If you want to discover the coves and beaches of the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a good place to start. Cruises of all descriptions leave from the wharf daily year-round.

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Paihia makes an excellent base for exploring the Bay of Islands. It has an extensive choice of accommodation and a good-sized town centre. From the wharf you can arrange a trip to the outer islands, hook into a fishing expedition or catch ferry to Russell.

Top local adventures include cruising to the ‘hole in the rock’ at the tip of Cape Brett, finding dolphins (and maybe swimming with them) and sea kayak tours. Paihia is also just down the road from the historic Treaty House at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, which marks the beginning of New Zealand as a nation. Just west of Paihia is Haruru, where you’ll find an impressive waterfall and a boardwalk.

Functional facts: Approx. population 1780, i-SITE Visitor Centre, wide range of shops and restaurants.