Paihia Holiday Activities for you to explore

There are plenty of free, and reasonably priced, activities available in the Bay of Islands that you can enjoy when staying at the Pearl of the Bay Motel. Te Haumi beach is 200m away and Paihia town only 1.2km, a pleasant walk or very short drive. Waitangi is 5 minutes away by car (small entry fee).

There is so much to see and do here – make sure you book for more than one night. We are happy to advise you on local information and help organise your tours.

The Bay of Islands offers a wide range of activities for every age and interest.

Here are some of the free activities we would suggest during your stay:

  • Waitangi Treaty Grounds (small fee now for Kiwis)
  • Haruru Falls & native bush walkways
  • Explore historic Russell (passenger or car ferry charges to get there only)
  • Kerikeri – Rainbow Falls, Puketi Forest, wine tasting and watching chocolate being made at Makana Connfections…
  • Lots of different beaches and coastal walkways nearby – see below
  • Wander along Paihia waterfront and soak up the views
  • Vintage railway at Kawakawa (small charge to ride the train)
  • Hundertwasser toilets (Kawakawa)
  • Northern cycleway from Kaikohe to Oheawhai (35 mins from Paihia)

There are also plenty of entertaining paid activities in the Bay of Islands which you can treat yourself to including: Bay of Islands Cruises (Hole in the Rock, Swimming with Dolphins, Dolphin Watching, Tall Ship Cruises, Charter Yachts), Cape Reinga & 90 Mile Beach day tours (pick-up from the motel), Maori cultural performancesDeep-sea fishing chartersGolf (Waitangi Golf Course is a 5-minute drive away), Adventure park and mini golf, Paihia shops, cafes and restaurants and Kawiti glow worm caves.

Haruru Falls

Haruru Falls

Just a short drive away (10 minutes) from our motel are the pretty Haruru Falls.

Haruru Falls today is a small residential settlement, about three kilometres inland from its larger neighbour, Paihia. But, in the days of early European settlement, it was the scene of many firsts.

Haruru Falls was New Zealand’s first river port and an aramoana (sea road or ocean path) for the inland Maori tribes and for the early mission boats. HMS Dromedary was one, Karere (meaning messenger) another. Missionaries once saw 60 to 100 canoes pulled up on the mud banks. Maori had a small settlement here where they traded. There were nine kaianga (villages) between Haruru and Waitangi.

Visiting Rainbow Falls Kerikeri

Visiting Rainbow Falls Kerikeri

Only 30 minutes drive away are Rainbow Falls.

You can stroll along the riverbank to the spectacular Rainbow Falls, where the water tumbles into a pool surrounded by native bush. You may hear tui call, and see fantails flitting about while you walk. The path leads to viewing platforms.
This track equates to approximately 533 steps.

A parking and picnicking area is sited on the northern side of the bridge over the Kerikeri River. There are also parking and picnic facilities at the end of the Rainbow Falls Road.

Waipoua Forest and Tane Mahuta

Waipoua Forest and Tane Mahuta

Why not visit Waipoua Forest to see the oldest living tree in New Zealand.
Only 1hr 15 mins easy drive west of our motel.

The forests of Waipoua are the garden of Tane Mahuta. Waipoua, and the adjoining forests of Mataraua and Waima, make up the largest remaining tract of native forest in Northland.

Good walking tracks give easy access to the most spectacular attractions of the forest: the giant trees Tane Mahuta, Te Matua Ngahere and Yakas. A few tramping tracks and routes are also available for those who wish to venture deeper into the forest, especially in the high plateau and ranges.

Puketi Forest

Puketi Forest
Less than 1 hour away is the Puketi Forest.
Puketi Forest is accessed from Waiare Road 1 km. south of Kaeo. The 16 km. gravel road will take you to the top of the ridge where Maninginangina scenic reserve is located. Here there is all-weather access to a truly stunning sight.
Large kauri trees dominate the reserve. This activity is a must for all people interested in New Zealand wildlife.



There are a few beaches close by our Motel, the nearest being Te Haumi beach which is safe for wading into and getting you feet wet. Alternatively you can follow the headland around heading into town and you would reach the secluded Sullivan’s beach. (pictured here)
This tranquil beach is safe for swimming or simply enjoying a stroll along the length of it looking for shells.

Paihia beach is close to the town centre and has plenty of free parking along it. You can rent kayaks and catamarans if you feel adventurous or bikes to cycle around the town.

The next beach along is Ti beach which is lovely and has a great deal of space. Here you can rent Jet Skis or take a ride on a banana boat.
Kayaks can be hired here too.


At Waitangi – Haruru Falls Mangrove Walk 2 hours one way.

From the Treaty Grounds, follow an easy gravel track, which passes over a mangrove boardwalk and then follows the Waitangi River to Haruru Falls. Enjoy the walk where you might be able to view nesting cormorants and enjoy the tranquility.

Paihia – Opua Coastal Walk 2 hours one way

Walk down to Te Haumi beach 200m from our motel. The walkway then continues from the northern side of the bridge over the Te Haumi river. The track then winds its way up and down the slopes of the cliff overlooking the water, over a mangrove boardwalk and onto Opua. Great scenery and plenty of resting places available. This picture was taken when I did the walk.

Paihia Lookout Track 30 mins one way

A pleasant walk through regenerating forest to a lookout over the bay.
Access to the track is via School Road, 700 metres from the centre of Paihia.
Can join Oromahoe Road Traverse (a further 2 hours).

 Oromahoe Road Traverse 2.5 hours one way

The track follows a ridgeline through regenerating hardwood/podocarp forest, linking Oromahoe Road with School Road, near Paihia. Forest and sea views.

Harrison Scenic Reserve Walk 30 mins one way

This walk travels through some of the best coastal forest in the Bay of Islands. Magnificent Kohekohe and Purriri provide the canopy to a shady and pleasant walk. It is accessible via the coastal walkway at Cherry Bay or from Broadview Road, Opua.


Paihia Tours & Cruises

There are plenty of activities to keep you busy in the Bay of Islands including: Bay of Islands Cruises (Hole in the Rock, Swimming with Dolphins, Dolphin Watching, Tall Ship Cruises, Charter Yachts), Cape Reinga & 90 Mile Beach day tours (pick-up from the motel), Maori cultural performances, Deep-sea fishing charters, Golf (Waitangi Golf Course is a 5-minute drive away), Adventure park and mini golf, Paihia shops, cafes and restaurants and Kawiti glow worm caves. For a full range of free activities on offer click here.

Fly buys are now available on all direct accommodation, booked and paid for through Pearl of the Bay Motel.

Fullers - & Explore Great Sights BOIFullers – & Explore Great Sights BOI

 The Bay of Islands is a stunning region consisting of 144 islands, abundant in natural wonder and marine life. Experience it to the fullest with a visit to the awe-inspiring Hole in the Rock, swim with dolphins in their natural environment or journey to the cultural and historic Hokianga. Travel further north and experience the thrill of driving along Ninety Mile Beach, sand-boarding down the giant sand dunes and standing on the windswept tip of New Zealand, while watching the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean collide.

Carino Day sailing and swim with dolphinsCarino Day sailing and swim with dolphins

Carino is a great day out. The only sailing boat licensed to let you swim with the beautiful bottle nose dolphins found daily in the bay of islands, leave from Paihia wharf.