Tourist Information About Paihia
Paihia is the main tourist town in the Bay of Islands and is filled with awesome activities and fun things to see and do with its stunning beaches, great restaurants, historical attractions and quaint but busy wharf which offers the gateway to the Bay of Islands with its 144 islands. It is an excellent place to base yourself for an amazing stay in Northlandand most tourist activities leave from here.
Paihia has huge cultural significance with Waitangi Treaty Grounds on its doorstep which is New Zealand’s most important historic site, and the quaint township Russell a short boat ride away which was the first permanent European settlement and seaport in New Zealand.
From the wharf, you can arrange a trip to the outer islands, hook into a fishing expedition or catch the ferry to Russell. There are many free things to do too with beautiful walks, beaches and swimming spots and just west of Paihia is Haruru falls, its impressive waterfall and a boardwalk.
Those looking for water-based activities have a huge choice, with fast jet boats, several Yachts and catamaran day sails, fishing trips, scuba diving activities, historic tall ship sailing and more. Hire a bike and check out the new Waitangi Mountain Bike Park or go on the Twin Coast Cycle Trail. For a bird’s-eye view take a scenic helicopter flight or for the more adventurous option you can go skydiving and try parasailing where you can enjoy aerial views of Paihia and out over the Bay of Islands.
One of the main tourist attractions is the ‘Hole in the Rock’ out at the entrance of the Bay of Islands. There are great boat trips to take you there including an exhilarating fast boat, an historic Cream Trip and a Nature Cruise where along the way you can often view dolphins and other marine life including seals, whales and sea birds. You can view many islands along the way and get dropped on an island to have lunch relax or explore. You can also view and actually land by helicopter on an exclusive helipad on top of the island.
There are also many walks in the area with a popular walk on boardwalk to Haruru Falls which showcases an impressive waterfall. The historic village of Russell is just across the Bay which was once known from its whaling days as the ‘Hell hole of the Pacific. Today it offers a more relaxed atmosphere with lots of history it also has the oldest licensed pub in New Zealand.
The town of Kerikeri known for its horticulture is just 20 minutes’ drive away. You can take a wine tour to visit some of its many vineyard attractions and the divine Makana Chocolate factory where you will get a free sample! On Saturdays and Sundays you can visit the Old Packhouse Market where you can buy fresh produce and browse around 100 local venders stalls including art and crafts. Nearby is Kerikeri basin with two of New Zealand’s most historical buildings ‘The Stone Store’ and ‘Mission House’. There are historical and scenic tours to Kerikeri to make the most of this experience with excellent local guides!
Tourism Activities in Paihia
1. Take a boat trip out into the Bay of Islands and the "Hole in the Rock"
With an incredible 144 Islands filled with stunning beaches, clear water for diving, excellent fishing, dolphins and wildlife this is the best thing to do for water lovers. The Bay of Islands is a maritime adventure playground with an abundance of activities that can show you wildlife including penguins, dolphins, marlin, whales, gannets and more. The famous “Hole in the Rock” is a great attraction and fun day right out to the entrance of the Bay of Islands with many activity providers including this as part of their day out and if weather permits you may even be taken right through it! Many of the islands here are conservation areas and have walking track attractions showing beautiful natural habitat and native birds. A choice of tour operators in the region offer excellent tours and trips around the area leaving from the Paihia Wharf including a selection of relaxing day sail yachting activities, scuba diving activities, the historical Cream Trip Cruise, exciting fast jet boat rides, excellent fishing trips and more.
2. Visit New Zealand’s Most Important Historic Site, The Waitangi Treaty Grounds
In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the Maori and Europeans which marked the beginning of New Zealand as a nation. See where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in the historic Treaty House at Waitangi. Explore the two new contemporary museums, Te Rau Aroha, Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi, the carving studio, the Treaty House, Te Whare Rūnanga (Carved Meeting House), traditional Māori waka taua (war canoes) and enjoy a full programme of tours and cultural performances. . Visitors to Waitangi Treaty Grounds purchase an Experience which includes a guided tour (50 minutes), a Māori cultural performance (30 minutes), entry to the two museums, the Treaty House, the carved Meeting House, and grounds with the ceremonial war canoe. Waitangi by Night is available from December to March. Experience Waitangi like never before with after-hours museum access, a gourmet barbecue and games on the Treaty Grounds.
3. Go Mountain Biking at the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park
Waitangi Mountain Bike Park provides the perfect introduction to mountain biking with lots of easy, scenic trails that you can take at your own pace. It offers 30 trails of varying difficulty with great flow and features with introductory downhill riding, jump trails, cross country and beginner trails. There are plenty of fast, flowing berms, rollers and jumps. Grade 2 and 3 runs are so well built, they’re still fun for more advanced riders. The downhill trails milk the most out of the vertical elevation available providing a lot of fun for a small amount of climbing. You can hire bikes from Paihia Mountain Bikes and buy shuttle passes during Weekends, School and Public Holidays. The Waitangi MTB Park Uplift Shuttle Busses take you to the top of the hill to take the downhill tracks. A fantastic service allowing you to skip the uphill ride and get straight into the fun of the downhills.
4. Bike the Twin Coast Cycle Trail
The Twin Coast Cycle Trail (Pou Herenga Tai) is an amazing attraction in the stunning Far North that covers 87 kms from Opua in the east to Horeke in the Hokianga in the west. You can hire a mountain bike or an e-bike and ride along a disused railway line that takes you along the longest curved wooden bridge in New Zealand, along broad walks through mangrove forests, stunning native bush and a working vintage steam railway in Kawakawa. Through tunnels and across bridges and beautiful New Zealand farmland. For an extra things to do along the way visit the Pioneer Village where you can bike through an historic NZ village in Kaikohe and then bike just along the road to visit a Firehouse Museum. The scenery is amazing but this trail is also steeped in Maori and early European history. Following a smooth rail trail, cycle paths, wetland boardwalk, suspension bridges and country roads, it can be broken into smaller day trip activities. It is both a relaxing and highly rewarding attraction, with opportunities to visit various cultural sites and attractions right across the country from the Bay of Islands in the East Coast of New Zealand to the Hokianga in the West Coast of New Zealand, while enjoying the sub-tropical climate for which the ‘winterless’ north is famous.
5. Go on a Thunder Trike Tour
Take an exhilarating cruise activity through Paihia on a custom Kiwi built V8 Chev Trike! Feel the wind in your hair and experience a unique NZ made V8 Chev Thunder Trike! This is one of the more unique attractions you can experience in your life! Enjoying the sights, sounds and smells on a V8 Trike is an awesome thing to do in the stunning Paihia area making the most of the incredible views. Choose from three tour options around the idyllic Bay of Islands, bring your camera, sunglasses and sense of adventure for this fun attraction. Built in Christchurch New Zealand and powered by a 5.7L 350 Chevrolet Edelbrock motor, these trikes are the ultimate in power and excitement. No helmets are required since the trikes are registered as convertible cars and come complete with full seat belts. You can enjoy the wind in your face and experience the adrenaline!
6. Try a Double Parasailing activity over the Bay of Islands
Bay of Islands Parasail leaves from the Paihia Wharf 4 times a day and has New Zealand's highest parasailing at 1300ft affording stunning views over the Bay of Islands. With specially designed boats for this awesome activity to make it safe and easy to catch the wind. This is an amazing and fun thing to do and an incredible way to see the Bay of Islands from the air. Bay of Islands Parasail has 20 years of experience and a perfect safety record, take-off and landing is easy from the back of the boat and its fun and safe. This activity is suitable for all ages as it has no physical restrictions. For extra fun in summer they can dip your toes into the water during your parasail, but there is no getting wet unless you want to! There are tandem flights available all with insane views over the Bay of Islands.
7. Take a Wine Tasting or Scenic Tour with a Local Tour Guide
Go for an adventure with one of the local wine tours or scenic tours and be looked after and shown around by one of the local Northland tour guides. There are several tour activities on offer visiting the many attractions the Bay of Islands has on offer all leaving from Paihia. Visit Kerikeri which is known for its wine, horticulture and history or visit a Glow Worm Cave with incredible rock formations and lush green rain-forest or take a custom tour to the Hokianga or the Far North of New Zealand. There is a Craft Beer & Wine Tour visiting two top local vineyards, a local brewery and a chocolate factory! A Wine Tasting & Scenic Adventure tour which can include Wine Tasting, Lunch at a Vineyard, Historic Buildings, Haruru Falls, Art & Crafts, Chocolate Factory and Honey tastings., and There is also Wine and Beer Tasting & Lunch Adventures visiting three different local Kerikeri vineyards. Tastings can include wines, ports, liqueur, or ask about the Craft Beer Brewery or the local Cheese Factory.
8. Take an Awesome Helicopter Flight Activity over the Bay of Islands
There are a few places in New Zealand where scenic flights are a must-do activity, and this is one of them. Flying over the Bay of Islands is spectacular. There are helicopter flights leaving any time during the day right from the main Wharf area in Paihia. The Bay of Islands offers some of the best coastal and island scenery attractions in New Zealand with its 144 islands! This helicopter scenic flight is an incredible activity offering exceptional views of these beautiful islands leading to the infamous “Hole in the Rock". Another awesome thing to do is to take a Hole in the Rock Helicopter Landing Experience, landing by helicopter on an exclusive helipad on top of the island. The flight heads across Russell with views over to Opua and surrounds before tracking along the stunning peninsula coastline to Cape Brett and it’s lighthouse where you will experience an exciting turn to fly around the Hole in the Rock. The Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand's most spectacular destinations to take a scenic Helicopter flight in New Zealand.
9. Visit Russell and go for an historic tour
Just across the bay by ferry is the quiet and quaint little seaside village of Russell. Russell is rich in history with an interesting past and has many attractions and activities for tourists. Take a guided tour of New Zealand's most historic town once known as "the hell hole of the Pacific" on-board a comfortable coach with Russell Mini Tours. Spend an interesting and relaxing hour aboard a comfortable Mini Coach and be taken back in time with the telling of stories going back to the earliest settlers whilst visiting places of significant historical interest around the Russell area not easily covered on foot. Discover why Russell has played such an important role in the history of New Zealand and why locals love it so much. Bus tours depart regularly from Russell Wharf. You can also have lunch in the famous Duke of Marlborough Hotel, visit Pompallier Mission and Printery, take a hike up to flagstaff hill and visit the beautiful Long Beach just over the hill from the town.