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Tiki Touring New Zealand Travel

R Tucker Thompson tall ship

Bay of Islands, New Zealand


R Tucker Thompson Cruise in the Bay of Islands

Book a voyage on the R Tucker Thompson
Sightseeing, Tours, Attractions and Events in the Bay of Islands
Hotels and Accommodation in the Bay of Islands
Tiki Touring photos on the R Tucker Thompson

By Richard Moore



As an avid devotee of Horatio Hornblower this fellow boarded the tall ship R Tucker Thompson with a huge amount of anticipation surging through the body.

Would I be able to make my way out to the end of the bowsprite? Would I climb the main mast? Would I be seasick?

There wasn't much chance of the latter on a sensational and calm day in the Bay of Islands but, hey, that at least raised the chances of completing the first two.

The R Tucker Thompson is square-rigged schooner built in the traditions of the old tall ships.

She is 26-metres long, five metres wide and has two masts that carry 179 sq m of sail.

She is also an absolute beauty.

Brass gleams, ropes are neatly tied, the decks scrubbed and clean and the cabin and below-deck areas have stunning woodwork. Above all, there is a touch of the romantic about being on a tall ship.

On a day with good wind the R Tucker Thompson can zip along at 9 knots and when the power source drops there is always the safety of the engine.

There is an incredible calm about being on a sailing vessel. Sit back and enjoy the scenery as it slowly passes by, get fed a scrumptious Devonshire tea with scones groaning under jam and whipped cream, or a lunch fit for a land-based restaurant, and partake of beer and local wines. The wines are particularly good.

After a couple of those the courage is up for a stint aloft and bearing in mind the wooden deck looked quite hard and the mast quite high it was on with a safety harness.

Oh, a reminder, don't take your shoes off before going up the mast because the rope ladder does play havoc with city-boy feet.

Then up you go to witness some excellent views of the surroundings and stare down at your fellow passengers. And don't wear shorts as some people - particularly boisterous middle-aged ladies - can give you a really hard time about your legs. The cheek!

The R Tucker Thompson makes a lunch stop at Motuarohia Island, or Robertson Island, where you get an inflatible trip on to the shore for either a swim or chill out, or for a good walk up to the island lookout.

The views up there are excellent and the effort not too exacting.

Then it's lunch and we had a terrific tandoori chicken meal that was more than enough for any stomach given a huge appetite by sun and sea.

Weighing anchor it was up with the sails and off for a light-breeze cruise at about 2 knots. While it would have been nice to have had heavier winds that would allow R Tucker Thompson to show her pace, the tranquility of just mooching along was very restful.

The sail with the R Tucker Thompson is about $US75 for adults and children about $US38. You can buy beer and wine on board and also some nifty T-shirts.

While I have left them until last the crew of the R Tucker Thompson we sailed with were excellent.

Skipper Garth Bishop was thoroughly entertaining and ran the ship like er, Captain Blight (he even had me hauling up the blinking main sail!), cook Andre Moore put on excellent scones and a super lunch, Manton Bauer-Ngawaka injured himself on rocks getting the skipper's brekkie and Amiria Macbeth was a damn fine hand in the rubber boat.

The R Tucker Thompson is a memorable way to spend a day in the Bay of Islands and left we landlubbers with an urge to do it all again.

You can book a trip with the R Tucker Thompson
through Tiki Touring




Cruise departs from Paihia.

This tour is seasonal and operates from October through to April. 10:00am departure on sailing days.

Return Details:
Cruise concludes at either The Strand Wharf in Russell or the Paihia wharf, approximately 4 hours after departure, or 9 1/2 hours after the morning departure if the island extension option is chosen.


  • Cruise on board the R. Tucker Thompson tall ship
  • Morning tea
  • Barbecue lunch
  • Wet weather gear (if required)
  • Roundtrip 'Fullers Bay Belle' ferry tickets (if Paihia option selected)
  • New Zealand's Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Additional Info:

This tour must be booked at least 24 hours in advance of travel. Confirmation for this product will be received within 24 hours, subject to availability. Tour is operated in English unless otherwise stated.

Pricing Policy:

Infants aged 4 years and under travel free of charge Children aged between 5 and 14 years inclusive qualify for child rate. No other discounts apply.









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