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Explore Otehei Bay

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Check out Otehei Bay, a great little escape and one of the most beautiful parts of the Bay of Islands. We just need to grab some time to get there ourselves! I'm a great one for telling everyone else to look after themselves. I think its about I took some of my own advices adn get myself on the Explore NZ ferry service out to Otehei bay !!!  

Otehei Bay is situated on the beautiful Urupukapuka Island and just one of the 144 islands in the Bay of Islands!

Go and escape for the day and relax on pristine beaches, walk the tracks to the other side of Urupukapuka Island and experience the rejuvenation of the native plants and birdlife. Find out about the history at the Island Conservation Centre

Relax in the quiet and swim at safe secluded beaches. Kayak hire is available if you wish to do some exploring around the coastline or just to have fun!

With an impressive five hectare section and cafe on site,Otehei Bay is open dalily through Summer for visitors but also caters for group functions like weddings, birthdays etc.
The unique and versatile island spaces mean groups of friends and families choose their preferred spot for the day OR if you wish to be private, you can do just that too!

Getting there is not a worry. Explore runs a shuttle service daily from December to the end of April.  Check out the timetable here

All of this is easy access from Outrigger Motel. Just 300 mts to the wharf to catch your ferry to Otehei Bay for the day. Let us book it for you!

The Paihia Summer Festival January 2017 NOW!

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New Years Eve Fireworks

Paihia Summer Festival    
7th - 14th Jan

The Biggest Little Circus   
30th December - 7th Jan

 Our Summer Events are great drawcards to bringing everyone to town. You will love it here!
All about our Summer Circus
The Biggest Little Circus will be performing 3 shows per day, this year they are bringing a new act called Dream Garden.

The Biggest Little Circus is an action-packed, high energy explosion of circus street theatre! Including everything from high skilled juggling and aerial acrobatics to a human changing room. You can't miss their leopard print leotards, and you don't want to miss their finale! Fresh from a tour across Canada, this is a show with a whole lot of laughs, kiwi charm and Lycra.


Eight days of free family fun, this year we have some new activities with a movie night, mountain biking and footy skills

Click here to download the schedule.  


The Best Girls Weekend Away Ever!

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Just when you think life is going to burst around you and then finally!  That weekend away with the girls is happening!!! You are brought back to sanity and relaxed mode with lots of talking and laughing life’s worries away and I know the perfect place for the perfect getaway for you and your gals!

Just 3 hours from Auckland or 1 hour from Whangarei, grab your girlfriends or girl- family and just do it! Have a break from the kids, work, hubby or no hubby and have a couple of days in your life to just catch up, revitalise whilst enjoying great female friendship. We owe ourselves and we are the ones responsible for our own wellbeing!  Yes, we are!

Next thing is what to do? What do we love? Food, coffee, good wine, shopping, walking or some sort of physical workout, and good conversation. And, of course being nice surroundings.

Paihia makes a perfect base with numerous fantastic restaurants, cafes and bars that are open 7 days from sunrise until late. With the sea on our doorstep, of course, there is great seafood to be had, the best coffee around, great cocktails and all of course in the most beautiful surroundings.

Arrive Friday night and unwind with a walk along the beach and a cocktail at Alongside Bar & Restaurant catching up on everyone’s life. Enjoy Dinner at Waterfront Café or Charlottes Kitchen both also on the waterfront. Wander through the main street for a late night ice cream or if the gift shops are still open – a nice relaxed time to check them out.


Saturday morning can start with a good stretch out walking along the foreshore up to Bledisloe and enjoy the sun rising over the water.  Breakfast at Wharewaka Café or you can head off to The Old Packhouse Market in Kerikeri where you can grab a great coffee and something delicious to munch on. Cruise around the stalls of locally grown foods and wares whilst enjoying the lovely market atmosphere.  While you are there, visit the Makana Chocolate (because already you are starting to feel relaxed and missing the little critters at home?!).  Get some retail therapy in the township before the shops close at 1 pm and then think about lunch!

Option 1: return to Paihia and catch the ferry to Russell and lunch at the grand old The Duke and enjoy the sunset over the Bay for the afternoon or Option 2:  for the more adventurous go Mountain Biking in the Waitangi forest first. (We'll organize bikes and transport with Paihia Mountain Bike Rentals) and then hit one of the fabulous wineries for the afternoon! That should sum up Saturday for you.

Sunday morning, again arise grab a great coffee and do a coastal walk to the catch the sunrise over the Bay. You can't beat it! Then back to Outrigger Motel, shower and pack and have brunch at Alfresco Café on the way home.

Sound like a perfect weekend? Do it! Get in touch and we’ll organise the accommodation for you.

Interview with Kaye

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Further to our series on what other people think about our favourite place in the world, we have Kaye from K4 Kombucha who with her partner Freddy returned from working off-shore to make PAIHIA their home!


Kaye is a marine biologist and has "coped" all her life with an auto-immune condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Upon becoming pregnant and then the subsequent birth of Kaye and Freddy's adorable little boy, her condition went into turbo charge and suddenly Kaye couldn't find ways to cope anymore plus conventional medicine just didn't work. As a last resort, Kaye took up the AIP (auto-immune protocol) way of eating (something I know about myself) which got her into producing Kombucha, a cultured drink.  A business was then born (after a few hurdles of course) of producing and manufacturing cultured foods. They now have a small factory at their home, employing people and shipping their amazing product all over New Zealand and as they say.... the sky is the limit! Read Kaye's story and about their business K4 Kombucha and enjoy Kaye's tips below for your time in Paihia! 

What do I love about the Bay of Islands?

I love the islands, it's a magical playground out there and there's nothing else like it anywhere in NZ. I tell all our visitors that they MUST get out on the water - Paihia and Russell are lovely, but the islands are incredible! Diving, fishing, playing, swimming, exploring, wildlife, and just marvelling at the beauty around us.

I would recommend Paihia because:

The people of Paihia are friendly, relaxed, and the weather is (mostly) brilliant and warm. Our little town is loved and we're all so proud to look after it and each other. And - it's the gateway to the Bay of Islands!

Top 5 things to do:

Go sailing, go fishing, go diving, explore Urupukapuka Island, and lie down on the grassy beach of beautiful Ti Bay and let the sunshine love your skin for a few minutes of bliss.

Thanks, Kaye and here's my tip: K4 Kombucha is fantastic and my go-to drink! Oh and come to Paihia, that alone is great for your health! 

Twin Coast Cycleway all go!

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The Twin Coast Cycle Way is all open and is proving so popular with all ages. With New Zealand Cycle Ways proving to be so popular with Kiwis and Internationals, I can highly recommend you come and try Northland's Twin Coast Cycle Way with its most beautiful scenery, amazing history and general fun and authentic-ness. True Northland/Bay of Islands living!

The Twin Coast Cycle Trail tells the story of an emerging nation, capturing the history and heritage of Maori and European settlers. 

Now in its complete state, it runs between picturesque Opua in the Bay of Islands and the famously beautiful Hokianga Harbour, catering for cyclists of all ages, abilities and fitness levels. You can pick up the trail at many starting points along the way with shuttle services available to take you and your bike across sections not yet constructed. The smooth-surface gravel trail is wide enough for cyclists to travel side-byside for most of the journey. The route is mainly flat with some gentle climbs and a 1.6km downhill section. When completed, the 84 km trail will join Opua in the Bay of Islands and Horeke on the Hokianga Harbour.

We suggest you visit for 3-7 days and that lets you cover not only the cycle way but Cape Reinga to Cape Brett plus learn about the history of the Nation at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds 

Call the Outrigger Motel to arrange Bike Hirage and pick up also. Just part of the service!

An interview with Grace!

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We’re obsessed with hearing about what other people think about our favourite place in the world PAIHIA!! We hope that you are just as interested as we are and you get inspired by these traveller/locals that want to share their stories! Follow along with this new series where we find out what gets other people buzzing…


Come stay in Paihia

This month we have Grace Jones from Auckland. She is in her final year of studying a Bachelor of Communication, but her passion is TRAVEL. She spent 2 years tripping around the European grounds before she decided it was time to start studying. Although every year she still heads to some exotic destination. She was raised in Paihia, even worked at the local ice-cream shop for 6 years. Paihia is her home and always will be!

What are your reasons for being in Paihia?

I come home to visit my friends and family but 9 times out of 10 the weather in the Bay of Islands will be much much better than Auckland. It's nice to come up here and escape the ‘rat race’ even it is just for a night or two. People over estimate the drive up here from Auckland, but it is actually a really easy 3 hours drive, going through lots of little towns that if I get hungry I can stop to get some food and a coffee.

What do you love about the Bay of Islands?

The weather, the people, the beaches, the community and the Pipi Patch!

Why would you recommend Paihia to a friend?

Well for one, Russell is just a ferry ride away and it is the nation’s capital so it is kind of a must to visit it. But also, it is a town of leisure. It is just one of those places that as soon as you are driving of the final hills and you see the ocean you instantly relax and feel the weight fall off your shoulders.

What are the top 5 thing you would recommend your friends to do once they are in Paihia?

Ohh that’s tough because there are so many things.. I have to say a night out on Kings Rd as when I was growing up that was a huge highlight, its nothing much, but just go in with an open mind and you will have so much fun.

Then I would recommend a drive up to the golf course as I believe it is the best view in the whole entire world!

A walk.. either the Haruru track or the Opua to Paihia track

A trip out on a boat. Any of the trips are really cool and you can see the Bay for all its worth.

And finally, a trip to Russell. It is a very small town but it still has that old village feeling. You can go see the flag pole at the top of the hill, visit Long Beach and then end the day watching the sunset at one of the bars… Perfection!

Just part of the family!

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I get that some people just don't do animals and we respect that in this business totally! Our animals are here and part of our family but they are discreet around the motel space. They don't go in or near our guest rooms. We just don't do that!

We are not animal obsessed - not everything is about them, but they are part of the family and this is their home as it is our home (and we love having you here in our home!)  

But a number of times that guests ask to meet our fur babies is amazing and if it relieves some homesickness for some people, then the animals are doing their job in the motel too! We often hear comments "I'm am missing my dog so much" and "will your cat come and say hello to us?" A lot of guests choose to stay at Outrigger in the Bay of Islands because they saw a photo on our website which makes you a little bit proud...a bit like showing off your children. Oops now I'm sounding like an obsessed person.

But to put some science into it - its a known fact that interaction with pets lowers heart rates reduces stress and releases the feel-good hormones into our bodies. A must for holiday enjoyment and relaxation then!

(Below: animals on the job!!)

So yes our fur babies, Miko dog (she has her own Insta tag #mikodog) and Izzie cat are spoiled and pampered in this household  and a huge part of the Outrigger daily life. (surely I'm not obsessed!?!)

Our team love them as much as we do. The mornings wouldn't be complete if Mary is not greeted at the door with a big welcome dance from Miko followed by her morning cuddle and a talking to from Catherine. The girls are then allowed to start our day! Izzie will come around in the sun upon morning tea time to make sure everyone and has their attention. And then our adult girls come home and spoil them even more!

We do have a star though and her name was Sassy and she was one sassy cat! Gone now to cat heaven but still famous around the world for being the star of the show around here! I love this photo of her with my late Dad (also part of the Outrigger family in his day) who had the softest spot for Sassy. I imagine they are doing a bit talking up there somewhere.

So yes, Outrigger Motel in Paihia is a home away from home. We have family, we have staff that are like family and we have animals that think they are in the lineup of family too. We wouldn't have it any other way!


Waitangi Mountain Bike Park

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The Waitangi Mountain Bike Park is off to a flying start with impressive numbers and a dramatic increase in mountain bikes seen all about town. We are having reports of groups of riders booking out entire accommodation venues for their crew, coming specifically to ride WMBP. Locals are lapping it up too. The number of riders through park each week since opening has varied, but at the peak of the Summer holidays it was over 700 riders per week, so the trails are getting plenty of action.  The middle of March saw a record breaking weekend, with over 350 riders in the Park over the two days! 


WMBP has been getting rave reviews online and feedback on the trails and trail hub have been extremely positive. So it is certainly off to a great start and there is still so much more to come! Look forward to Zone 3 opening before Easter – with another 13 new trails to add to the fun! 

This has been an incredible volunteer effort by the community. Not only raising thousands of dollars to build the dream but the thousands of volunteers hours by individuals and businesses to get the park open and keeping up the improvements. A great asset not only to the whole community but to the region as a whole. And ...... great to see so many more children/adults on bikes around town. Great for everyone! 

Read all about the park here


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Paihia Summer Festival

January 8 @ 8:00 am - January 15 @ 5:00 pm


Jan 8th to January 15th 2017



8 days of fun free events for families to enjoy, for locals and visiting families alike! Awesome fun for the whole family during the long summer holidays at no charge – Full program of events can be found here Summer Festival full program including but not restricted to – Sandcastle competition, Fishing competition, Pirate Treasure Hunts, Classic Games, Beach Dig, Duathalon, mural painting, chalk drawing and more! Just rock up and join in – no need to register just come with a smile and kids bring an adult to supervise!


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Happening NOW!! ..............and so much fun and laughter!

December 31, 2016 @ 7:00 pm – January 9, 2017 @ 7:00 pm – Free!! Bring your picnic blanket and your smile and be entertained!

The Biggest Littlest circus is part of the Paihia Summer Festival of events schedule. An action packed, high energy colourful explosion, of circus street theatre! Featuring high skilled juggling, aerial acrobatics, fire and other death defying fun. With a small cast of three, this really is the Biggest Little Circus show. Fresh from a tour all around New Zealand this is a show that young and old will enjoy with a whole lot of laughs and kiwi charm. You can’t miss their leopard print leotards, and you don’t want to miss their finale! “They create a buzz so vibrant and colourful!”
Makers of Entertainment provide an awesome circus in a small space and are perfect for the summer holidays in Paihia – appealing to the visitors as well as our local community this will be the 2nd time we have had the pleasure to have this circus in town. They will be performing twice a day every day except NYE only 1 show, 2pm and 7pm approximately 1 hour long It is a busking show. At the end we will pass the hat (or backpack as it happens to be) and ask for koha.

Check out the Paihia Summer festival also!

What our guests say

"Talk about service with a smile this is our second time staying here and it just gets better and better absolute lovely place to stay and so welcoming! We were greeted with a nice little card and some..."

Kayla, March 2017

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