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Posted by Suzi Jones on
If you are heading to Paihia for a few days and like to stomp the feet, you're in luck.
There are several walks and treks in and around Paihia that combined with consistently favourable weather and stunning coastal scenery, make for a wonderful outdoor activity.
The Paihia Viewpoint walk is one of the top 10 great Bay of Islands walks. This short 1.5 hour return walk is close to central Paihia and involves a stroll along a well-maintained track through wetlands, before climbing through regenerated native forest to a lookout point that reaches high over Outrigger Motel and Paihia township. The lookout provides sensational views from Opua out towards Witangi and Paihia, as well as Russell and across the Bay of Islands. Be sure to keep a close look out for native bird life.
There is also the Paihia - Opua Coastal Walkway, which is a relatively gentle 5.8km/3 hour walk that takes offers stunning views of the bay and sea birds. It takes you from the centre of Paihia along the main beach, round the coastline (can be tricky at high tide! You may need to revert to the road for this part) and then, once you cross the river at the far end of the Te Haumi flats, on your left you will find access to a winding path around the headland and on to Opua. Arrange the Tuktuk to pick you up the other end.
The most challenging of walking tracks you can tackle whilst you are holidaying in Paihia is the Cape Brett Walkway. This 33km/8 hour track requires a high degree of fitness and hiking experience and is one of the most spectacular walks in the Bay of Islands and offers some dramatic seaside views.
Cape Brett is located 26km north-east of Paihia. The track features seven distinctive peaks that mark Cape Brett's spine, which are said to represent the seven waka that brought Maori settlers to Aotearoa from Hawaiiki around 700 years ago. The area surrounding the track is rich in early Maori history and the remains of several ancient pa sites are visible at various locations.
The track begins at Oke Bay and takes you through native forest and along dramatic cliffs to Cape Brett Lighthouse. When you look down to the ocean and bays below you might be lucky enough to see dolphins playing in the waves. At Deep Water Cove, you can stop for a swim and a snorkel.
Another full day walking track that's handy to Paihia is the Waitangi to Haruru Falls Track. This 6km/5 hour track departs from the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and heads along the bush-clad banks of the Waitangi River to Haruru Falls. A feature of the walk is the boardwalk section which provides an opportunity to pass through the interior of a mature mangrove forest, an area which is usually inaccessible. The mangrove is a remarkable tree being that it's able to survive in salt water. This particular mangrove is one of about 10 varieties in the world, all of which grow in swamps, mudflats and tidal estuaries. An alternative to walking both ways is to arrange to kayak the river in one direction and walk the other. There is a local kayak hire company on the beach near the Waitangi River bridge that can arrange this for you.
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