Hotels in Kerikeri, New Zealand
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Kerikeri - It’s So Nice They Named It Twice!
In the northernmost district of New Zealand’s North Island lies a town that was the first church mission station in the country, earning it the nickname of being the ‘Cradle of the Nation’. Since then Kerikeri has taken onboard a different slogan to promote itself, a backpacker’s witty review written in a hotel visitor book, ‘It’s so nice they named it twice!’ The history of New Zealand is intertwined with this delightful town, where fruit farms bloom and the natural world presents itself in all its wondrous glory. Despite its popularity, development has not spoiled this place one bit.
Take the Rainbow Falls Walk and Kerikeri River Track
To start off your exploration of Kerikeri, there’s no better way than to take a stroll around the town. Begin by taking the Rainbow Falls Walk, a short ten-minute plod along a path that ends at the magnificent Rainbow Falls, or Waianiwaniwa . This cascading 27-metre waterfall is spectacular, but that’s just the first stop of this tour. Continue onto the Kerikeri River Track and the fun really begins. This well-beaten track hugs the Kerikeri River down to the basin where the town centre lies, meandering for around three and a half kilometres. You’ll wander right through the natural habitat of New Zealand’s national symbol, the kiwi. These flightless birds are hard to spot so keep your eyes peeled! You’ll also pass by many native trees, including the kauri tree and the totara tree. There are a few hotels nearby the beginning of the Rainbow Falls Walk, so it’s a great place to start your adventure in Kerikeri!
Visit the Oldest Buildings in New Zealand
At the end of the Kerikeri River Track are some of the most popular attractions in the town, attractions that also hold the accolade of being some of the oldest buildings in the country, and none are a hotel. This area was the birthplace of the Christian religion in New Zealand, so to start we have Mission House, the home of the first clergyman to settle in the land, Reverend John Butler. It’s the oldest wooden building in New Zealand, built in 1822, and right next door is the oldest stone building, which began construction in 1832. Named the Stone Store, used to store provisions during colonial times, much money has been spent to restore and maintain this historic building. Finally, to the rear of these two buildings is St James Church, the site of which was first used in 1829. Since then the church has been rebuilt, modified and extended, once in 1878 and again in 1963.
Explore the Magnificent Bay of Islands
In addition to its enduring legacy in New Zealand's history, Kerikeri is also a gateway to the spectacular Bay of Islands. This expansive bay of crystal clear azure waters is peppered with just under 150 undeveloped islands, so don't expect to find any luxury hotels out there on the idyllic isles. Instead, the bay is a glorious place for a boat trip, particularly a voyage on a working replica of an 18th-century schooner, nowadays called a tall ship. You’re sure to spot some dolphins jumping through the water below as the entire Bay of Islands area is teeming with marine wildlife. Urupukapuka Island, the largest of all in the Bay of Islands, is well worth a stop for some further exploring. The unspoilt sandy beaches are picture perfect, and provide a wonderful spot for camping if you can give up the comforts of a hotel room in Kerikeri for a night or two!
Activities to Get Your Adrenaline Pumping
Kerikeri and the surrounding area may have a fairly docile appearance to it, but don't be fooled, if you’re seeking thrills you’re in the right place! The nearby Bay of Islands Airport has its own skydiving operation which offers exhilarating jumps from heights of 16,000 feet! Experience a whole minute of freefall, with the patchwork of green islands and blue water rushing up from below you. If you think 16,000 feet is a tad too high, you can also jump from 12,000 or 9,000 feet, but don’t worry too much, you’ll be strapped to a trained professional the whole time. If you'd rather stay closer to the ground then how about booking yourself up a day of big game fishing. Huge marlin and swordfish call the waters around the Bay of Islands home, and many fishing boats leave from the nearby town of Paihia. Just ask at your hotel reception for information on the best fishing charter to choose!
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