Bay of Islands
Located right on the water, Paihia is home to a range of gift and souvenir shops such as The Cabbage Tree and Flying Fish Design Store. When cruise ships are in the Bay, a local art and craft market is set up offering shoppers the opportunity to meet the artists in person and take away something that is hand crafted or unique. Across the bay stroll along Russell’s promenade, complete with art galleries, gift shops and historical charm from yester-year. Don’t miss South Sea Art for local artwork, jewellery and crafts.
Further inland, Kerikeri is a hub of boutique shopping, art galleries and markets; The Old Packhouse Market is held every Saturday, and on Sunday there’s a Farmers' Market - both with produce from local, growers, farmers and artisan’s. Visit the Hot Ginger Gallery for contemporary New Zealand artwork, and soak up the five acres of Subtropical “Gardens of Significance” at Art at Wharepuke. The Stone Store in Kerikeri has operated as a general store since the 1870’s, and is offers an authentic range of trade goods and quirky Kiwi merchandise.
Whangarei & Tutukaka Coast
In the heart of Whangarei - a city with 100 beaches - is an attractive shopping mall dotted with creative copper sculptures that tell the local history. Whangarei’s Tuatara Design Store showcases authentic Maori art, Taonga (traditional treasures), New Zealand art and souvenirs. At the town basin Burning Issues Gallery has an onsite glass blower Keith Grinter, and nearby watch Steve Haywood Master Jeweller create stunning handcrafted designs. The Bach is Northland’s largest Artisan's gallery with 100% locally made arts and crafts. Purchase a handcrafted bone or pounamu (greenstone) piece of jewellery at The Quarry Arts Centre, or enjoy their range of other arts and crafts including wood, pottery, leather and textiles.
The Whangarei Growers Market is held every Saturday, and The Artisan’s Market (which runs from October through to April) is filled to the brim with colourful arts, crafts, music and food. Just over an hour north of Auckland, the Mangawhai Beach & Country Market is held every Sunday (during summer), and the Waipu Saturday Market on the first Saturday of every month.
Further north on the East Coast is The Gallery & Café at Helena Bay, stocked with a large selection of paintings, wooden art, handmade furniture, jewellery and ceramics - definitely worth the detour off the Twin Coast Discovery Highway at Whakapara.
Kauri Coast and Hokianga
Coastal scenery, ancient Kauri forests and sleepy town’s dot this part of Northland, known for its early Maori and European history. Don’t miss visiting the award-winning Kauri Museum in Matakohe; which brings Northland’s Kauri story to life with interactive displays. There’s a great gift shop on-site with Kauri and gum product souvenirs.
In Dargaville, the Woodturners Kauri Gallery & Working Studio creates products harvested from swampland on the Kauri Coast. Step into the world of Louis ‘the giant’ at Labyrinth Woodworks and Maze in the Hokianga, and see friendly peacocks wandering the grounds. Browse Rawene’s galleries, or take a ferry ride to the Village Arts Gallery in Kohukohu.
Getting off the beaten track and travelling to the Far North means being rewarded with a range of unique, one-off art & craft shops. At Gumdiggers Park in Awanui, you’ll find an ancient buried kauri forest that’s between 40,000 and 150,000 years old. Purchase Kauri Amber jewellery and Kauri crafts as a uniquely kiwi souvenir to take home. Also in Awanui is the Ancient Kauri Kingdom, who sell ancient kauri heirloom products and ships them all over the world.
For authentic flax weaving, greenstone, Paua Shell (abalone) and bone jewellery, stop in for a visit at Flaxbush – located in a historic building at the entrance to Mangonui Village.