Marie Stone

Marie reports here on our blog about travel, adventure and weddings.

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The Heart of the Bay of Islands – Paihia

The pretty town of Paihia is the heart of the Bay of Islands. You’ll find everything you need here from fantastic holiday apartments and hotels and shopping to restaurants and cafes. Hire a bus from Whangarei to enjoy all that Paihia has to offer.  The town is sheltered from the prevailing winds and follows the beach along the foreshore. Paihia is also the departure point for all charter boats and ferries. There are regular ferry runs across to the charming settlement of Russell where you can visit the historical Duke of Marlborough Hotel, the Russell museum or dine at one of the quaint cafes and restaurants. There are fast catamarans to show you around the islands including the famous Hole in the Rock and fishing charters to take you to some of the best fishing spots in New Zealand. Kayak and jet ski tours, scenic flights and sailing charters make the most of the beautiful scenery, sandy beaches and azure waters.

Paihia is also close to the Waitangi Treaty grounds, considered to be the birthplace of New Zealand. Waitangi is rich in Maori and early European history. Explore the expansive grounds on a guided tour for the most informative view from descendants of the original inhabitants. Paihia has great beaches for sunbathing and swimming and there is also a good selection of walks in the area. There are coastal walks which follow the coastline and offer some fantastic views as well as scenic walks through native bush and past some of the Bay of Islands most impressive waterfalls.

Paihia has a temperate climate and is popular with local holidaymakers and international visitors alike. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly and the large number of attractions and activities act as a magnet for everyone. Bus travel times are short and there are interesting things to discover around every corner. There is always something happening in Paihia and one of the highlights is “it!”, a celebration of everything the Bay of Islands is famous for- homegrown food, local wines and a collection of entertainers from around the area, with the focus on the main feature of the Bay of Islands, fishing.