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Being the main township of the Bay of Islands means Paihia has a plethora of options when it comes to wining and dining.
Just a few minutes’ walk from Outrigger Motel in Paihia are various options to cater to all tastes and appetites, including 19 restaurants, 14 bars and brasseries and 10 cafes, plus a number of takeaway options.
Not surprisingly, seafood features prominently on most local menu boards, with no shortage of locally caught mussels, scallops, oysters and fresh fish options to choose from.
Alfresco's Restaurant & Bar is a firm favourite among locals and tourists alike and has been run by a local family since 2008. It is open every day from 8am and offers a wonderful breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. It is renowned for its outstanding customer service, which is backed up by its Certificate of Excellence awards by Trip Advisor for the past three years. Be sure to check out their live music on Sunday afternoons.
For a meal right on Paihia's waterfront you should try 35 Degrees South Aquarium Restaurant & Bar. It features an irresistible seafood menu and is the perfect spot to have a glass of wine or award winning toasted espresso coffee and watch boats come and go from Paihia Wharf. Their menus have been designed by Martin Bosley, NZ's most awarded chef. Or dine alfresco on Alongside, and exciting social place out over the water.
When you come to the Bay of Islands you HAVE to visit The Duke of Marlborough in Russell - New Zealand's first capital and The Duke holds New Zealand's liquor licence!
Right on the edge of the wharf is the wonderful Charlotte's Kitchen. Ever so popular and a great story to go with it. Have a cocktail, beer and dine in.
There's even an option if you want to eat on the water itself, with Darryl's Dinner Cruise allowing you to dine in style on board 'Ratanui'. This 2.5 hour cruise will allow you to take in the region's bird life, historical points of interest up Waitangi River to Haruru Falls. As the sun goes down, you can dine on tasty prawns, mussels, breads and dips to start with, followed by a choice of T-bone steak, a rack of lamb or tender locally caught fish.
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A selection of the most stunning and exhilarating scuba diving spots exist in the Bay of Islands, drawing thousands of dive enthusiasts from right around the world.
Paihia is the perfect starting point to feed your scuba diving cravings. It is home to the two most historically-rich ship wrecks in New Zealand - The Rainbow Warrior and the New Zealand frigate HMNZS Canterbury.
The Rainbow Warrior is diving jewel of the North Island. It was Greenpeace's flagship and was bombed and sunk by French saboteurs in 1985 during protests of France's nuclear testing on the Mururoa Atoll. It now sits at a depth of 27m and is dived by hundreds of divers every year.
HMNZS Canterbury rests in Deep Water Cove near Cape Brett. Sitting upright and intact, she makes for an impressive sight in what is a fantastic dive location. Dozens of fish species have made themselves a home aboard the Canterbury.
Reef diving in the Bay of Islands is also hugely popular and is different from anywhere else in the world. Certain dive spots here are volcanic in origin and feature great wall dives, caves and caverns and many crevasses.
Here you'll a wide range of tropical fish and the largest stingrays in the world, with the Short Tail ray measuring up to 3m across and weighing in the region of 300kg.
Reef diving visibility is consistently around 15 - 20m and can extend up to 40m in late summer when the water becomes more blue. During this time, the east winds kick in more, pushing open ocean water onto the coat, which brings in sea turtles and manta rays.
Because of its options for diving, Paihia is the perfect place to learn to dive or even snorkel. There are several local companies who offer scuba diving training, open water and advanced open water diving as well as dive master training.
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Looking for your next holiday destination? Just a three hour drive north of Auckland is Paihia, the gateway to the Bay of Islands - New Zealand's marine adventure playground.
Encompassing 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula, the subtropical micro-region known as the Bay of Islands, is the perfect next holiday destination for beach lovers and water sport enthusiasts.
New Zealand's North Island is blessed with hundreds of kilometres of spectacular coastline. However no stretch of coastline compares provides quite the same tourist appeal as that of the Bay of Islands. There is something for everyone, including swimming, surfing, sea kayaking, recreational diving, daily boat cruises and yacht charters. There is also an abundance of wildlife such as penguins, dolphins, marlin, whales and gannets. Combine all of this with stunning weather and unbeatable scenery, you get what many call a marine paradise.
If you're looking to discover the islands and beaches of the Bay of Islands then Paihia is the perfect place to start, with boat cruises of all descriptions leaving Paihia Wharf daily all year round.
Paihia packs a big punch for a small town, with plenty to do both on and off the water. There are plenty of motels in Paihia or you might like to stay at the local camping ground. From your desired accommodation location, it is just a few minutes' walk to take in a spot of retail therapy or relax at one of many friendly cafes or restaurants.
If you are looking for a land based activity in Paihia then you are almost as spoilt for choice as those on the water. You could do a bush walk or horse trek or you could challenge yourself at Action World, an award winning adventure park that features a range of activities like high wire walks, harness-free rock climbing and the flying trapeze.
For the slightly less adventurous, there is also a 18 hole mini golf challenge set amongst manuka trees, plus a water slide and bbq facilities.
Whatever you decide to do in Paihia, you can be sure that it'll offer a stunning scenic backdrop and temperate conditions.
What our guests say
"I love Paihia and Outrigger Motel The Outrigger is so clean and very comfy and in a very handy location that is so central. The Economical studio is a cute little compact room and all I need. I enjoy..."
Gemma L. December 2016