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Bay of Islands (Paihia)

Paihia is considered the capital of the Bay of Islands. The town and surrounding area played a key role in shaping the history of New Zealand. Not long after Cook sailed into the bay in 1769, whaling and sealing ships began to arrive in numbers and ignite the inevitable conflict of two cultures.  The bustling tourist centre teems with cafes and shops and its here you will find an abundance of activities to keep you occupied.

Things to do:

  • Swim with the dolphins
  • Boat excursion around the islands
  • Cruise to the hole in the rock
  • Explore the historic buildings of Russell
  • Guided tour of Waitangi
  • Marlin fishing
  • Kayaking in the harbour
  • Day excursion to Cape Reinga with Dune Rider
Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Waitangi is one of New Zealand's most historic sites where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the local Maori and the British Government. This two day pass allows you access to the Treaty of Waitangi Grounds and includes admission to the Te K┼Źngahu Museum and Te Rau Aroha Museum and a Maori Cultural performance. During your guided tour, you'll learn about the history of the treaty and discover the stories and events that shaped New Zealand. The cultural performance inside the carved meeting house includes waiata (singing), poi, a display of Maori weaponry and the haka - a war dance New Zealand is well known for.

Cape Reinga Scenic Aeroplane Flight and Guided Tour

Cape Reinga Scenic Aeroplane Flight and Guided Tour

Today experience the beauty of the North from both air and land. Take a spectacular scenic flight to Cape Reinga over Whangaroa Harbour and the Rangaunu Harbour as well as Coopers Beach, Doubtless Bay and Ninety Mile Beach. The tour also includes a visit to the Cape Reinga lighthouse, and the option to slide down giant sand dunes on sleds.

Dive the Rainbow Warrior

Dive the Rainbow Warrior

The Rainbow Warrior was Greenpeace's flagship. On its way to protest France's nuclear testing on the Mururoa Atoll when it was sunk by French saboteurs on July 10, 1985, in Auckland Harbour. After the bombing Greenpeace gifted the Warrior to the sea and she now lies as an artificial reef in the Cavallii Islands, a refuge for the marine life she was sunk trying to protect. At a max depth of 27m the Warrior is now home to a huge variety of aquatic life and is a world renowned dive site. The Warrior is an one of the world's premier wreck dives, and truly is the 'Jewel of the North'."When man has destroyed the world through his greed, the Warriors of the Rainbow will arise to save it again.

 

Maori Waka Canoe Tour

Maori Waka Canoe Tour

This interactive Waka experience provides a rare and unique insight into the ancient customs, rituals and traditions of the Ngapuhi tribe. Join them on a Waka voyage and they promise you will leave with everlasting memories which will remain with you forever. Meet with local Ngapuhi whose traditional knowledge and storytelling skills are legendary in the Bay of Islands. Their ancient histories and stories are shared with you as you paddle together aboard the 50 ft Waka Taua (Maori War Canoe) on the tidal estuaries of the Waitangi River. This tour activity is an interactive and educational Waka (Traditional Maori war canoe) experience with customers learning traditional paddle techniques, Waka manoeuvres, chants and Haka whilst absorbing the breath taking natural beauty of the Waitangi river eco systems, native flora and fauna, our living landscapes. The first leg of your voyage has your ornate waka gliding up the beautiful tidal estuaries of the Waitangi. Engage in conversation with your Maori host who will share with you, personal tribal and family histories from an ancient past. With the splendour of panoramic views, vibrant and stunning colours from the native forest stretching the length of the river banks and beyond, the first leg of your voyage culminates with our arrival in the pool of the sacred and spiritual Haruru waterfalls. The magic of this place is brought to life by the skilful oratory of the story tellers who accompany you.

Again take up the paddle and the voyage continues passing by the family Marae and sacred shrine of worship, nestled on the riverbank of the Waitangi. See the native bird and fish wildlife, or maybe stop by the fishing net and check to see if fish are caught? Practice your new found traditional Maori paddling skills, learn a haka all while engaging in meaningful unscripted discussion with your Warrior host.

Snorkelling in the Bay of Islands

Snorkelling in the Bay of Islands

Board the boat on Paihia wharf for an 8:30am departure. On the way out to the snorkeling site you will cruise through the islands. Look out for dolphins, penguins, seals and marine bird life. It takes approximately 30 minutes on Sentinel to get to Deep Water Cove, and then cruise to a reef area for some snorkeling and lunch. Cruise back though the islands to Paihia, arriving at the wharf around 15:30pm.

Waitangi Golf Club

Waitangi Golf Club

The Waitangi Course not only provides an exciting and ever changing challenge to the golfer but also the most tremendous panorama of sea and island views over the Bay of Islands and Russell, river and estuary views over Waitangi and Opua and rolling bush and forest views inland over Mount Bledisloe and Puketona.
These views are complemented by well groomed greens and fairways surrounded by areas of flowering native trees which provide sanctuary for many varieties of native birds. As many visiting golfers, particularly those from overseas, claim Waitangi is truly millionaires country for all to enjoy.
In 1932 the then Governor General of New Zealand, Lord Bledisloe and his wife Lady Bledisloe purchased just over one thousand acres of land on the Waitangi Peninsular and donated it to the inhabitants of New Zealand as a place of historic interest and recreational enjoyment for their benefit and use in perpetuity.
This land is known as the Waitangi National Trust and is now administered and managed under the terms of the original gift by the Waitangi National Trust Board. The Waitangi Golf Club leases the land on which the course has been developed from the Trust.

Bay of Islands Coastal Discovery Scenic Helicopter Flight

Bay of Islands Coastal Discovery Scenic Helicopter Flight

Explore a little more of the coastline surrounding the Bay of Islands region on this 30 minute flight. Fly north via the picturesque Kerikeri Inlet, to the Cavalli Islands, before wandering down the coast over Matauri Bay, Takou Bay, Tapuataehi Bay, Purerua Peninsula and over the inner and outer Bay of Islands before landing back on the Paihia waterfront.

Bay of Islands Snorkelling

Bay of Islands Snorkelling

Discover Northland's magical underwater world. During your memorable snorkelling trip, you will see an abundance of sealife and explore big archways in a well-established marine reserve. The main area for snorkelling is Deep Water Cove on the Cape Brett Peninsula, which is very well known for its clarity of water – even up to 20 metres at times. Many of the local tour boats don’t have the required power or range to explore these waters, but the vessel Pelorus Belle will get you there easily in an enjoyable journey. Take lots of photos, spot some native bird life, or just relax in the sunshine during your comfortable passage through the stunning scenery. Learn about the history and geology of the Islands and with the teams wealth of knowledge of all marine, bird and fish life of the area, you’ll get the best out of your trip.

Hole in the Rock Scenic Helicopter Flight

Hole in the Rock Scenic Helicopter Flight

This 20 minute scenic flight departs from Paihia and flies over Russell, through the spectacular Bay of Islands and out to the famous Hole in the Rock at Cape Brett. The helicopter departs from Salt Airs heli-pad in central Paihia adjacent to the Paihia wharf and maritime area.

Waitangi Hangi and Concert

Waitangi Hangi and Concert

Waitangi is just 2km north of Paihia in the Bay of Islands and is arguably one of New Zealand's most historic sites. It was here in 1840 that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Maori and the British government. Still on the 400 hectare reserve is the Georgian style home of James Busby, a fully-carved Maori meeting house and Ngatokimatawhaorua, a 37 metre kauri waka (canoe). The latter is one of the largest ever carved and was crafted to mark the centenary of the signing of the treaty in 1940. You will experience Waitangi as part of an intimate Hangi and concert evening. Begin at the Whare Waka Cafe with the unveiling of the Hangi, followed by a themed Cultural Performance in the carved Meeting House. After the show you will be escorted back to the Whare Waka Cafe for your Hangi dinner.