All-Weather and Indoor Activities in the Bay of Islands – Perfect for a Rainy Day or in Winter!
The Bay of Islands might be renowned for its beautiful sunny days, but it does rain occasionally. This is New Zealand, after all. But never fear, for there are many things to do in the Bay of Islands on a rainy day! Just take a look at the rainy day activities we have listed for Paihia, Kerikeri, Russell, Kawakawa and beyond.
Keep out of the rain by visiting the many historical sites of the Bay of Islands, like the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the Stone Store and the Russell Museum. Some tour operators can even show you around areas like Russell without having to get wet! That’s not to say that those who want to thrive in the liquid stuff can’t with opportunities to go scuba diving and watch dolphins. Eating is also a great option when it’s raining, and the Bay of Islands has plenty of opportunities to drink wine and taste chocolate.
If glowworm caves aren’t exciting enough, then there is always the option to check out New Zealand most famous public toilets! Isn’t that just too enticing?! For more inspiration on things to do in the Bay of Islands on a rainy day, check out The Complete Guide to the Bay of Islands. Plus, when the rain has cleared, don’t forget to check out the 14 Best Things to Do in the Bay of Islands.
1. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Mostly being undercover, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is the perfect rainy day activity in the Bay of Islands. Learn about how New Zealand became a nation by visiting the Museum of Waitangi, check out the giant waka (war canoe), watch a cultural performance in the carved meeting house, see a colonial house and more! Disclaimer: you do have to walk short distances outside between the attractions so prepare to make a run for it if it’s raining! Find out more about the Waitangi Treaty Grounds on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook or head over to the 5 Reasons to Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
Location: Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi.
2. Cruise Around the Bay of Islands
There are many cruise options from sailing to dolphin viewing, but even on a rainy day, you can enjoy exploring the islands out on the water. Many vessels have indoor cabins and covered outdoor areas so you can still enjoy the views without getting too wet. See a full comparison of cruises in the 10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands.
Location: Tours from the Paihia Wharf & Russell are available with Explore NZ (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) and Fullers GreatSights (on Klook, Viator and Tripadvisor). Additionally, Albatross V Expeditions offers tours from Russell (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
3. Delve into the Kawiti Glowworm Caves
A cave is an inside activity, right? Keep out of the rain at the Kawiti Glowworm Caves where you can see a display of these fascinating creatures hanging from the cave ceilings. Listen to your Maori guide tell legends of the caves and the life-cycle of the glowworms. Check out more caves in 7 Places to See the Famous Glowworms in New Zealand.
Location: 49 Waiomio Road, Waiomio.
4. Visit the Kemp House and the Stone Store
You’ll know it when you see it. The Stone Store is an unusual-looking building compared to others in New Zealand as a huge stone building. With a gift shop on the ground floor and a museum upstairs, there’s plenty to see in this heritage building. Tours also run to Kemp House next door which is the oldest surviving house in New Zealand. See more activities in the area with the 12 Awesome Things to Do in Kerikeri.
Location: 246 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri.
5. Try Some Chocolate at the Makana Confections Chocolate Factory
Makana Confections in Kerikeri has free chocolate tastings; what’s not to love? Stay out of the rain and watch the chocolatiers working in the boutique chocolate factory behind a glass wall. Treat yourself to a naughty desert in the cafe next door or pick up some chocolatey gifts for the family back home. See more gastronomical experiences like this in the 7 Things to Do in the Bay of Islands for Foodies.
Location: 504 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri.
6. Take a Bus Tour Around Russell
Russell was New Zealand’s first capital and was even dubbed the “Hell Hole of the Pacific”. Learn more about its fascinating history on Russell Mini Tours. For most of the journey, you’ll be inside the bus listening to your guide’s commentary, yet still getting to explore the place. Just hope that the rain dies down by the time you get to Flagstaff Hill, a significant historical site with awesome views of the Bay of Islands. Find out more about Russell Mini Tours on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Russell waterfront.
7. Have a Drink at New Zealand’s Oldest Hotel
The Duke of Marlborough is New Zealand’s first hotel and first licensed pub so it is only fitting to have a drink there. Watch the rain patter against the windows while looking out onto the beach. The interior is decorated with artefacts from Russell’s “Hell Hole” days so there is enough to look at while having a beverage with your travel mates. Discover more activities in the areas in the 10 Best Things to Do in Russell.
Location: 35 The Strand, Russell.
8. Use New Zealand’s Famous Toilets!
Yes, we’re being serious. The Hundertwasser Toilets are the funkiest public toilets you’re ever likely to do your business in. Designed by a local architect legend, the Hundertwasser Toilets are colourful and creative with ceramic tiling. What’s more, you can enjoy them on a rainy day too. Check out more attractions while you’re there, as listed in the 7 Best Things to Do in Kawakawa.
Location: Gillies Street, Kawakawa.
9. Visit the Russell Museum
Check out a number of displays commemorating the early Maori tribes of the area, as well as the whaling days and why Russell was known as the “Hell Hole of the Pacific”. For a small fee, you can check out old artefacts, see colonial photos and check out a whaling boat.
Location: 2 York Street, Russell.
10. Pop into the Pompallier Mission
Join a heritage tour of New Zealand’s oldest industrial building at Pompallier Mission. The building was built in 1842 by a couple of French brothers who used it as a bookbinder, translating religious texts into te reo Maori. See interesting architecture and beautiful gardens on this affordable tour, which is just another one of the fun things to do in the Bay of Islands on a rainy day. Check out more attractions like this in the 10 Best Historical Places in Northland.
Location: 5 The Strand, Russell.
11. Go Winery-Hopping
Kerikeri is a hub for fruit-growers and vineyards (keep that in mind when looking for fruit-picking jobs). With that, there are a few wineries around where you can treat yourself to some tastings and food, all while keeping out of the rain! Discover more ways to keep busy nearby with the 12 Best Things to Do in Kerikeri. There are also wineries worth checking out in Russell, the Omata Estate and Paroa Bay Winery. Or visit them all on a winery-hopping tour with Rogue Pony (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). Plus, check out more winery experiences for your travels in 9 Great Winery Tours in New Zealand.
Location: 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. Omata Estate, 212 Aucks Road, Russell. Paroa Bay Winery – 31 Otamarua Road, Russell.
12. See Epic Waterfalls in the Rain
Arguably, waterfalls look all the more impressive in the rain as powerful cascades tumble off the cliff. You have two very easy waterfalls to find in the Bay of Islands that won’t even have you staying in the rain for too long – just take a rain jacket. In Kerikeri, check out Rainbow Falls. The 27m (88ft) falls are an impressive sight captured from several different perspectives on a 10-minute walk from the Waipapa Road car park. Alternatively, park up nearby Haruru Falls in Paihia for more cascade fun!
Location: Rainbow Falls – Waipapa Road, Kerikeri. Haruru Falls – Haruru Falls Road, Paihia.
13. Go Scuba Diving
Well, if you’re going to get wet anyway, why not scuba dive? The Bay of Islands is thriving with life making it one of the top dive locations in New Zealand. Explore reefs teeming with fish, sea urchins, kelp forests and more! If you’re a qualified diver, you can even check out the wreck of the Canterbury and delve into sea caves. Who knows, you may even spot dolphins along the way! See more premium tours like this in the 8 Luxury Activities in the Bay of Islands.
Location: Paihia Dive, Dive North and Dive Zone Bay of Islands all operate in the Bay of Islands.
14. Indulge in an Extended Lunch or Dinner at the Bay of Islands’ Restaurants
From some of the oldest pubs and restaurants in the country to lavish wineries to classic Kiwi fish and chips, the Bay of Islands food scene is fun and varied. Sample fresh seafood at the Tipsy Oyster Tapas & Bar or try some classic Kiwi-style fish and chips at JFC. Warm yourself up with a hot drink and a sweet treat (it doesn’t have to be ice cream) at Cellini’s Ice Cream & Espresso or Delish Coffee and Ice Cream. For more recommendations, head over to The Foodie Guide to the Bay of Islands.
Location: Oyster Tapas & Bar – 24 Kings Road, Paihia. JFC – 40 Marsden Road, Paihia. Cellini’s Ice Cream & Espresso – Williams Road, Paihia. Delish Coffee and Ice Cream – 4 Cass Street, Russell.
15. Binge-Watch 365 Days, 365 Activities in New Zealand
Get some inspiration for your gap year in New Zealand by binge-watching “New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year” on YouTube! Check out Robin and Laura tackling 365 Activities: 365 Days in New Zealand! Don’t forget to subscribe!
More Things to Do in Paihia, Kerikeri, Russell and the Bay of Islands
That’s it for our list of things to do in the Bay of Islands on a rainy day. For more activity inspiration, check out the following guides: