The Activities in Kaikohe You Can’t Miss!
Straddled between the coast of Hokianga and the Bay of Islands, Kaikohe is a small town with a lot of history. The area is the home of the Ngapuhi, New Zealand’s largest iwi (tribe) which were in the middle of the start of the Māori and European history together. This history is marked at the Hone Heke Memorial Park or the Pioneer Village attraction packed with heritage buildings and amazing historical insights. On top of that, Kaikohe has many other amazing attractions, such as the Twin Coast Cycle Trail and the therapeutic Ngawha Springs. Find out what you could be doing in this list of things to do in Kaikohe.
1. Ride or Walk the Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail
Kaikohe marks halfway on the 87 km (54 mi) Twin Coast Cycle Trail. The scenic grade 1-3 cycle trail takes in a wealth of diverse scenery from bush to farmland to coast. Kaikohe is the ideal place to start a day or half-day ride, with bike hire and shuttle services operating from Kaikohe, such as Top Trail, to get you to and from your desired points on the cycle trail.
Location: The entire Twin Coast Cycle Trail starts in Opua and ends in Horeke, passing right through Kaikohe.
2. Unwind in the Ngawha Springs Hot Pools
Based in the centre of a geothermal hotbed and landscaped with Māori carvings and rock gardens, the Ngawha Springs Hot Pools provide a warm and soothing experience. Just take your pick out of one of the 16 small pools of 34-40°C (93-104°F) with varying mineral contents and some with bubbles to leave the skin rejuvenated.
Location: 303 Ngawha Springs Road, Ngawha Spring, approximately 7 km (4 mi) from Kaikohe via State Highway 12.
3. Step Back in Time at Pioneer Village Kaikohe
With 500 years of Maori settlement and one of the earliest European settlements in New Zealand, Kaikohe has a lot of history to unpack. A great place to learn about it all is at the Pioneer Village; 11 heritage buildings giving you an insight into the way the early settlers of New Zealand used to live. The attraction is open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 2 pm.
Location: 1A Recreation Road, Kaikohe.
4. Check Out Hone Heke Memorial Park
One of the most famous historical figures in New Zealand, Hone Heke was the first Māori chief to sign the Treaty of Waitangi before he became a leading opponent of British rule. You can learn the stories of Hone Heke and see Māori carvings at the Hone Heke Memorial Park.
Location: Monument Road, Kaikohe.
5. Watch a Race at the Kaikohe Speedway
Yes, Kaikohe has its very own speedway, often hosting races, burn-out competitions and demolition derbies! Take a look at upcoming events on the Kaikohe Speedway Facebook page.
Location: State Highway 12, just north of Kaikohe.
6. Walk Among Kauri in the Puketi Forest
Kaiikohe is also an excellent base to explore the surrounding kauri forests, such as the majestic 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 30 km (18 mi) north of Kaikohe via Waiare Road. Yellow and green Department of Conservation (DOC) signs point out other walks in the Puketi Forest.
7. Marvel at the Wairere Boulders
Explore this fascinating valley filled with weathered basalt rocks of all shapes and sizes. The Wairere Boulders Nature Park has a number of walks from 40 minutes to 2 hours to explore the large boulders, streams and 24 wooden structures. This place is an epic photo opportunity not to be missed!
Location: 70 McDonnell Road, Horeke, approximately 32 km (20 mi) west of Kaikohe.
8. 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) north of Kaikohe.
9. … And Check Out the Mangungu Mission
Visit the site of the largest Treaty of Waitangi signing on the shores of the Hokianga Harbour at the Mangungu Mission. The Mangungu Mission was built in 1839 and is still furnished with authentic relics from the time, including the very table where more than 70 Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi. Check out more places to discover on the Hokianga Harbour in the 10 Best Things to Do in Opononi & Omapere (Hokianga).
Location: Motukiore Road, Horeke, approximately 35 km (21 mi) west of Kaikohe.
10. Visit Kerikeri
Finally, Kaikohe is only a 25-minute drive from Kerikeri and the gateway to the Bay of Islands. Immerse in its wineries and historical sites like Kemp House and the Stone Store, natural attractions like Rainbow Falls, and try irresistible treats at the Makana Confections chocolate factory and cafe. If you thought that was all, think again! Check out the 15 Best Things to Do in Kerikeri for more inspiration
Location: Kerikeri, approximately 30 km (18 mi) northeast of Kaikohe.
More Things to Do Near Kaikohe
That’s it for our list of things to do in Kaikohe. While you’re in the area, don’t miss the nearby towns:
- 10 Best Things to Do in Kawakawa
- 15 Best Things to Do in Opononi & Omapere
- 15 Best Things to Do in Kerikeri
Finally, plan the rest of your trip around Te Ika-a-Māui with the 51 Best Things to Do on the North Island.