Paihia and Waitangi basically form one settlement, which is the hub of the region’s commercial and visitor action. All tours and cruises for the Bay of Islands start here. It’s a short (1.5km/1-mile) walk to Waitangi, where the historic Treaty House is located. The main street is Marsden Road, which runs along the waterfront. Williams Road is a one-way street perpendicular to the coast; many of the shops are here. Russell is a tiny community across the water. The Strand runs along the waterfront. Most of the charter boats in the area are anchored here; access is by ferry. Kerikeri is a 20-minute drive north from Paihia. Once you turn off State Highway 10 onto Kerikeri Road, you’ll find most of the main attractions and eateries. In Doubtless Bay, the little fishing village of Mangonui (82km/51 miles from Paihia) is the core settlement. Coopers Beach, Cable Bay, Taipa, and Tokerau Beach are all within a few minutes of Mangonui. From Cable Bay, the coast swings in a huge arc of fabulous remote beaches all the way up to Karikari Peninsula. Kaitaia is the major town of the Far North, 116km (72 miles) south of Cape Reinga. To the southwest lies the small town of Ahipara at the base of Ninety Mile Beach, which runs all the way up to the Cape.
You’ll find the Bay of Islands i-SITE Visitor Centre at The Wharf, Marsden Road, Paihia (tel. 0800/363-463 in NZ, or 09/402-7345; www.visitfarnorthnz.com). Hours are 8am to 5pm in winter, 8am to 7pm in summer. Get your Kerikeri information here, too. Online, go to www.northlandnz.com, www.paihia.co.nz, www.russellnz.co.nz, or www.kerikeri.co.nz.
The Far North i-SITE Visitor Centre is at Centennial Park, South Road, Kaitaia (tel. 09/408-0879; fax 09/408-2546; www.visitfarnorthnz.com). It’s open daily from 8:30am to 5pm, closed only December 25. For information on Ahipara, Ninety Mile Beach, and Far North activities, see www.ahipara.co.nz or www.topofnz.co.nz.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.