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.
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 award winning TV chef Michael Van de Elzen.
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.
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.
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.