An Auckland to Paihia road trip is a great way to explore the North Island of New Zealand. In just 3 days, it's possible to discover all the things to do in the Bay of Islands and the surrounding area. We set out from Devonport with our sights on Paihia town. Read on for cool places we found on our Auckland to Paihia drive and things to do in Russell, Paihia town and other nearby places in New Zealand's Bay of Islands.
How far is Paihia from Auckland?
Optimistically, Google Maps thinks it's about a 3 hour drive from Auckland to Paihia. The distance between Auckland and Paihia is about 140-155 miles or 225-250 km depending on what part of Auckland City you start from. In reality, the travel time between Paihia and Auckland can be nearly twice that long once you factor in slow and winding roads and all the stops you'll want to make along the way. We left Devonport, North of Auckland, at 10:15 and got to Paihia at 5 pm.
Auckland to Paihia: Coffee in Warkworth
The town of Warkworth is located about an hour north of Devonport and was a good place to stop and stretch our legs on our Auckland to Bay of Islands road trip. We took a walk along the Mahurangi River watching ducks revel in the small rapids. We noticed some thin metal artwork hanging among the trees. We stopped at the Riverview Cafe for a relaxing coffee on the terrace before hopping back into the car and continuing our journey toward the Bay of Islands.
Auckland to Paihia: Mangawhai Heads and the Goldschmidt Track
Paihia Town in the Bay of Islandsthings to do in New Zealand.
We sat down to dinner at CBK - Craft Bar and Kitchen. We talked to one of the boat operators nearby about possibly booking a tour to see dolphins and whales in the Bay of Islands. We were torn because the weather forecast was iffy and rough seas were a possibility. In the end, over a steak sandwich and salt and pepper squid washed down with Doris Plum Cider from Good George and an apple cider from Moa, we decided against taking a boat to the Hole in the Rock. It turns out that was a good decision as you'll discover below.
Take the Ferry to Russell
If you get tired of being wet, stop into Delish Finest Coffee and Ice Cream for a scoop of Doris Plum, a popular local flavor in the Bay of Islands New Zealand.
Lunch at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel is an ideal thing to do in Russell in the rain. Sit on the covered terrace overlooking the Bay of Islands. We enjoyed an orange and quinoa salad and chicken washed down with Brotherhood Crushed Pineapple Cider (very refreshing).
Kerikeri and the Stone Store
After returning from Russell to Paihia, we hopped in the car for a short drive to Kerikeri. Stop in for a sweet treat at Makana Chocolates before continuing to the Stone Store. Built in the 1830s, the Stone Store is New Zealand's oldest stone building that still stands today. Take a short walk on the grounds along the Kerikeri River before embarking on the return drive to Paihia.
Darryl's Dinner Cruise to Haruru Falls in the Bay of Islands
We saw mangroves and plenty of pied shags in the trees before arriving at Haruru Falls itself. Our fellow cruisers were from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and India; about 35 people in total. At full capacity, Darryl's Dinner Cruise can seat at least twice this number. Overall, Darryl's Dinner Cruise is a fun and relaxing thing to do in Paihia in the evening.
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds is definitely a must-see destination in the Bay of Islands New Zealand.
Paihia to Auckland: Whangarei Falls Scenic Reserve
Auckland to Paihia Map
Check out this handy map for details on the sights to see from Auckland to Paihia with a focus on things to do in the Bay of Islands.