Paihia began as a peaceful mission station on the gentle shores of the Bay of Islands. This is where the foundations of Maori and European life in New Zealand were laid.
Today it is a town that expresses the lively holiday spirit of an increasing throng of international visitors and Kiwis who fill the vibrant cafès, restaurants and shops. This bustling tourism centre has everything going for it as a gateway to the most popular aquatic playground in the ‘winterless north.’ It is also the perfect base for tours of the surrounding countryside.
Paihia has evolved as a happy blend of history, culture, adventure and romance. A place where you can study our colonial past, visit a Maori marae, dive beneath the sea, sail on the edge of the wind, or just laze in the sun. Other options for your stay in Paihia are to take a sightseeing flight or play golf on a coastal course with unforgettable views.
A visit to the Maritime Building on the waterfront is the key to unlock many of Northland’s scenic pleasures. The variety of available cruises is spellbinding but the favourites are the traditional Cream Trip and the famous Hole in the Rock cruise. Getting out on the water is the best way to capture the true essence of the Bay of Islands and as a bonus, passengers often see aquatic life such as dolphins, whales, penguins and gannets on the scenic cruises. Keep your camera at the ready to capture the moment. Land tours leave Paihia daily for 90 Mile Beach and Cape Reinga as well as the ancient kauri forests and the art and craft shops of Kerikeri.
Paihia’s environs offer lots of interesting diversions including local bushwalks, a coastal walk to Opua, the Shipwreck Museum, Haruru Falls and Mount Bledisloe. The Waitangi Treaty House is a ‘must see’ highlight with its informative displays and expansive grounds. In February 1840, local chiefs, missionaries and Queen Victoria’s officials gathered here for the historic signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
Throughout the Paihia area you will enjoy stunning views of the islands which are set in New Zealand’s finest maritime park.