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.
"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..."