There are a multitude of activities in the Bay of Islands to keep you entertained for days. There's something for everyone, whether you are an adrenalin seeker, a sun worshipper, culture vulture or nature lover.
Our favourite walks in the area – there are short strolls and longer hikes. You can even combine the island walks with a camping stay on Urupukapuka in Cable Bay – a dream location for a very good price! One of our favourite local walks is from Paihia to Opua along the coastal track. At Opua you can hop on the car ferry and follow the Okiato (trail) to Russell for a stroll around this beautifully preserved village. Visit the historic church and Pompalier House. Round it off with afternoon tea at the Duke of Marlborough. At the Waitangi end of the bay there is a beautiful coastal walk that takes you from the Bay of Islands Yacht Club, along the waterfront past the Waitangi Meeting House and Flagpole and along the bottom of the golf course. Amazing views, a relaxing pace.
To get a taste of being on the water, hire a kayak or take the great value Night Safari Cruise or perhaps a jetski if you are looking for something with a bit more oomph! There are some very reasonably priced day sail options which include lunch, snorkelling, kayaking and an opportunity to explore one of the 144 islands and bays.
Alternatively, hop in your RaD Car Hire rental car and follow the Twin Coast Discovery trail – take the winding road via Matauri Bay, visit the dinosaurs and meteors showcase just north of Kaeo. Or head to the majestic Hokianga: walk to the viewing point at South Heads, Omapere, where you watch the ocean meet the harbour. Finish up with coffee at the Hokianga Copthorne Hotel.
For a thrilling experience of the bay, why not jump on a helicopter and fly across the islands. It really puts the bay into perspective. Or steel yourself for a fast (and we mean fast!) boat ride to the Hole in the Rock. There are also more sedate half-day Hole in the Rock tours, where – if you’re lucky – you might see dolphins playing in the bow wake of the boats.
To capture a bit of local history, take one of the local tours or, to get a sense of life in Northland, visit the charming towns of Kawakawa and Opua, taking in the Glow Worm caves on your way home. If you want something more of a workout, try kayaking or cycling part of the Twin Coast Cycle Way. There’s a regular artisan market on Paihia’s village green where you can purchase locally made arts and crafts.
The Paihia i-Site has friendly trained staff with extensive local knowledge to answer any questions you may have, and provide advice regarding local attractions, travel, and accommodation requirements.
The Wharf, Marsden Rd, Paihia
Phone 09 402 7345
Fax 09 402 7314
Free phone 0800 363 463