Paihia, Bay of Islands had been on my New Zealand bucket list for a long time. I finally visited and I could not be happier I did – it’s stunning! Paihia is definitely a tourist hub, filled with fancy restaurants, helicopter rides, boat tours, and upscale bars, but it’s a destination that even backpackers should make their way to.
Paihia, Bay Of Islands
If you’re visiting Paihia, Bay of Islands on a budget, check out the many campsites available. They usually run about $20 per person, per night. If you have a bit more to spend, there are some amazing spa resorts. If you’re looking for something mid-range, check out airbnb for some cute rooms or studio apartments (sign up to airbnb for a free $45 NZD credit!).
Paihia, Bay of Islands: Take A Boat Tour
We splurged on a Dolphin Discovery boat tour with Explore tours, and it was well worth the $100 NZD price tag. At 8 AM, armed with coffee and snacks, we hopped on the boat and headed out into the bay to spot wild dolphins.
We not only found dolphins, but they did a few little tricks for us, and swam right up to the boat. The tour guide taught us some fun facts about dolphins – did you know that they will live up to 60 years in the wild, but not usually more than 6 months in captivity?? That is why I try to avoid places that have dolphins in captivity (zoos, Sea World, etc).
The boat took us all around the bay to see loads of little islands.
We had such a great day!
Watch the Sunset
Paihia, Bay of Islands is also bustling with cute little bars and restaurants. We had to check one out to watch the sun set over the water. Charlotte’s Kitchen did the trick perfectly!
This view was from Charlotte’s Kitchen, which serves up amazing drinks and food. I tried the New Zealand Pale ale and the American Pale Ale – so drool worthy. We also split a margherita pizza for a little late night snack!
Another not-to-miss attraction in Paihia, Bay of Islands, is Haruru Falls.
And don’t forget to have a walk along the coast line in Paihia.
I’d definitely recommend adding Paihia, Bay of Islands to your New Zealand Bucket List! It’s a magical place to relax for a few days.