Welcome to the wide, far and beautiful stretches of the northern end of New Zealand, where you’ll find Paihia nestled amidst the beautiful Bay of Islands. Known as the gateway to the dive sites and golden beaches of the Bay of Islands, Paihia boasts relaxation, exceptional family getaways and delicious cuisine. For our Travel Adviser, John Humphrey, the trip to Paihia recently with wife Sue and family was one to remember!
“Recently Sue and I took our kids and grandkids up to Paihia for a weekend away. Yes it was a mini invasion for sure! As we needed apartment style, self contained, a home away from home feel with lots of room to fit everyone plus secure parking and a short walk into town, the Edgewater Palms Apartments fitted our needs perfectly.
For a larger family - or if you just want to take the grandkids away for a few days, this is a great base to do it from. Just 9 minutes walk from the centre of Paihia, the Beach is directly across the road plus a number of the apartments are well positioned for sea views. The only downside is there was no spa pool, which the kids reminded us of daily! Plus they were also a bit upset to see a dishwasher as they thought this meant one of them had to load it! Fortunately for them this was not the case!
What impressed us, was that after a long drive (arriving in the early evening in Paihia) the restaurant beside the property, Alfresco’s, offered a delivery service to our apartments. The cutlery and plates they came with could be left in our room and it would be collected and returned by the cleaning staff to the restaurant, meaning we didn’t have to lift a finger - which was perfect after a long road trip and organizing 13 people into their rooms! Not only did Alfresco’s have a diverse choice of options for adults, but they also did kids meals and the quality was top notch. Nice and easy - and friendly too.
Being up there for father’s day we booked in for breakfast as a big group which they managed to work for us, whilst still maintaining COVID separation. We had a delicious brekkie which again catered well for kids and adults alike.
If you wanted to be closer to town, but still maintain the quality, atmosphere and resort style surroundings, then another good choice is the Waterfront Apartments.
A property that again has secure parking and a pool, plus the beach is directly across the road and you are just a one-minute walk away from the town. The apartments are styled in a relaxed and contemporary style.
Sue and I have stayed here on a weekend away for just the two of us. We did a ground-floor one-bedroom, so no sea views on this one, but we went during winter and they were running a great special due to the off-season which is a top tip for travelling up north! This was a great little base, and it again had a top quality restaurant right beside it. Green’s Restaurant is very popular with the locals, specialises in Thai and Indian Cuisine and again is top quality. We did dinner here, twice! The rest of Paihia was a bit of a ghost town, in part due to COVID, but also being mid winter – however Green’s was humming and it meant more opportunities for us to easily explore. For now however, this is where everyone had gone! That said, they still came over to us when a couple by the window had left and asked us if we wanted to move for a better outlook - A lovely little touch in a busy environment.
Another good place we found that the kids enjoyed was 35 Degrees South Restaurant. We did a breakfast here and a big hit was the large aquarium inside the restaurant. This kept the kids (and some of the adults!) entertained whilst we waited for the food! Just something a little different. For the summer the adjoining Grey’s restaurant and bar is a great place to have a few drinks with friends – just a lovely setting on the wharf.
Don’t forget of course – you can always pop over to Russell on the Ferry and have a great pub lunch or a few drinks at the historic Duke of Marlborough Hotel. If you have the kids with you, this is a great little outing on the water, even if it is just to head to the dairy for an ice cream and a walk on the beach!