Family Friendly, Must-Do Activities in the Bay of Islands

Getting outdoors, connecting with nature and making the most of learning about NZ’s history is the perfect recipe to make some unforgettable new memories and go on some epic experiences as a family. Here are our Top 10 Activities in the Bay of Islands for families, that cover all ages and interests.
This is a very small selection of the epic activities you can check out whilst you are in the Bay of Islands with your family, but they are ones that we ourselves have experienced and would recommend to any of our family and friends with younger families when they come and visit us in Northland.

1.       Waitangi Mountain Bike Park

The Waitangi Mountain Bike Park is home to around 50km of professionally-built tracks, ranging from complete beginner; cruisy, scenic tracks that take you for tour through the forest, right through to tracks better suited to Advanced riders. The tracks are open year-round, and the Park is great fun in both the sun and the rain. 

Own Bikes:

All Riders with their own bikes are asked to either do a $10 Day Donation on arrival or else Register to Ride for a Year ($50 per adult and $25 per child). The Annual Donation is completed through an App called HivePass

Need to Hire?

Paihia Mountain Bikes are based onsite at the entrance to the Bike Park. They have a range of high-quality Mountain Bikes and E-bikes for both Adults and Kids. Please check out Bike Hire for further information. Bike Hire is available every day, apart from Christmas Day and Waitangi Day

2.       Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Make sure you spare a day during your time in the Bay of Islands to take the kids to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. ! The Family Entry Pass includes not only entry to two very well put together and interactive museums, but also guided tours, cultural performances and carving demonstrations.  Waitangi Treaty Grounds

3.       Hot Chocolate at Third Wheel Coffee Co

This activity is a win-win for both adults and kids. Situated in the heart of Paihia township, this coffee shop are masters at their trade. Their coffees and hot chocolates are top-notch and there is always incredible food in their cabinet. Third Wheel Vending

4.       Swim to Motu Iti

Head to Paihia Beach to find the Pontoon Motu Iti. The pontoon is bought out every Summer and is a classic spot for kids to spend their whole day jumping, bombing and diving into the warm water.

5.       Twin Coast Cycle Trail

The Twin Coast Cycle trail is a Coast to Coast 87km ride from Opua to Horeke, however, however the Opua to Kawakawa section is currently closed. As a family adventure, we recommend either splitting the experience over two days and using a Transport Company to take you and your bikes to/from your accommodation to your starting/finishing point.  Twin Coast Cycle Trail

6.       Trip of Urupukapuka

A short ferry ride from Russell or Paihia, with the crew from Explore, will take you to the Island Paradise of Urupukapuka Island. This island is a recreational reserve, so it is teeming with birdlife, native bush and some wicked walking tracks.  Explore | Otehei Bay

7.      Parasailing

Have you already seen the Bay of Islands by water, why not check out the views a different way, a more exciting way… such as up high behind 1300ft of line. If this sounds like a bit of you and your kids idea of a great time, definitely check out Flying Kiwi Parasail. Flying Kiwi Parasail

8.       Mini Golf in Kerikeri

The 18 hole Mini Golf Course in Kerikeri is an affordable fun outdoor activity for all the family. It is the perfect way to get kids outdoors and away from their devices! The course is fun for all ages, and even the most talented golfers will feel their putting skills are being put to the challenge. Kerikeri Mini Golf

9.       Ngawha Springs

If you find yourself visiting the Bay of Islands in the Winter, when the temperatures are dropping, we think Ngawha Springs is a must-do evening activity. Throughout the centuries, many visitors travelled, from near and far, to soak in the healing properties of these thermal waters. 

10.       Geocaching

A free and always fun activity in any new location or holiday destination is Geocaching, and there are some great ones to be found in Paihia. Geocaching is basically a real-life treasure hunt, that takes you off the beaten tourist trail! 

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