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Sail Boats on Paihia Beach

There is so much to do on a Bay of Island adventure we just know there will be something you and every member of your group will love. That is why we couldn't fit it all on one webpage. For more great things to see and do, see our top 11 attractions in the Bay of Islands and our list of five recommended restaurants.

Take a day and coach tour north to Cape Reinga and cruise back down 90-mile beach on the Far North’s West Coast. You will get the opportunity to visit craft shops where Kauri buried in swamps over 20,000 years ago has been recovered and artists then carve the deep gold timber into beautiful pieces of art and functional items for around the home. Visit a kauri gum digger’s camp that has been faithfully restored around old gum digger’s workings. Here you can see how early settlers in the 1800’s etched out a living by recovering the hardened amber sap buried in the ground where ancient Kauri Forests once stood. For those short of time, there are daily scenic flights landing near the cape for a 4x4 tour – before flying back to the Bay of Islands in time for lunch or dinner, with pick up and drop off at your accommodation.

Another option is to visit the Hokianga Harbour (on the West Coast across from the Bay of Islands) and visit the Waipoua Forest, home to the largest known living Kauri tree, ‘Tane Mahuta’.
For those interested in the Maori culture, Te Tai Tokerau, (Northland) is the home of the Ngapuhi people. The perfect place to learn more about their society and culture - both historic and the present day. 
Visit the famous ‘’Hole in the Rock’’ at Cape Brett, near the southern entrance to the Bay of Islands. You can rent and drive your own jet-ski, go in a speed boat out to the Cape and back in one and a half hours, or take a more leisurely cruise or sail with options of dolphin watching or swimming or an island stop or both. For the more adventurous you can helicopter out to the Hole in the Rock and land on top of the island with the Hole in the Rock under your feet! On the way there by boat or otherwise, view some of the multi-million dollar properties on islands or hidden in secluded bays.

On the way back, get dropped off in Russell in time for lunch then explore the historic village which was known in the early to mid 1800’s as the ’Hell Hole of the Pacific’. From the village, a 30 minute walk (or take a taxi) up to the top of Flagstaff Hill offers you 360 degree views over the Bay of Islands, before returning to Russell in time to catch a short ferry ride back to Paihia.
One might enjoy a leisurely sail on a replica tall ship out into the Bay of Islands. The R Tucker-Thompson is a faithfully reconstructed replica of the style of ships that early European Settlers to New Zealand sailed on to reach the antipodes. The R Tucker Thompson is one of the feature vessels in the yearly Tall Ships regatta held in the Bay of Islands. During the low Season the R Tucker T. is used for weeklong Youth Training voyages for 13 – 18 year-olds to teach sailing and navigation skills and to increase personal confidence
Whatever your level of experience, sailing in the Bay of Islands is something that should be on everyone’s bucket list. There are fully crewed options, to self-sail rentals for the more experienced. Whether you want to try your hand at a simple self-sail Hobbie-cat through to assisting with a full on racing maxi-yacht, the options are all here in the Bay of Islands. You can get as involved or as uninvolved as your experience or mood allows you.
For golfers this is heaven, there are more than 10 courses located anywhere from 5 minutes drive to just over an hour from Paihia. There are lovely small country courses servicing the local community and more than willing to welcome green fee players at very, very reasonable rates, through to championship rated courses such as Kauri Cliffs and Carrington which are groomed to perfection and challenge even the lowest of low handicappers. Closest to Paihia is the Waitangi Golf Club which offers a championship course which also offers a combination of stunning views over the Bay of Islands and beautiful parklands on the inland side, teeming with native flora and fauna.
One of the early settlements in the Bay of Islands, it is the gateway to the Bay. The tours and fishing charters out onto the Bay of Islands all leave from Paihia Wharf. There are many historical sites within walking distance of the town centre where you will find excellent restaurants and the types of shops needed to cater for a small community.
The Birthplace of our Nation, this is where the founding document of New Zealand, the Treaty of Waitangi Tiriti o Waitangi was fist signed on February 6 1840. This document formed the relationship between the British Crown and Tangatawhenua which means people of the land. The Waitangi meeting was the first signing ceremony of many as the document was taken around the country to gatherings of Maori Chiefs or Rangitira over the following months. The Treaty Grounds are beautifully presented and a wonderful place to visit to learn more about New Zealand, its history and its inhabitants.
Russell is a beautiful small village nestled on Kororareka Bay which has had its waterfront buildings preserved as they were at the turn of last century. Kororareka was known as the ‘Hell Hole of the Pacific’ in its early days as it became a haven for Whalers, Sealers, escaped convicts and ship jumpers. As time went on Russell became a lot more refined with many referring to Russell as the first Capital of New Zealand prior to it being officially moved to Auckland and then to its present location in Wellington. Flagstaff Hill, situated a half hour walk above Russell, is a must visit for anyone visiting the Bay of Islands as it offers 360 degree views over the bay to Paihia and Waitangi, along to the Kerikeri inlet and out over the many islands or motu that are scattered throughout the Bay of Islands, some inhabited some not. Flagstaff Hill has a history. Bring your camera!
Home to the Stone Store, New Zealand’s oldest stone building, Kerikeri is re-knowned for its orchards of citrus and kiwi fruit. While Kerikeri is the main shopping/service town in the region it also has many arts and crafts shops and is developing a reputation for some wonderful wines. Including wine produced on totally organic vineyard properties.