The Activities in Kerikeri You Can’t Miss
There’s no such thing as being “stuck” in Kerikeri. Whether you are in the town to fully explore the Bay of Islands or perhaps as a backpacker to take advantage of the picking season work, 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 Māori’s first encounter with European missionaries is still around today in the Stone Store, Kemp House and replications in Te Ahurea. 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. So without further ado, here are some of the best activities, tours and attractions in Kerikeri!
1. Visit Rainbow Falls
Probably the easiest (and cheapest) thing to do in Kerikeri is to check out Rainbow Falls. The 27 m (88 ft) 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 around the country, check out 20 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
Follow the Kerikeri River through history and awesome natural features on the Kerikeri River Track. 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 trail that takes approximately 1 hr 30 mins to complete one 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 Museum 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 trading (since 1833!) Today, you can pick up some tasteful gifts from the store and check out the Stone Store Museum upstairs (entry fees apply). Next door is New Zealand’s oldest surviving house, Kemp House. You can discover more about this piece of history by taking a guided tour of the house, which departs from the Stone Store. See more attractions like this in the 10 Best Historical Places in Northland.
Location: 246 Kerikeri Road. If you don’t have transport to get there, check out this private tour.
4. Discover a Replica Māori Village at Te Ahurea
See Kerikeri and New Zealand’s history from the Māori perspective in Te Ahurea, formerly Rewa’s Village. Set among native forest, this replica pre-European Māori fishing village gives you an insight into what Māori architecture used to look like. Check out museum displays, gardens, a waka (canoe) and some stunning vantage points overlooking the Kerikeri Basin. Find more family-friendly attractions in the 10 Things to Do in the Bay of Islands with Kids.
Location: 1 Landing Road, Kerikeri.
5. 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. Although popular with local dog walkers, visitors can also enjoy the trails, especially in springtime to see the blooming flowers. Need more free attractions in your life? Check out the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Bay of Islands!
Location: Inlet Road, Kerikeri.
6. 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.
7. Check Out Kororipo Pā
More New Zealand history can be found at this easily accessible pā site in Kerikeri. A pā site was once a fortified Maori village, where Kororipo Pā dates back before 1775 and was once the home of Hongi Hika, a famous fighting chief. A 20-minute circular walkway takes you around the site.
Location: Access is near the Stone Store on 246 Kerikeri Road beside the Plough & Feather Restaurant.
8. Walk the Akeake Reserve Track
Just a short drive 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 a pā site, Tareha Point, which offers amazing views. Allow 30-60 minutes to enjoy this return walk.
Location: Opito Bay Road, approximately 15 km (9 mi) east of Kerikeri.
9. Indulge in Wine…
Thanks to Kerikeri’s ideal fruit-growing sub-tropical climate, there is plenty of scope for foodies to get creative. Wineries, chocolate factories, bars and restaurants can be found in and around the town. Go winery-hopping to the Marsden Estate, Sovrano Estate, Fat Pig Vineyard and Kainui Road Vineyard & Brewery. Wine tours are available with Mullarkey Tours or feel free to travel to the wineries independently. For more wine experiences, check out the 10 Best Foodie Experiences in the Bay of Islands.
Location: Marsden Estate – 56 Wiroa Road. Sovrano Estate – 165 Waimate North Road. Fat Pig Vineyard – 177 Puketotara Road, Waipapa. Kainui Road Vineyard & Brewery – 1 Conifer Lane, Waipapa.
10. … And Chocolate!
Try a free chocolate sample and watch the chocolatiers at work at the Makana Chocolate Factory. Chocolates are handmade in their chocolate factory, which has large windows for some interesting viewing from their gift shop. Next door is the Makana Confections Cafe with all sorts of irresistible treats and beverages. Plus, it’s one of the 10 Things to Do in the Bay of Islands on a Rainy Day!
Location: 504 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri.
11. Eat, Shop and Enjoy the Ambience of the Old Packhouse Market
A quintessential Kiwi experience is a weekend market, which Kerikeri’s main mingle is at the Old Packhouse Market every Saturday and Sunday morning. Meet the locals, sample an array of street food and baked goods, and browse an array of local plants, artisanal products, seafood, cheeses and more! If you can’t make it on a weekend, at least the charming Old Packhouse Cafe, Bakery and Deli are open all week long!
Location: 505 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri.
12. 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 9,000, 12,000, 16,500 and New Zealand’s highest skydive at 20,000 ft! Experience the thrill of freefalling at around 200 kph (125 mph) and then parachuting over the 144 islands of the Bay of Islands.
Location: 182 Wiroa Road, Kerikeri.
13. See the Giants of the Forest in the Puketi Forest
Be awed by some of the largest trees in New Zealand on the walking trails of the Puketi Forest. A popular walk that’s suitable for families and wheelchair users is the Manginangina Kauri Walk, a 15-minute boardwalk loop that showcases enormous kauri trees. We also like the Puketi Nature Trail, which is similar but takes an hour to complete. For something longer, try the 4-hour Pirau Ridge Track. What’s more, guided nature tours of the forest and little-known sites are available with Puketi Adventures, offering insightful and unique experiences of this mesmerising forest.
Location: The Manginangina Kauri Walk is approximately 20 km (12 mi) from Kerikeri via Pungaere Road. Yellow and green Department of Conservation (DoC) signs point out other walks in the Puketi Forest.
14. Discover the Historical Te Waimate Mission
Visit New Zealand’s first farm and walk in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, who spent Christmas of 1835 in this English farm and mission station. The Te Waimate Mission house and farm were built to teach British farming techniques and Western ideals to the local Māori. Learn about it all on the archaeological trail around the property. For more attractions like this in the region, check out 10 Best Historical Places in Northland.
Location: 344 Te Ahu Ahu Road, Waimate North, approximately 15 km (9 mi) south of Kerikeri.
15. 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 much more, as listed in the 10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands. Otherwise, check out more activities such as visiting the historical Waitangi Treaty Grounds and discovering amazing bike trails in the 20 Best Things to Do in Paihia.
Location: Paihia, approximately 23.5 km (15 mi) southeast of Kerikeri, via State Highways 10 and 11.
More Things to Do in the Bay of Islands
There are so many things to do in Kerikeri, but if you fancy travelling further afield, then check out our 20 Best Things to Do in the Bay of Islands or The Complete Guide to the Bay of Islands. Alternatively, check out these activities in nearby towns:
That’s it for the best things to do in Kerikeri. Find more activities for your travels in the 50 Best Things to Do on the North Island.