A much-loved holiday spot for New Zealanders and international tourists alike - Paihia in the winterless north - is the main gateway to the beautiful marine playground of the Bay of Islands.

Hailed as the ‘Jewel of the Bay of Islands’ the long stretches of sand and calm waters lapping at the shore, just metres away from the little seafaring town, has helped Paihia become globally recognised as one of New Zealand’s best beaches. 

Paihia has also played a significant role in the development of New Zealand, with the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where New Zealand’s founding document was signed, and the birth of our modern nation began, just a short drive or stroll from the bustling town centre. 

Experiencing the best of Paihia

Stretching along the front of the town is Paihia’s main beach. This cute coastal slice of pure New Zealand is a popular and safe place to take a dip, and the perfect beach to enjoy the sun or a bite to eat while watching the hive of activity out on the water.

You can take a walk down the beach to find a more secluded spot away from the crowds, or stay close to the town where you can nip for an ice cream and be back lazing on your beach towel within a few minutes.

At the north end of Paihia is Te Tii Bay, a popular beach with swimmers and those keen to try their hand at fishing.  Te Tii Bay is at its most breathaking when the brilliant red flower of the pohutukawa tree is in full bloom during the months of November and December – the beginning of New Zealand’s summer. 

Te Tii Bays’ fish filled waters offer some of the best fishing in New Zealand, so why not hire a rod and reel and have a go at catching your own fresh fish supper?

Not far from Paihia’s centre are the golden sands of Sullivan’s Beach, a local-secret, thought of by many as one of New Zealand’s best beaches. This secluded beach is only accessible by foot, and best reached at low-tide. Framed by native trees, Sullivan’s Beach is a popular spot with swimmers who bask in its sheltered waters. 

Paihia’s main beach is the perfect launching spot for a kayak or sailing boat, both of which can be easily hired.  Paihia’s wharf is the also the main point to get out onto the glistening waters of the Bay of Islands and discover the impressive 144 small islands just waiting to be explored.

From here you can take a boat trip out onto the Bay of Islands blues waters, past the historic Cape Brett Lighthouse to the iconic Hole in the Rock – an ancient cavern created by nature that is just large enough to allow boats to sail through its centre and offers a thrilling ride.

The spectacular wildlife that has made the Bay of Islands its home also offers a once in a lifetime experience.  A swimming with dolphins cruise takes you out into the waters to get up close and personal with the playful mammals frolicking in the waves.

Across the water from Paihia’s main beach is Russell – the first capital city of New Zealand. This small settlement with an illustrious past is a delight to explore on foot. Stroll along the waterfront and view the beautifully kept colonial buildings, or stop for a refreshment at the Duke of Marlborough, a historic publican house once frequented by whalers that has been in operation since 1827.

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Historic New Zealand 

With a history that has played a pivotal role in the creation of New Zealand, Paihia is one of the best places to explore our rich and diverse culture. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds is where ancient Maori chiefs came to an agreement with the British Crown when they signed Te Tiriti of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document in 1840.  

Paihia is also the perfect place to throw on some shoes and a take a walk on many of its well-designated walking tracks.  One of the most popular is the Haruru Falls walk.  Sheltered by native New Zealand bush, the walk leaves from the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, along the banks of the Waitangi River to the impressive Haruru waterfall. 

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Paihia with MoaTrek 

With over 30-years of small touring experience, here at MoaTrek we know how to seek out New Zealand’s best beaches – allowing you to enjoy the very best of New Zealand on one of our expertly crafted small tours, without the hassle of having to organise your once-in-a-lifetime trip yourself.

MoaTrek visit Paihia on our North Island tours and this historic slice of New Zealand paradise is not to be missed. 

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