We recently had a visitor from our sister company Taupo Tandem Skydiving – she fell in love with the Bay of Islands after just 36 hours! Read about her whirlwind visit below.
36 Hours in the Bay of Islands
Let me start by saying this. Thirty-six hours in the Bay of Islands is not enough. But when it’s all the time you’ve got, what are the must-see and must-do’s to make the most of this stunning region?
The Bay of Islands is beautiful. Seriously beautiful. One of the best attractions are the islands…all 144 of them! Start your day by taking a stroll along the beautiful beach of the sleepy little town of Paihia. If you go early enough in the morning before the rest of the bay wakes up, you’ll see local men fishing for their evening meal.
The bays biggest town of Kerikeri is just a short drive inland. Along the way, you’ll pass through some of the bays best vineyards, the more ‘bustling’ town of Kerikeri and eventually make your way down to The Stone Store. This is New Zealand’s oldest standing stone building. Take a look inside and you’ll find a quaint little shop selling some of NZ’s favourite memorabilia (including the iconic buzzy bee), then pop next door and grab yourself a legendary ice cream.
Walk it off by taking a beautiful one hour stroll through the forest to Rainbow Falls (Maori name Waianiwaniwa). With a 27 metre drop, they are certainly worth the walk!
There’s something to please everyone’s taste buds in the Bay of Islands. The highlight of the trip was Charlotte’s Kitchen at the Paihia harbour. This stylish little restaurant boasts some seriously amazing atmosphere. We got there just in time for the last glimpse of the stunning unset over the water. The menu has plenty of mouth-watering options but the three of us couldn’t bypass the fish of the day (especially considering how close we were to the sea) and it was incredible. We found room for a coffee-infused crème brulee for dessert which was just as delicious as the first course. Their wine selection is worth checking out, too!
The Bay of Islands has a kind of magic that as soon as touch down at the Kerikeri airport you’ll instantly feel the holiday vibes and be in a relaxed state of mind. But trust me, there is no shortage of exciting activities to do!
Just a short walk from the main hub of Paihia are the must-see Waitangi Treaty Grounds. These lands have huge historical significance to the people of New Zealand. I highly recommend taking the guided tour through the grounds. The tour guide was an absolute highlight of the trip, making you laugh, smile, and appreciate the stories of this special place.
Need a proper adrenaline boost? How about falling from a plane from 20,000 feet? The Kerikeri airport is the home of Skydive Bay of Islands and Northlands highest jump. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by the awesome crew and their little dropzone dog, Jamie. I jumped with Andrew, who made me totally forget about my nerves (until the doors opened!) and really made the whole experience fun. Freefalling for 785 seconds is an unreal experience. People can tell you over and over what it’s like, that it’s not scary, that it’s breathtaking – but you have to go and try it for yourself. There’s a reason it’s on so many bucket lists! It is phenomenal. I promise.
During my short stay, I didn’t get to try many of the other incredible activities like mountain biking, diving, boat cruises and so much more. Don’t worry Bay of Islands, I’ll be back!