Russell, Bay of Island, New Zealand

Paihia Hotels in Bay of Islands, New Zealand

The bluest sky on earth after Brazil's Rio de Janeiro can be found in New Zealand's Bay of Islands on the Far North region of North Island, at least according to a 2006 study. If you arrive by car from Auckland three hours south, Paihia is the gateway town to this collection of 144 islands that have become famous as sailing, fishing and dolphin-watching destination since fishing-enthusiast and American author Zane Grey publicized the bay as “The Angler’s Eldorado” in the 1930s.

Finding accommodation and hotels in Paihia

The first Anglican missionaries found the Bay of Islands a good place to start a settlement, hence the name Paihia (from "pai” here, meaning "good" place here). Consequently, the bay and its surrounds became the first European permanent settlement in New Zealand. Today, Paihia is your main jump-off point for maritime adventures to the Bay of Islands.

With different types of accommodation in Bay of Islands New Zealand that can be booked in Paihia, the town can also be your charming base for cruises to the bay and adventures to nearby coastal towns. When deciding where to stay in Paihia, if finding a cheap hotel in Paihia is a concern, there are extremely affordable lodges, backpackers and youth hostels. There are also upper end options like bed and breakfasts, motels, resorts and well-appointed hotels in Paihia for the discerning holidaymaker. Alternative accommodation in Paihia, New Zealand can be found in Waitangi, Russell, Kawakawa, Kerikeri and Opua.

Where to go from your Bay of Islands accommodation New Zealand

Make time for a pre- or post-cruise tour of Paihia and take delight in its pristine beaches that beckon with swimmable waters brimming with colorful marine life. Playing with dolphins is one option if you book your tour with an operator licensed to actively pursue dolphins, or you can watch them from the comfort of a boat, or a safe distance underwater on scuba gear.

You can even book your Bay of Islands accommodation on an overnight cruise. If you are short on time, full day cruises get you to the usual stops, which include the iconic Hole in the Rock, the port town of Opua if you arrive by sea, and the historic township of Russell a quick ferry ride to the northeast from Paihia. Some of the most sumptuous hotels in Bay of Islands can be found in Russell, so if you are in the mood to splurge AUD $2,000 a night, then you need not catch the ferry back to Paihia.

From your Bay of Islands hotels take a cruise out to Piercy Island, more popularly known as the Hole in the Rock, which is exactly what it says: When the waters are calm and the tide is right, boats go through the 60-foot hole!

Five kilometres south of Paihia can be a great base for cruising the bay as well, so if your hotel in Bay of Islands is in Opua, you are also in a strategic place to plan for your cruise and even charter a yacht you can sail yourself. After all, Opua has a bustling marina and an active yacht club.

Just across the narrow channel to the north is the nationally important Treaty Grounds of Waitangi where representatives of the English crown and a number of Maori chiefs signed an agreement in 1840 that eventually gave birth to New Zealand as a country. Be amazed at the intricate Maori carvings on display in a “wharenui” or traditional meeting house. These art pieces represent all the “iwi” or tribes in New Zealand and make an impressive introduction or an appropriate conclusion to your journey to the northlands.