35 Best Things to Do in Paihia, New Zealand in 2024


35 Best Things to Do in Paihia

Are you planning a trip to Paihia and wondering what unique experiences should you add to your itinerary? Look no further! Paihia, nestled in the stunning Bay of Islands, is a vibrant town offering an array of exciting and unique experiences for every traveler. From thrilling water activities like kayaking amidst the pristine waters to strolls along the charming waterfront, there are countless things to do in Paihia that will capture your heart and leave you with unforgettable memories. This picturesque destination has something for everyone, from adrenaline-pumping adventures to serene cultural explorations.

What to Do in Paihia?

Paihia, often hailed as the jewel of the Bay of Islands, boasts various attractions and activities that cater to all tastes and preferences. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a history buff, Paihia promises to captivate you with its charm and diversity. From exploring the breathtaking Haruru Falls to embarking on a memorable dolphin-watching tour, there’s no shortage of Paihia things to do that will leave you enchanted by the beauty of this coastal gem.

Best Things to do in Paihia



Experience the unique thrill of riding the waves at Paihia’s fantastic surf spots, which are just a fraction of what to do in Paihia. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a novice eager to learn, Paihia’s beaches offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity for catching the perfect wave. Grab your board, hit the surf, and feel the exhilaration of gliding across the azure waters of the Bay of Islands.




For those craving an adrenaline rush and breathtaking aerial views, parasailing in Paihia is an absolute must-do activity. Soar high above the stunning coastline, suspended from a parachute towed by a speedboat. Marvel at the panoramic vistas of the Bay of Islands below as you experience the ultimate thrill of flight.


Explore Raglan Town


Explore the charming town of Raglan to immerse yourself in Paihia’s rich cultural tapestry. Wander through its quaint streets with boutique shops, art galleries, and cafes. One of the things to see in Paihia is discovering hidden gems around every corner, from local artisans’ studios to historical landmarks that offer insight into the city’s fascinating heritage.


Indulge in Local Cuisine


No visit to Paihia is complete without savoring the delectable flavors of its local cuisine. Treat your taste buds to fresh seafood delicacies, including succulent green-lipped mussels and buttery crayfish. Sample traditional Maori dishes infused with indigenous ingredients and spices provide a tantalizing culinary journey reflecting Paihia’s cultural diversity.


Visit the Museum of Waitangi


Delve into Paihia’s rich history and heritage with a visit to the Museum of Waitangi, one of the essential things to do in Paihia New Zealand. Learn about the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, a pivotal moment in New Zealand’s history, and its enduring significance to the country’s identity. Explore interactive exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia displays that offer insights into the cultural exchange between Maori and European settlers.




Paihia boasts a variety of shops and boutiques offering unique souvenirs, locally made crafts, and Maori artwork. Stroll along the waterfront or explore the quaint streets to find the perfect souvenir for your visit. These experiences add to the allure of places to visit in Paihia, enhancing your exploration of this picturesque coastal town.


Walk Along Ngarunui Beach


Ngarunui Beach is a pristine stretch of golden sand just a short distance from Paihia. Stroll along the shore, soak up the sun, or swim in crystal-clear waters. With its picturesque views and tranquil atmosphere, Ngarunui Beach is the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy nature’s beauty.


Explore Raglan’s Street Art


A visit to Raglan’s Street Art is a must for art enthusiasts. Wander through the streets of this charming town and admire the vibrant murals painted by local and international artists. From colorful abstract designs to thought-provoking portraits, Raglan’s Street Art adds a creative touch to the town’s laid-back atmosphere.


Haruru Falls


Just a short drive from Paihia lies Haruru Falls, a breathtaking natural wonder not to be missed. Take a scenic walk along the riverbank and marvel at the cascading waters as they tumble over the rocks. If you’re looking for cheap things to do in Paihia, Haruru Falls offers a budget-friendly option for nature enthusiasts. Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch amidst the serene surroundings, or simply sit back and take in the beauty of this hidden gem.


Local Kauri Walk


Immerse yourself in New Zealand’s native bush with a local Kauri walk. Follow winding trails through ancient forests, where towering Kauri trees stand tall and majestic. Listen to the sounds of native birdsong and breathe in the fresh, earthy scent of the forest as you explore this pristine wilderness.


Visit Cape Reinga


Cape Reinga, located at the northernmost tip of the North Island, is a place of spiritual significance for the Maori. Take a guided tour to learn about the area’s cultural heritage and soak up the awe-inspiring views of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean collide. Remember to visit the iconic lighthouse and watch the mesmerizing sight of the waves crashing against the rugged coastline.


Ngawha Hot Springs


After a day of adventure, soothe your muscles and relax your mind at Ngawha Hot Springs. Nestled amidst native bush, these natural thermal pools offer a rejuvenating experience. Take a dip in the warm waters and feel your worries melt away as you soak up the tranquil surroundings.

Things to Do Around Paihia

Hole in the Rock Cruise


Embark on an unforgettable journey through the stunning Bay of Islands with a Hole in the Rock Cruise, which is just one of the many things to do around Paihia. Sail past towering cliffs and pristine islands and witness the iconic natural wonder—the Hole in the Rock. Watch for dolphins playing in the turquoise waters along the way.


Visit Russell



Step back in time with a visit to Russell, New Zealand’s first capital. Wander through the town’s quaint streets lined with historic buildings, browse art galleries, and soak up the laid-back atmosphere. Visit the Pompallier Mission and Russell Museum to learn about the area’s fascinating history.


Discover Urupukapuka Island


Escape the hustle and bustle of Paihia with a trip to Urupukapuka Island. Hike across rugged landscapes, lounge on secluded beaches, and marvel at panoramic views of the Bay of Islands. With walking tracks suitable for all levels, it’s the perfect spot for a day of exploration and relaxation.


Experience Waitangi Treaty Grounds


Delve into New Zealand’s rich heritage at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the nation’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed in 1840. Explore the beautifully landscaped grounds, visit the historic Treaty House, and witness the powerful cultural performances at the Maori Cultural Experience.


Bay of Islands Cruises


Set sail on a Bay of Islands Cruise and discover the beauty of this maritime playground from the water—cruise past lush islands, secluded coves, and marine reserves teeming with wildlife. Choose from various cruises, including dolphin-watching tours, fishing charters, and sunset sails.




Immerse yourself in the charm of Kerikeri, a historic town just a short drive from Paihia. Explore the vibrant local markets, indulge in delicious artisanal food and wine, and visit Paihia attractions like the Kerikeri Mission Station and Rainbow Falls. Remember to sample some mouthwatering chocolate at the famous Makana Confections.


Puketi Forest


Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Puketi Forest, located just a short drive from Paihia. This ancient forest is home to towering kauri trees, diverse wildlife, and scenic walking trails. Embark on a guided tour to learn about the forest’s rich history and conservation efforts, or opt for a self-guided hike to explore at your own pace. Don’t forget your camera – the lush greenery and serene atmosphere make for fantastic photo opportunities.


Te Waimate Mission Station


Step back at Te Waimate Mission Station, one of New Zealand’s oldest European settlements. Explore the restored Georgian house, chapel, and surrounding gardens as you learn about the area’s early missionary history. Take a guided tour to gain insight into the daily life of the missionaries and Maori inhabitants, or wander the grounds independently and soak in the tranquil ambiance. Be sure to visit the nearby Kerikeri Mission Station for a comprehensive understanding of the region’s colonial heritage.


Makana Confections


Indulge your sweet tooth at Makana Confections, a boutique chocolate factory near Paihia. Watch skilled chocolatiers craft delectable treats by hand, from creamy truffles to crunchy almond clusters. Sample an array of chocolates and confections in the onsite tasting room before selecting your favorites to take home. If you’re feeling creative, join a chocolate-making workshop and learn the art of tempering, molding, and decorating chocolate. Makana Confections is a paradise for chocolate lovers of all ages.


Scuba Dive or Snorkel


Explore the underwater wonders of the Bay of Islands with a scuba diving or snorkeling excursion, just one of the many captivating things to do near Paihia. Dive among colorful reefs, shipwrecks, and marine life as you explore the crystal-clear waters teeming with biodiversity. Spot vibrant fish, graceful stingrays, and perhaps even dolphins or seals. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a novice snorkeler, there are options for every skill level. Join a guided tour led by experienced instructors who will ensure your safety and enjoyment as you uncover the marine treasures beneath the surface.


Excursions on a Sailboat


One of the most thrilling experiences in Paihia is embarking on a sailboat excursion. Feel the wind in your hair as you sail across the pristine waters of the Bay of Islands. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced sailor, various tours are available to suit your preferences. Marvel at the stunning coastline, encounter marine life and bask in the tranquility of the ocean.


Explore Paihia Township


Take a stroll through Paihia Township and soak in its vibrant atmosphere. Explore the quaint shops, cafes, and galleries that line the streets. Sample local delicacies, shop for unique souvenirs, or simply unwind in one of the waterfront parks. Don’t forget to snap photos of the iconic landmarks, such as the historic St. Paul’s Anglican Church and the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.


Excursions to the Vineyard


Wine enthusiasts will delight in the opportunity to visit the nearby vineyards. Join a guided tour and discover the region’s thriving wine industry. Wander through lush vineyards, learn about the winemaking process, and indulge in tastings of award-winning wines. With breathtaking views and delicious vintages, a vineyard excursion promises an unforgettable experience.


Visit the Kawiti Caves


Venture into the mystical depths of the Kawiti Caves and marvel at nature’s wonders. Embark on a guided tour through the underground labyrinth adorned with mesmerizing glowworms. Learn about the caves’ cultural significance to the local Māori people and admire the intricate limestone formations. Visiting the Kawiti Caves will leave a lasting impression with its ethereal beauty and rich history.

Free Things to Do in Paihia

Paihia Beach


Paihia Beach is a must-visit spot for anyone in the area. You can relax on the golden sands, swim in the crystal-clear waters, or simply soak up the sun. Additionally, plenty of other free things to do in Paihia allow visitors to explore the region’s natural beauty without spending a dime. It’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy all Paihia offers.


Haruru Falls


Haruru Falls is another fantastic free attraction in Paihia. These beautiful waterfalls are a sight, just a short drive from the town center. As you stroll along the walking tracks and admire the stunning scenery, take a moment to appreciate the natural availability of this picturesque spot. Don’t forget to bring your camera – you’ll want to capture the beauty of Haruru Falls.


Waitangi Mountain Bike Park


For outdoor enthusiasts, Waitangi Mountain Bike Park is the place to be. There’s something for every skill level, with over 50 kilometers of trails to explore. Whether a beginner or a seasoned pro, you’ll have a blast riding through the lush forest and enjoying the breathtaking views. Plus, it’s one of the fun things to do in Paihia for those seeking adventure in nature.


Paihia Wharf


Paihia Wharf is the heart of the town, and there’s always something happening here. Take a stroll along the pier and soak up the lively atmosphere. You can watch the boats come and go, enjoy delicious fish and chips, or simply sit back and people-watch. It’s a great way to spend a leisurely afternoon in Paihia.


Flagstaff Hill


Flagstaff Hill is historically significant as the site where the British flag was raised in 1840, marking the establishment of British rule in New Zealand. Today, visitors can stroll to the hill’s summit, enjoying panoramic views of the Bay of Islands and reflecting on its rich heritage.


Explore Paihia Township


Wandering through Paihia Township is a delightful way to spend an afternoon. The quaint streets are lined with charming shops, cafes, and galleries. Take your time to browse local artworks, sample delicious treats, and soak up the relaxed coastal atmosphere.


Bay of Islands Farmers Market


Every Sunday morning, the Bay of Islands Farmers Market bursts to life with vibrant colors and tantalizing aromas. Browse stalls brimming with fresh produce, artisanal crafts, and homemade goodies. It’s the perfect opportunity to mingle with locals and taste the region’s finest offerings.


Te Haumi Beach


Te Haumi Beach is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Tucked away from the bustling tourist areas, this secluded stretch of coastline offers tranquility and natural beauty. Spend the day sunbathing, swimming, or simply strolling along the pristine sands.


Cape Brett Track (Partial Walk)


For outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure, the Cape Brett Track offers an exhilarating hiking experience. While the entire trek requires overnight camping, the partial walk to the Cape Brett Lighthouse is free and accessible to day hikers—Marvel at rugged cliffs, lush forests, and breathtaking coastal vistas.

Where to Eat in Paihia

Charlotte’s Kitchen


Charlotte’s Kitchen is a popular waterfront restaurant known for its fresh seafood and relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy stunning views of the bay as you dine on dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients. Whether you’re craving fish and chips or a gourmet seafood platter, Charlotte’s Kitchen has you covered.


Third Wheel Coffee Co.


Start your day with a visit to Third Wheel Coffee Co. This charming cafe serves delicious coffee, freshly baked pastries, and hearty breakfast options. Third Wheel Coffee Co. will satisfy your caffeine cravings whether you prefer a classic flat white or specialty latte.


Zane Grey’s


Look no further than Zane Grey’s for a taste of New Zealand cuisine with a modern twist. Named after the famous author and angler, this restaurant offers a diverse menu featuring local ingredients and innovative flavors. Zane Grey’s has something for every palate, from seafood linguine to venison steaks.


Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack


Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack is the place to be if you’re in the mood for mouthwatering barbecue. Sink your teeth into tender ribs, juicy burgers, and flavorful pulled pork sandwiches. With its casual atmosphere and generous portions, Jimmy Jack’s is a favorite among locals and visitors.


Alfresco’s Restaurant & Bar


For a dining experience that combines excellent food with stunning views, head to Alfresco’s Restaurant & Bar. This restaurant overlooks the water and offers a diverse menu featuring everything from fresh seafood to gourmet pizzas. Pair your meal with a glass of New Zealand wine or a refreshing cocktail for the perfect dining experience.

When is the Best Time to Visit Paihia?

Paihia enjoys a mild climate year-round, making it an ideal destination anytime. However, the best time to visit depends on your preferences. Summer (December to February) is perfect for beach lovers and water activities in Paihia, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 25°C. Spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds, ideal for exploring outdoor attractions. Winter (June to August) brings cooler temperatures but allows for enjoyable experiences, especially for those interested in cultural Paihia activities and scenic walks.

How to Get to Paihia?

Getting to Paihia is easy, and several options are available depending on your destination.

Once you’ve arrived in Paihia, getting around will be easy. There are plenty of taxis, rental cars, and tour operators to help you explore everything this beautiful destination offers.

Explore Paihia Carefree with Travel Insurance

Before embarking on your Paihia adventure, consider purchasing travel insurance to ensure a worry-free experience. Travel insurance can protect you against unexpected events such as flight cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost luggage. Knowing you’re prepared for unforeseen circumstances, you can freely explore Paihia with the proper coverage. Compare different insurance plans to find one that suits your needs and budget, and enjoy your trip to Paihia without any stress or worries.

Final Thoughts

Paihia is a destination that captivates visitors with its natural beauty, rich culture, and diverse activities. Whether relaxing on the beach, exploring historical sites, or embarking on thrilling adventures, Paihia has something for everyone. One of the best things to do in Paihia is cruise through the Bay of Islands, where you can witness stunning landscapes and learn about the area’s fascinating history. From hiking in the lush forests to immersing yourself in Maori culture, every moment spent in Paihia is an opportunity for discovery and exploration. So pack your bags, plan your trip, and get ready to create lasting memories in this enchanting corner of New Zealand.