- About Heritage
Things to do
One of the country’s favourite holiday spots, New Zealand’s Bay of Islands is acclaimed worldwide for being an area of exceptional natural beauty and the ideal destination to relax and unwind a world away from the cares of the world. The area boasts 144 subtropical islands, and the surrounding waters are a playground for both boaties and marine life.
Often described as the jewel of the region, the Northland town of Paihia is well placed to take full advantage of all the activities in the Bay of Islands. From here you can have day-trips to explore neighbouring towns of Russell, Opua and Kerikeri, not to mention boat charters or tours out into the Bay of Islands. Sightseeing cruises depart daily from Paihia wharf with leisurely tours of the Hole in the Rock, dolphin swimming excursions and many big game charters.
The stunning sweep of Paihia's Te Ti Bay invites exploration and is easily accessed when staying at Sea Spray Suites. Te Ti Beach is perfect for picnics, swimming, relaxing, fishing, surfing and all other water-based activities. If you have an ocean-front room, you may spot dolphins at play in the bay from your balcony!
At the northern end of the beach is Te Tii Marae – a very special place in New Zealand’s history as this is where Maori chiefs rested while they considered the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.
You can visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds – 'Birthplace of the Nation' – to get an insight into the significance of this area and the founding of New Zealand. The new Museum of Waitangi (opened 2016) provides comprehensive insight into the foundation of New Zealand as a colony as well as an introduction into the Maori culture and history. The excellent interactive exhibits will keep younger and older visitors entertained – set aside 3–4 hours to fully enjoy this historic site.
Paihia town may be small, but it is large in atmosphere and packed with places to eat and things to do. There are waterfront cafes and bars, a small boutique shopping area and plenty of sidewalk cafes, gelato shops, and eateries to keep everyone happy.
Paihia has numerous beautiful walking, hiking and cycling tracks suitable for all ages and fitness levels. The Paihia to Opua Coastal Walk (about three hours one way) is a gentle coastal walk leading visitors around the coastline to the Opua car ferry wharf. The shorter Paihia to Waitangi walk allows for a very leisurely stroll past the Treaty House, the Marae and skirts the Waitangi Golf Club. The picturesque Haruru Falls Track leads walkers up the Waitangi River ending in the stunning Haruru Falls where you will want to take plenty of photographs. You can also access the falls from a car-park nearby, or even paddle up to it in a kayak tour.
Northland’s subtropical climate is perfect for fruit growing – plenty of kiwifruit, citrus fruit and avocados are grown here – and there are numerous vineyards in the area. Ask the hotel manager for recommendations on wine tours to nearby Kerikeri.
In the early summer, the pohutukawa trees – often referred to as New Zealand’s Christmas tree – that line the coastal area will bloom a blazing red – giving an iconic Kiwi holiday backdrop to your stay in Paihia. In the late winter, the flame trees provide a stunning display of scarlet flowers which attract dozens of native tui who love to feed on the nectar.