Paihia is an historic town (population 1,800) in the Bay of Islands in the Northland region of the North Island of New Zealand. It has numerous sights and activities, and stunning views of the bay. An early Christian missionary, Henry Williams, settled in Paihia in 1823 and built New Zealand’s first church here. Adjacent Waitangi is where representatives of the English Crown and a number of Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840. The estate is a must-see for anyone interested in New Zealand’s history and culture.
Marsden Road is the main waterfront road. The commercial centre is around the junction of Marsden Road and Williams Road. The wharf from where most of the maritime activities depart is here. The Maritime Building next to the wharf houses two tour companies. Several cruises that depart from Paihia are approved by the Department of Conservation to seek dolphins and whales in the wild. Some tours allow you to swim in the sheltered bay with both common and bottlenose dolphins. Cruises may also see baleen whales, orca, seals, fish, penguins and other sea and bird life. The Bay of Islands Visitor Information Centre is at the wharf, phone +64 9 402-7345, fax +64 9 402-7314.
Access : Coordinates: -35.283333, 174.083333 / By bus : Several tourist coach companies offer daily sightseeing services from downtown Auckland including InterCity and Naked Bus. These services take around 4 hours and may include rest stops and commentary on local history. Many packaged tours include the Bay of Islands in their North Island itinerary. By plane : Regional airlines have flights to Kerikeri Airport from Whangarei and Auckland (the nearest international airport). Paihia is 20 minutes away by car or shuttle van. By boat : Passenger ferries run to and from Russell. The timetable varies by the seasons.
Attractions : Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Waitangi (30-45 min walk from Paihia) , the famous Hole in the Rock , The sandy beaches – paihia-beach , the famous Haruru Falls , Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach , St. Paul’s Anglican Church, built in 1925 ,
Activities : Dive the Rainbow Warrior wreck .fishing, snorkeling and swimming ,Horse Trek’n ,Parasailing ,Forestwalks , Bush walks through the Opua forest , Walk the track on the north side of the Waitangi River between the Treaty Grounds and Haruru Falls or join a guided kayak tour , Swim at the long, sandy beach north of the wharf along the road to Waitangi , Waitangi Golf Course. In a wonderful setting with majestic ocean views.
Flying Kiwi Parasail, Skydive over the Bay of islands , Explore the Waitangi , Kayak around the Bay of Islands
Cruises : Fullers GreatSights Bay of Islands. Cream Trip – Day in the Bay ($119), a full day cruise around the Bay of Islands with a possible chance to swim with dolphins ($30 extra). Half-day Dolphin Eco Experience (8AM-noon; noon-3:50PM) – swim with dolphins ($99). Half-day Dolphin Cruise to the Hole in the Rock – dolphin viewing, not swimming ($95). Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach day tours ($119). Licenced by the Department of Conservation to seek dolphins and whales. Most cruises include a trip out the Hole in the Rock and the Cape Brett lighthouse and a portion of every ticket goes to dolphin research in the bay. Also marketed by awesomeNZ.com.
Carino Sailing & Dolphin Adventures. Depart Paihia 9:30AM, return 3:34PM. Swim with dolphins. Departs from Paihia and Russell. $114. edit
The Rock Overnight Cruise. 22 hour cruise, incorporating lots of water activities, island walks, on-board meals, and time to watch the scenery and wildlife. edit
Discover the Bay – ‘Hole in the Rock’ and dolphin viewing cruise. Adult $95. Explore the Bay of Islands while searching for dolphins and visiting the Hole in the Rock. Visit Urupukapuka Island and learn about Project Island Song. Departs from Paihia and Russell. Lasts about 4 hours.