Paihia is located on the western coast of New Zealand’s North Island, and a place where you’ll find history in spades. Known as the 'Birthplace of the Nation', the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is where the historic agreement was signed between the indigenous Māori people and the British Crown, leading to New Zealand’s independence. Today, you can visit the site and discover the country’s history and Māori culture through interactive museums, cultural performances, a traditional carving studio and the world’s largest ceremonial canoe.
The horseshoe-shaped Haruru Falls span the Waitangi River and are located about five kilometres from Paihia. You can drive to the scenic spot, or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can kayak right up to the falls or hike along a walkway through mangrove forests. You can also opt for a picturesque walk through the Opua Forest, amidst native kauri trees and colourful birds, up to a lookout where you’ll be rewarded with superb views of the coast and the islands.
Fondly called the ‘Jewel of the Bay of Islands’, Paihia offers easy access to the 144 islands of the natural harbour. Here, you can go snorkelling, scuba diving or swimming with dolphins to explore marine life underwater. If you’d rather stay dry, the golden sands of Paihia Beach are a great spot to soak up the sunshine. You can also go on a cruise through the spectacular Hole in the Rock formation and take in panoramic views of the sea.