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Things to do in

Paihia

Our most recommended things to do in Paihia

From Paihia: Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach with Lunch

1. From Paihia: Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach with Lunch

Learn more about Māori traditions at Cape Reinga or Te Rerenga Wairua, by visiting the place where spirits are said to depart on their long journey back to their true homeland on this group tour.  Stand at the northernmost point of New Zealand and drink in the panoramic views. Snap a picture beneath the iconic lighthouse, look out at the point where the Tasman Sea collides with the mighty Pacific Ocean, and, if you’re feeling adventurous, try sandboarding. Travel in the local partner's purpose-built 46-seat tour bus designed for cruising along 90 Mile Beach, where some other tours can’t reach. Listen to entertaining and thought-provoking insight into the culture, history, and natural wonders of the far north from your local guide. Have a delicious locally prepared lunch to keep you fueled throughout the day. Try sandboarding at Te Paki Stream. Feel closer to the nature and culture of New Zealand on this tour. 

From Paihia or Russell: Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

2. From Paihia or Russell: Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

Embark on a catamaran tour of the Bay of Islands from Paihia or Russell. Enjoy insightful commentary as you visit famous sights, including the "Hole in the Rock" and make a stop at Urupukapuka Island. Board your vessel in Paihia or Russell and glide out through the islands. Cruise along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse watches over the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’.  The natural sculpture, one of New Zealand's most popular attractions, was created from centuries of sea and wind erosion. According to Maori legend, local warriors paddled through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof were a good omen. Take in the Grand Cathedral Cave before heading back into the bay. Keep an eye out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales, and other marine life.  Cruise in comfort aboard the Dolphin Seeker with indoor and outdoor seating and the Bay of Island's largest outdoor viewing decks. Treat yourself to snacks and a licensed bar on board, or enjoy the Otehei Bar Café and Bar on Urupukapuka Island.

Bay of Islands: Bay Discovery Cruise with Island Stop-Over

3. Bay of Islands: Bay Discovery Cruise with Island Stop-Over

Set off on a scenic 4.5 to 5-hour cruise to discover the very best of the Bay of Islands. Experience the spectacular scenery and encounter diverse wildlife in an area soaked in rich culture and history. Board the black and yellow power cat at Paihia Wharf and be welcomed aboard by the friendly crew. Your crew will deliver a full safety briefing and overview of the trip. Cruise among the 144 islands and enjoy entertaining live commentary from your local knowledgeable skipper. Visit the iconic Hole in the Rock and when conditions permit, you can even travel through it. Spot local wildlife including dolphins, birds, seals and even the occasional whale with a success rate of over 90%. Your trip will also include a 1.5-hour island stop at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island. Enjoy free time to explore the island. If you wish, you can hire kayaks, or paddleboards (available during summer only) or just relax on the beach. You can also choose to extend your stay on the island and return on a later ferry (only available during summer).

Bay of Islands: 5-Hour Day Cruise and Island Getaway Tour

4. Bay of Islands: 5-Hour Day Cruise and Island Getaway Tour

Escape the crowds and experience the Bay of Islands on a personalised, small-group, interactive boat cruise. Combine the best activities of the Bay of Islands with interactive and informative commentary for an amazing day excursion. Stop at Roberton Island and disembark for a 10-minute walk along a native bush trail. At the end of the trail discover a breathtaking 360-degree viewpoint over the bay. Enjoy a complimentary beachside morning tea provided by the crew and have the opportunity to explore the tidal lagoons. Climb back on board and continue cruising among the 144 islands of the Bay keeping a lookout for marine wildlife and unique shorebirds. Your second island stop takes you to one of the Bay of Islands’ most secluded and unfrequented bays. Snorkel and explore the underwater reefs, take a walk along the island trail and try stand-up paddleboarding. Relax on the beach or jump in the water for a swim, do as much or as little as you want.

Paihia: Bay of Islands Trike Tour Experience

5. Paihia: Bay of Islands Trike Tour Experience

On the scenic tour, you'll climb aboard your trike, buckle up, and settle in for one of the most exciting tours of your life. Venture out onto the open road, take a short burst out to the half moon-shaped Haruru Falls, and then continue back to Waitangi Lookout. Capture the breathtaking, 360-degree views of the Bay of Islands on your camera, plus get your picture taken behind the handlebars of the big beast.  The thriller tour includes an action-packed, 30-minute tour on the V2 Chek Trike. Zip off to the picturesque Opua and return with photos and even more adrenaline-pumping thrills as you cruise down this awesome, winding coastal road. The combo tour includes a one-hour tour around the scenic Bay of Islands. Visit the beautiful Haruru Falls before continuing to Waitangi Lookout for breathtaking views. Wind your way through the hills of the idyllic Opua before a thrilling ride back to Paihia. This option works as combination of the first two and is the best choice for adrenaline-seekers.

Bay of Islands Small Group Afternoon Cruise & Island Tour

6. Bay of Islands Small Group Afternoon Cruise & Island Tour

Check-in at the Salt Air Office at 3.20 PM, before setting off along the sheltered coastline for a scenic cruise. Stop off at Roberton Island (also known as Twin Lagoons) for a 10-minute native bush walk to a breathtaking 360-degree lookout over the bay. After the walk, explore the tidal lagoons before climbing back on board. Cruise among the stunning islands of the Bay, keeping an eye out for wildlife.  Then, stopover at one of the Bay of Islands’ most secluded and unfrequented bays to try some new activities. Snorkel and explore the underwater reefs, stroll on an island trail, give stand-up paddle-boarding a try, relax on the beach or jump in the water for a swim. Make the afternoon your own with the activities that interest you most. Finally, board the boat for the return scenic cruise back to Paihia, arriving at 6:30 PM.

Paihia: Glass Bottom Boat Tour to the Hole in the Rock

7. Paihia: Glass Bottom Boat Tour to the Hole in the Rock

Explore one of the most popular tourist destinations on New Zealand's North Island the way it's meant to be enjoyed – from the water. See golden beaches, secluded coves, and colorful fish on this boat tour. The tour leaves from the Main Wharf in Paihia and takes you to the Hole in the Rock. If weather conditions allow, your captain will take you right through this natural tunnel. Admire the views in Deep Water Cove and sail through the Okahu Passage. The last stop is at Otehei Bay where the boat's floor is lifted to reveal the blue water below. Feed the fish and admire them through the boat's glass floor.

Highlights of the Bay - Hole in the Rock & Island Stopover

8. Highlights of the Bay - Hole in the Rock & Island Stopover

Travel among the 144 remote islands of New Zealand's renowned Bay of Islands. Enjoy a guided boat tour departing from Russell or Paihia and discover some of the most unique sights of this natural destination. Admire the stunning Hole in the Rock and stop to explore one of the islands. Set sail and surround yourself with the imposing rocky scenery of the Bay of Islands. Keep an eye out for a variety of marine wildlife as you cruise along the coastline. Listen to interesting commentary from your tour guide as they relay the history of the area. Visit the original landing site of Captain James Cook on Roberton Island. Experience Cathedral Cave on Motukokako Island and the famous Hole in the Rock. If weather permits, you'll even sail through it. Up next, take in the awe-striking Cape Brett Peninsula and its lighthouse. Stop at one of the islands along the way. Take a short walk toward a lookout point and help feed the schools of fish in the Voluntary Marine Reserve.

Bay of Islands: Island Hopper Day Sailing Cruise from Paihia

9. Bay of Islands: Island Hopper Day Sailing Cruise from Paihia

Embark on a magical day sailing adventure in the Bay of Islands. Experience the Kiwi barefoot culture for yourself as you step straight from Paihia's beachfront onto a modern catamaran.  Set sail through the bay's 144 islands to a remote island stopover aboard Kopiko, a 33-foot performance catamaran built for speed, comfort, and style. Lend the friendly crew a hand with sailing the boat, or spread out with plenty of deck space where you can grab a bean bag and chalk up some leisure time. Discover a wealth of wildlife from seabirds, stingrays, seals, penguins, to dolphins.  Arrive in a stunning bay, where you'll anchor close to the beach. Step off onto the island and enjoy a delicious packed lunch at a stunning picnic spot of your choice. Enjoy short walking trails, picturesque views, snorkeling, paddleboarding, swimming, or digging your toes into the sand. After your island adventures, set sail and watch the wind fill the sails as you relax on the return trip. 

Kawiti Glow Worm Cave Tour & Opua Kauri Forest Walk

10. Kawiti Glow Worm Cave Tour & Opua Kauri Forest Walk

Your tour will start at the Yacht Club, where your friendly local guide will transport you to the caves in a 12-seater dual air-conditioned minibus, around a 15-minute journey. Your 30 minute guided tour will follow a wooden boardwalk through a 200-meter limestone cave system. Once inside, you will see thousands of glowworms spread across the ceiling surrounded by breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites. You will hear about the history of the caves, which were discovered in the early 17th century by Roku. Hineamaru, famous chieftainess of the Ngati Hine Tribe arrived at Waiomio with her aged father, Torongare and her brothers. As you enjoy the galaxies of glowworms above, your friendly guide will explain the life cycle of the New Zealand Glowworm (Arachnocampa Luminosa) and the intricate webs used to catch their prey. You’ll even get close enough to see the actual body of the glowworm and its stunning blue/green tail light before you make the return bushwalk through a natural corridor of karst rock formations and pristine rainforest.

Other Sightseeing Options in Paihia

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What people are saying about Paihia

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 960 reviews

Amazing boat cruise. The weather was crazy but didn't spoil the trip. Saw loads of Islands and of course the hole in the Rock. The captain was great, super funny. The staff were super friendly, including those at the restaurant, fantastic team work. Overall an amazing experience, thanks heaps.

Brilliant ride even if you know Paihia it still presents a great experience in itself. So even though we know Paihia the experience with the photo shots here and there were absolutely worth it.

Very good guide man, very helpful, talkative, very nice person and very good organiser chloe, help me beyond the limit. Thanks Mrs Bhosale

Great experience seeing plenty of dolphins and going through the hole in the rock. Fantastic.

It was an awesome ride even it is a bit cold. Definitely will recommend to friends.