Paihia at a Glance
The coastal town of Paihia on New Zealand’s North Island is the main point of entry to the stunning Bay of Islands, which happens to be one of the countries top tourist destinations. The blue and turquoise water of the bay is dotted with 150 undeveloped islands. The area has historical significance being the place first colonised by Europeans, plus the Treaty of Waitangi was drawn up and signed here in 1840.
- With the Bay of Islands on the doorstep the days can be filled with numerous activities. Go swimming and fishing or try kayaking, snorkelling or sailing. There’s even the possibility of swimming with dolphins. There are numerous boat trips out into the bay where you can sail between islands and discover secluded beaches before having a swim and a BBQ lunch.
- Back on dry land visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and see where a slice of New Zealand history took place. Explore the Colonial-style Treaty House, tuck into lunch at the Waikokopu Café and, if you’re lucky, catch sight of native birds in the surrounding bush.
- Paihia in the evening buzzes with backpackers and tourists having a good time in the numerous bars and restaurants along the waterfront. Enjoy Pacific fusion food at Pure Tastes, feast on the catch of the day at Only Seafood, followed by a cold beer at lively Pipi Patch Bar. For more fantastic seafood and restaurants, visit Napier also the North Island.
Why a Holiday to Paihia?
- Paihia has a waterfront location with a 2km stretch of restaurants, hostels, motels, bars and hotels, which can get lively, particularly in the evenings. The town has three beachside bays with blissful views towards the Bay of Islands, and is surrounded by hills and forest. Paihia itself may not be the most picturesque but its location is simply stunning.
- Have a go at paddling a 50ft carved waka, or canoe, and experience Maori culture on a Waka Tai-a-Mai trip to Haruru Falls, complete with storytelling and incantations from the Ngapuhi guide. For another fascinating Maori experience, our experts also recommend Gisborne City.
- Visit St Paul’s Church. Only built in 1925 it’s located on the site of New Zealand’s very first church. Pay particular attention to the beautiful stained glass depicting native birds.
- Book yourself on the Bay of Islands Cruise and Scenic Helicopter Tour. The all day tour leaves from Paihia, from where you cruise out into the bay and visit a remote island for a spot of sunbathing, swimming or snorkelling. Later on take a helicopter ride over the Bay of Islands to see the ‘Hole in the Rock’, which was formed naturally and can only be seen by sea or air.
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