6 Must-Do Things in Kerikeri, Bay of Islands

Heading to Kerikeri? What to do on your mind? Kerikeri is located in the Bay of Islands at the top of New Zealand’s North Island and boasts a charming town and world-class beaches and rivers. Kerikeri is a wonderful place to begin to feel for the incredible beauty of this unique area, you will see some stunning views travelling the roads here, and there are so many great beaches, including Opito Bay and Matauri Bay.

 With its incredible beaches, rivers, walks and waterfalls, Kerikeri has a holiday vibe all year round. This is a relaxing vacation spot for families and explorers. It has all the romance you might want for a couples getaway with amazing artisan food producers to check out and some incredible accommodation spots for the ultimate in relaxation.

 If you are looking for fun activities to check out while visiting Kerikeri, you’ve come to the right place. There are plenty of underrated things to see and do in Kerikeri, and in this article, we’ll explore six must-do activities.  



waterfall 2 

The walking track to this waterfall is part of the Te Araroa Trail. This part of the trail merges with the Kerikeri River Track and wends its way down in the direction of the Kerikeri River basin.

The walk to Rainbow Falls is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness – it’s also wheelchair accessible. You can meander your way down, stopping at the three viewing platforms to enjoy the magnificent views.


A stroll along the riverbank takes you to the bottom of the breathtaking Rainbow Falls. You will find an inviting swimming hole, so bring your towel so you can float in the cool water surrounded by the song of native birds perched in the native bush as the falls cascade. Kayakers are also able to access this special spot, and there is space to park and picnic at the end of Rainbow Falls Road.




Charlie’s Rock is another waterfall just three and a half hours drive from Auckland CBD, which offers a secluded beach. This waterfall and swimming hole are centrally located in Kerikeri. However, you will need to work harder to find this magical spot than you may expect. While the first part of the track to get to this lovely spot is relatively easy, the latter part is unsuitable for those who may be challenged by a climb, slippery stones and mud – particularly after heavy rain.

 Charlie Rock swimming hole is good for confident swimmers, and if you are adventurous, you can clamber up on a shelf under the falls and have a real-life mermaid (or merman) moment!

Another great spot for a refreshing dip is Charlie’s Rock, located in the town of Kerikeri. This secluded beach offers crystal-clear waters and beautiful views. There are 3. Explore The Ancient Kauri Forest.



The Historic Stone Store is New Zealand’s oldest stone building; it was designed by Wesleyan missionary John Hobbs and built by an Australian stonemason and ex-convict William Parrott. The store was intended to serve as a storehouse for the harvested wheat from the Te Waimate mission farm. However, the crops failed, and the store was then largely used as a place for local traders to buy and sell Kauri gum.

From the late 1920s, the Kemp family took over the premises and began to use it as a general store serving settlers and Maori in the area. The building is now owned by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and is open for visitors to enjoy; the store displays personal items and furniture originally owned by the Kemp family. There is also a gift shop at this iconic spot where you can shop for frontier-style goods and classic Kiwiana souvenirs. 


The Kerikeri markets have been running every Saturday since 2014, and they include an exceptional gathering of artisans, growers and boutique food producers from the surrounding areas. You can sample kai moana (seafood), world-class wine from local vintners and a dizzying array of produce, local craft and personal services.

 Go for a massage, sample delicious fresh baked goods and enjoy a reviving coffee as you enjoy performances from local musicians. This market is not to be missed, there is always a vibrant crowd enjoying all on offer inside the The Old Packhouse, and you will find the butchery, deli, bakery and cafe here open all week.



If you are wondering what to do in Kerikeri, hop into your Blue Star rental car and take the scenic drive to the Manginangina Kauri Walk. This incredible natural wonder is around twenty minutes from central Kerikeri, and it is a great way to take in the peace of the native forest without having to work too hard.

A beautifully constructed boardwalk winds its way through this tract of Kauri forest; you can take your time – and your camera – as it only takes 15 minutes to get around the circular track through this ancient grove of majestic Kauri. Just remember to always stay on the track and use the equipment provided to clean your shoes as you enter and depart.


Another incredible underrated spot to visit when you are in Kerikeri and deciding what to do is a visit to stunning Matauri Bay. This is the beach where you can view the Mataatua Puhi – a traditional Maori war canoe (waka taua) built and launched in 1990 to commemorate the great Pacific Migration that brought Maori to New Zealand.

This beach is also the place where colonial missionaries made landfall and were greeted by the great Ngapuhi war chief, Hongi Hika. The white sand and rollicking waves are well worth the trek down the hill; this walk boasts incredible views of the Cavalli Islands, named by Cook in 1769.


It’s simple, explore! There is much natural beauty around this charming township and many historical landmarks to visit and view, so make sure you don’t miss out.

Choose an eco-friendly car from Blue Star’s hybrid fleet and hit the road to discover the underrated delights of Kerikeri and the surrounding Bay of Islands region. Book a compact car now or take a group on tour in one of our 8 seater people carriers or 5 seater limousines.

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