The Top Places to Visit Near Paihia
On the shores looking out to the glistening waters of the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a must-visit when exploring New Zealand’s Northland region. The coastal town also provides the perfect base for day trips to Northland’s highlights, including historic Russell, the wine region of Kerikeri, the top of the North Island at Cape Reinga, and some of the bay’s 144 islands. So plan your exploration of Northland and the Bay of Islands with this guide to the best day trips from Paihia.
Don’t forget to check out The Complete Guide to the Bay of Islands for more trip-planning advice.
5 Best Day Tours from Paihia
Before we dive into the self-drive day trips from Paihia, here are some day tours from Paihia which are ideal if you don’t have your own vehicle.
- Sailing including Barbecue Lunch with R. Tucker Thompson (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Cape Reinga & 90 Mile Beach Tour with Fullers GreatSights (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Bay of Islands Discovery Tour with the Explore Group (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Bay of Island and Glowworm Caves Tour with Bay of Islands Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Scenic escape and winery lunch with Rogue Pony Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach
The Best Day Trip from Paihia for Luxury Travellers
One of the most popular day tours from Paihia and the Bay of Islands, the trip to the top of the North Island. Highlights on the journey include Kerikeri, the Puketi Kauri Forest, Doubtless Bay and the Cape Reinga Lighthouse. Rental car agreements are unlikely to allow you to drive down Ninety Mile Beach, but bus tours can take you on the sandy highway with sandboarding included.
For more activity recommendations, check out the 6 Incredible Things to Do at Cape Reinga.
The Best Day Trip for Paihia for Budget Travellers
Travel time by boat: 40 minutes one-way
Spend the day on one of the glorious islands of the bay by taking the ferry to Urupukapuka Island. There’s something for just about everyone here, with safe swimming beaches, bird watching, kayak hire, a restaurant and a myriad of hiking trails. Ferries depart from Paihia Wharf with the Explore Group.
Learn more about the walks on Urupukapuka Island on the Department of Conservation website.
The Best Day Trip from Paihia for Foodies
The largest town in the Bay of Islands, Kerikeri is well worth spending the day exploring. What’s more, it’s just a short drive from Paihia. Visit its various wineries, check out the historic Stone Store and surrounding pa sites (historic Maori settlements), admire Rainbow Falls and much more!
For more ideas on what to do, take a look at the 12 Awesome Things to Do in Kerikeri.
The Best Day Trip from Paihia for Families
Travel time by passenger ferry: 15 minutes one-way
Travel time by car + ferry: 30 minutes one-way
Travel time by car: 1h10mins one-way
Cruise on over to Russell on a quick journey from Paihia via the passenger ferry or take the car for a road trip to New Zealand’s first capital. Check out the historical sites by taking a tour with Russell Mini Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or walk up to Flagstaff Hill for excellent views and more history. The little settlement also has beaches, quaint cafes and ice cream parlours.
Check out the 10 Things to Do in Russell for more ways to experience this day trip from Paihia.
The Best Day Trip from Paihia for Couples
Travel time by car: 1 hour one-way
Journey to the main hub of the Northland region, Whangarei, awash with its own attractions including AH Reed Kauri Park, Abbey Caves and Whangarei Falls. Break up your day with a meal along the scenic Town Basin Marina and enjoy some of the more quirkier attractions like Claphams National Clock Museum or the Whangarei Art Museum.
For more inspiration for your day trip, take a look at the 10 Best Things to Do in Whangarei.