Take An Island Escape
A visit to this region should include at least one island, and Urupukapuka – being the largest of all 144 islands – is recommended on our list of things to do in the Bay of Islands. It’s an excellent day trip from Paihia, with secluded safe swimming beaches and a range of moderately-easy walks that include information on the archaeological sites of an early 19th century Maori settlement. You may see the remnants of a pa (fortified village), storage pit and terrace sites; and hear the song of saddleback and robin amongst other New Zealand birds.
If you’re lucky enough to visit the island in the early summer, you’ll be dazzled by the vivid reds of the spectacular pohutukawa forest that fringes the coast of this pest-free island. In summer, there are regular ferry services to Urupukapuka from Paihia, and water-taxi services the rest of the year.
Just around the corner from Waterfront Suites, Haruru Falls is a rather lovely picnic spot that you can drive, walk or kayak to (5km away from the hotel). The Maori word Haruru translates to ‘big noise’ in English, and you’ll see – and hear – why when you visit the horse-shoe shaped falls. There are some lovely short tree-lined walks around the falls.