Is it worth it? If you got the time donít miss it! If you are seeking dolphins and are going to be moving around New Zealand this is one of several spots to enjoy......
The Bay of Islands actually is better explored by car since in the general vicinity you have Paihia, Russel ( by ferry), Waitangi, Kerikeri as a group of small town each offering their own interesting spots and adventures. http://www.bayofislands.net
The drive there is more tan interesting by getting off the main highway beginning with Orewa and a fabulous beach, http://www.orewa-beach.co.nz
next the Warkworth area where just north of town is the major wine area and in Matakana one of the countryís top patisserie. http://www.warkworth-information.co.nz
On the side road to Goat Island one of the top dive sports and then circle back to route one at Wellsford.
North turn to the coast and the fishing village of Mangawhei Heads where the best fish and chips in the country can be found.....and beautiful coastal scenery.
North to the major city of Whangarei and on to Kawakawa where you can see the internationally famous public toilets (yes I said toilets!) Once you see them you will know why.
The Bay of Islands next with all it has to offer and then on north to Ninety Mile Beach, Cape Reinga, the wild horses of the forest and then back to follow the road to Kaitaia. The back road then south to cross the ferry at the Hokianga Harbour.....too many people miss this whole area......then go visit the giant tree of the forest on south to Baylys Beach
and then back to route one where you can stop at the world famous Kauri Museum.
Much more but this is just a brief to show how if you got the time you donít waste it staying on the main highway letting someone else dictate your travels........