beautiful ship with THE BEST crew. Knowledgeable, enthusiastic. and willing to interact with everyone from small children to senior citizens. We truly sailed, saw beautiful islands, had porpoises swimming beside us for an hour, a fantastic "tea" with scones and clotted cream and a terrific lunch. They even celebrated two birthdays surprising both guests. AND it's all for a good cause, to boot.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Wow, thank you for your wonderful praise which I will share with the crew. They'll be thrilled to see your feedback as their aim is to give everyone the best experience of their holiday. Kia ora!
Trip of a lifetime
, Mar 2020
The trip was fantastic! I ticked off 3 bucket list items - and more. The 3 from my list were 1) swing off the side of the ship and drop into the water, 2) climb out and sit at the end of the bow sprint, and 3) climb the rigging to stand on the yard arm. The dolphins swimming right under me as I walked up the bow sprint was a magical bonus. The crew were friendly, knowledgeable and fantastic. We had the very good fortune to have Russel, the ships builder, as our captain. Even though it was a cloudy day with only light winds in the AM, it was a trip of a lifetime for me.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thank you so much for your lovely review and we're so happy it ticked the bucket list items off. Our crew also love sailing with Russell, so much to learn from him and his experiences, so everyone had a great day. Mauri ora!
Tall Ship Experience
, Mar 2020
Our day with Michael and the crew was fantastic. It was fun being asked to help set sail, and from then things got better. It was awesome being able to climb out onto the bowsprit and then later being invited to steer. The morning tea and lunch was amazing. Thanks everyone
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thank you for your review, we appreciate your feedback, kia ora!
Awesome Day Out
, Mar 2020
Fantastic time aboard the R Tucker Thompson. The captain and the crew were first rate and made the day very enjoyable. Tea / coffee and warm scones in the morning and a chicken BBQ lunch fulfilled our needs admirably. Some of the more adventurous climbed the rigging - or more sedate a clamber over the bow on the front boom. The crew always on hand to keep eye on proceedings. From assisting with hauling up the sails to steering the boat - you can do as much or as little as you want. Time to explore Moturua island or merely chill on beach for an hour.

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