The Bay of Islands plays a significant role in New Zealand’s history, and Kerikeri is still home to Mission House—a 2-story home built in 1822 that is New Zealand’s oldest surviving building—and the 1836 Stone Store. There are colonial ruins and plaques dedicated to significant places and events all over town, and Rewa’s Village in the Kerikeri Basin Reserve re-creates and commemorates the Maori kainga (village) that originally occupied the land.
Kerikeri is surrounded by forests and nature reserves, and there are many easy walks that are suitable for all fitness levels. The popular Kerikeri River Track leads to the stunning, 88-foot-tall (27-meter) Rainbow Falls and the more humble Wharepuke Falls. For a summer swimming hole, visit the Fairy Pools near Rainbow Falls or Charlie’s Rock Waterfall. The town and its surrounds are also home to plenty of vineyards and orchards, and a thriving arts and crafts community.
Things to Know Before You Go
Kerikeri is a short drive from a number of historically significant Bay of Islands sites, including the grounds where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840.
Manginangina Scenic Reserve has a wheelchair-accessible path through its giant kauri forests.
Kerikeri is filled with restaurants and eateries, plus winery cafés are scattered around the outskirts of town.
There are more than 50 motels, campgrounds, and bed-and-breakfasts in town.
How to Get There
Kerikeri is about 150 miles (242 kilometers) north of Auckland. If you’re driving, follow State Highway 1 through to Pakaraka and then turn off onto State Highway 10; the drive takes about 3.5 hours. Alternatively, take a bus from Auckland’s SkyCity Terminal or fly from Auckland or Whangarei.
When to Get There
Kerikeri is beautiful and temperate for almost the entire year. Try exploring the town over a weekend in early or late summer, when you can avoid the Christmas crowds and visit the Sunday farmers market. If you’re interested in Kerikeri’s artistic community, stop by during Labour Weekend (late October) and take part in the town’s annual Open Art Studios Trail.
Meet Kiwi in Kerikeri
A short north of Kerikeri is Aroha Island Ecological Centre and Kiwi Reserve. A safe haven for many native bird species, Aroha Island has a number of nature walks that are perfect for bird-watching. There is on-site accommodation, and if you stay overnight you can enjoy a self-guided night walk around the island looking for endangered brown kiwi.