Kerikeri Activities You Can’t Miss
There’s no such thing as being stuck in Kerikeri. Whether you are in the town to take advantage of the picking season work or want to fully explore the Bay of Islands, Kerikeri offers a whole bunch of attractions and activities. So what are the things to do in Kerikeri?
First of all, there’s the history. Evidence of the Maori’s first encounter with European missionaries is still around today in the Stone Store, Kemp House and replications in Rewa’s Village. Then there are the natural beauties like an abundance of accessible waterfalls, sweeping views of the Kerikeri Inlet, and enchanting forests to go for a walk. As a fruit-growing mecca, Kerikeri cannot be left without trying some local wine or even having a free tasting at the local chocolate factory.
1. Visit Rainbow Falls
Probably the easiest (and cheapest) thing to do in Kerikeri is to check out Rainbow Falls. The 27m (88ft) falls are an impressive sight captured from several different perspectives. Stand above the waterfall from the platforms just a short walk from the Waipapa Road car park. You can also walk down to the base of the falls and even scramble behind them if you are feeling adventurous. Match this activity with doing the Kerikeri River Track and visiting the Stone Store (see below). For awesome waterfalls, check out 12 Most Wonderful Waterfalls in New Zealand.
Location: Waipapa Road. If you don’t have transport to get there, check out this private tour to the falls.
2. Walk the Kerikeri River Track (1h30min One Way)
Follow the Kerikeri River through history and awesome natural features. There are two waterfalls to check out, Wharepuke and Rainbow Falls, as well as some old hydro-dams and the historic Kemp House and Stone Store (see below). Walk through native forest and look out for birds along the way.
Location: Start from either the Stone Store on 246 Kerikeri Road or from Rainbow Falls on Waipapa Road
3. Check Out the Stone Store and Kemp House
This building may look a little out of place in New Zealand, but the Stone Store is one of New Zealand’s oldest buildings and stores still running (since 1833!) Today, you can pick up some tasteful gifts from the store and go upstairs to the museum. Next door is New Zealand’s oldest surviving house, Kemp House. You can discover more about this piece of history by taking a tour of the house. Tours depart from the Stone Store.
Location: 246 Kerikeri Road. If you don’t have transport to get there, check out this private tour.
4. Discover Rewa’s Village
See history from the Maori perspective in Te Pa Kainga O Rewa – Rewa’s Village. Set among native forest, this replica pre-European Maori fishing village gives you an insight into what Maori buildings used to look like. Check out museum displays, gardens, a waka (canoe) and some stunning vantage points overlooking the Kerikeri Basin.
Location: 1 Landing Road
5. Go Walking, Kayaking and Kiwi Spotting at Aroha Island
Aroha Island is a bird sanctuary just 12km (7 miles) away from Kerikeri. If you love nature, then you’ll love taking advantage of the walking tracks or kayak hire to explore the mangroves and native bush. Go kiwi spotting on affordable night walks or enjoy the other native birds seen throughout the day. For more places to see kiwi, check out Where to See Kiwi Birds in New Zealand.
Location: 177 Rangitane Road
6. Go for a Stroll in Roland’s Wood
Looking for a stroll in the woods close to Kerikeri? Try Roland’s Wood, four hectares of English Beech with a network of walking trails. Springtime is the best time to take a stroll to see the blooming flowers. This is where the locals come to walk their dogs.
Location: Inlet Road
7. Swim at Charlie’s Rock
If you haven’t seen enough waterfalls in Kerikeri, well here is one more for you. Charlie’s Rock is a popular swimming spot with the locals. Basalt rock formations have made some sweet jumping spots into the pools below.
Location: Off Landing Road near Cherry Park House. Follow a walkway that follows the Croquet Club and along the Waipapa Stream.
8. Check Out Kororipo Pa
More New Zealand history can be found at an easily accessibly pa site around Kerikeri. A pa site was once a fortified Maori village. The Kororipo Pa dates back before 1775 and was once the home of Hongi Hika, a famous fighting chief.
Location: Access is near the Stone Store on 246 Kerikeri Road beside the Pear Tree Restaurant
9. Walk the Akeake Reserve Track
Just a short drive (15km/9 miles) from Kerikeri is the Akeake Reserve Track starting from Opito Bay. Signage at the far end of the bay points out the loop track leading to a small beach and to a pa site, Tareha Point, which offers amazing views.
Location: Opito Bay Road
10. Try Wine and Chocolate
Thanks to Kerikeri’s ideal fruit-growing sub-tropical climate, there is plenty of scope for foodies to get creative. Wineries, chocolate factories, bar and restaurants can be found in and around the town. Try a free chocolate sample and watch the chocolatiers at work at the Makana Chocolate Factory, or go winery-hopping to Marsden Estate, Ake Ake Vineyard, Cottle Hill Winery and Fat Pig Vineyard. Private wine tasting tours are available or travel to the wineries independently. For more wine experiences, check out 7 Things to Do in the Bay of Islands for Foodies.
Location: Makan, 504 Kerikeri Road; Marsden Estate, 56 Wiroa Road; Ake Ake Vineyard, 165 Waimate North Road; Cottle Hill Winery, 28 Cottle Hill Drive, and Fat Pig Vineyard, 177 Puketotara Road in Waipapa.
11. Feel the Adrenaline in a Skydive
Kerikeri is also the home of Skydive Bay of Islands, which gives jumpers the unique opportunity to do a beach landing (if the weather is suitable). The team offer various jumping heights, including 9,000ft, 12,000ft, 16,500ft and New Zealand’s highest skydive at 20,000ft! Experience the thrill of freefalling at around 200km/h (125mph) then parachuting over the 144 islands of the Bay of Islands.
Location: 182 Wiroa Road.
12. Take a Trip to Paihia
To experience some of the water activities of the Bay of Islands, you’ll need to head to the town of Paihia. The neighbouring town to Kerikeri offers an array of cruises, parasailing, yacht tours and more. A good comprehensive tour of the bay is the Hole in the Rock Cruise with Fullers GreatSights. Check out more activities in the 13 Paihia Must-Dos.
Location: 182 Wiroa Road.