Visit Paihia in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand

  • One of New Zealand’s most visited tourist destinations, Paihia is a historic settlement in the Bay of Islands in Northland (upper North Island), about 200 Km north of Auckland.

    Among the many sightseeing attractions and adventure activities that can be enjoyed in Paihia are the Dolphin and “Hole in the Rock” sea cruise (allowing you to swim with dolphins and, potentially, enjoy whale watching), fishing charters, scenic flights, skydiving, balloon and helicopter rides, the renowned Waitangi Golf Club and the historic Waitangi National Reserve.

    The calm waters and warm climate of the Bay of Islands make it an ideal place for sailing, kayaking, waterskiing, SCUBA diving and snorkelling. Visit islands and beaches for family fun, picnics and barbecues.

    Paihia boasts a range of accommodation, shopping and restaurants, and is a starting-out point for coach tours of Northland’s many sights.

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    Accommodation in Paihia (NZ)

    Being a major tourist destination, Paihia has accommodation options that cater for every traveller’s needs, from 4- and 5-star hotel and spas to self-catering apartments, lodges, motels, backpackers and camping grounds, in the town of Paihia and, for more secluded luxury retreat, at bays and coves nearby.

    Transport in Paihia

    The quickest way to get to Paihia is a flight to nearby Kerikeri airport. Alternatively, there are many coach and bus travel options from Auckland and other North Island centres. Many travellers prefer to use a a rental car or motor home, allowing them to explore sights along the way as free itinerary travellers.

    Paihia Tourist Activities

    The historical Waitangi National Reserve, 4 Km from Paihia, is the site of the 1840 signing of New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi. Two prominent historic buildings can be visited – the Treaty House and the Meeting House. Both afford the visitor an opportunity to admire Maori carving and gain insight into Maori culture through guided tours.

    Paihia Tours

    Coach tours leave Paihia for day trips and longer tours of scenic Northland, including such sights as Waipoua Kauri Forest and Cape Reinga at New Zealand’s northern tip. Numerous bush walks near Paihia provide many opportunities for hiking and tramping, bird watching, photography and hunting. Nature lovers will appreciate the geology and ecology of Northland, especially the ancient forests of giant Kauri trees, where it is possible to see the kiwi bird.


    The waters of the Bay of Islands provide superb fishing – a fact celebrated by American author Zane Grey in his 1926 book “Tales of the Angler’s El Dorado, New Zealand”. For both offshore game fishing and inshore recreational fishing, there are many charter boat options available. Or you might wish to hire fishing rods and a sailboat. Diving and snorkelling provide other fishing options: spear fishing or gathering lobster and shellfish.


    The Waitangi Golf Club, 4 km from Paihia, is located above cliffs at the edge of the sea, providing spectacular views of surrounding ocean and forest-clad mountains. Two more golf clubs are located nearby in Kerikeri, including the world renowned Kauri Cliffs championship golf course, designed by David Harman.


    The town of Russell, a short distance across the water by car ferry from Paihia, is a great place to visit for its beaches, restaurants and nearby bush walks.

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