Paihia is the hub of the Bay of Islands, where bus tours to other areas leave and boat trips
around the bay begin. Paihia has a variety of accommodation types available and is almost wall
to wall motels along both the waterfront and the road entering town. This means that, except in
the height of the season, around Christmas, it is relatively easy to find accommodation.
Te Tii Bay at the north end of Paihia is a popular beach for swimming and fishing. Its shore
is lined with pohutukawa trees, and in late November and December when the trees are in bloom,
the waterfront is a spectacular blaze of red. At the south end of the beach there is a children's
playground that is always popular. North of the beach, to the left of the bridge to Waitangi, is
local sailing ship 'Tui', renovated as the Kelly Tarlton's Shipwreck Museum, where many underwater
finds are displayed.
From Paihia you can take a ferry across to
Russell, or it is a short drive (or thirty minute walk) to
Waitangi where, on 6th February each year,
the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi is commemorated and a carnival held. This is a great day to
visit our most important heritage site. Waitangi Day is one of the rare occasions when the great
waka Ngatokimatawhaorua, is taken out on the water, paddled by nearly a hundred young warriors.
In May/June the annual Matariki (Maori New Year) festival takes place. Here you can participate
in activities with a Maori focus. This is an opportunity to learn about, and meet some of New Zealand's
In May the sound of country music echoes around the bay. This annual Paihia Country Music Festival
has events in Paihia, Russell, Waitangi and Haruru Falls. It is easy to move between venues so that you
do not miss hearing your favourite musicians. In August The Bay of Islands Jazz Festival is held over
a weekend at the same four venues. This is a must attend event for those who love jazz.
In addition to tours and festivals, Paihia offers many outdoor activities; coastal and bush walks,
paragliding, kayaking, sailing, swimming with dolphins, paintballing and mini golf. There are numerous
restaurants, cafes and shops. Wander down to Paihia’s centre, the wharf area, book the tours you
would like to take, or if you enjoy people watching, sit in the sun and observe the comings and
goings both on and off the water.
Featured Paihia Events