While visiting the Bay of Islands, you have two main home-base options. Choose the thriving tourist center of Paihia as a jumping-off point for most cruises and outdoor activities—or the quaint, quieter seaside village of Russell. Here’s how to make the most of a 3-day stay.
80 Haruru Falls Road, Waitangi, 0204
Fed by the Waitangi River, Haruru Falls gives way to a lagoon that’s popular with local swimmers and picnickers. Adventurous travelers can hire a kayak downriver, near the Waitangi Bridge, and kayak down to the falls. The cascade has a surprising history as the site of the country’s first river port, and is a regular stop on sightseeing tours around the Bay of Islands.
On the other side of the Haruru Falls Road Bridge is a village of the same name. There are several restaurants, bars, and takeout options here, plus campgrounds, motels, and bed-and-breakfasts for those who want to stay a while.
Things to Know Before You Go
Haruru Falls is a lovely stop for nature lovers and first-time visitors to Northland.
The falls are free to visit, with no park fees or other hidden costs.
Remember to bring your own sunscreen and insect repellent, as there are few shops nearby.
Although parts of the Haruru Falls track consist of boardwalk, the track is not accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Haruru Falls village is about a 10-minute drive from Paihia along Puketona Road (State Highway 11). From there, turn off at Haruru Falls Road; the ample parking lot is on the other side of the bridge.
When to Get There
The falls can be busy at the height of summer, but there’s really no bad time to visit. Try visiting in the early evening with some fish and chips from nearby Haruru Falls Takeaway—the waterfall’s banks are relatively flat and perfect for picnicking before or after a swim.
Walk to the Falls
If you’re staying in the Bay of Islands’ bigger towns such as Paihia or Waitangi, make a day of your visit to the falls by walking there from the Waitangi Treaty Grounds to the east. This easy walk passes through the area’s scenic mangrove forests and sea bird habitats.