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Ipipirilodge | Activities - Ipipirilodge

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What can you do while you are here?

The Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand makes your holiday really special.

Visit the Northland website https://www.northlandnz.com/

Northland is New Zealand’s birth place: first government, first school, first church, first road and first buildings dating from 1822. The beautiful Bay of Islands is in the very centre of Northland. Here you will find the history of  Kerikeri, Paihia and Russell before exploring further afield though the Far North.

Bay of Islands

Visit the Bay of Islands website: http://bayofislands.co.nz/

  • January full on summer holiday season
  • February – Ocean and Orchard festival {wine and food} – a easy 15 min drive from the lodge
  • July – Russell Birdman (drive to Paihia 30 mins, catch ferry to Russell – one leaves every 20 mins)
  • October – Bay of Islands IT Food and Wine festival at Paihia – a easy 30 min drive from the lodge
  • November – Kerikeri Half Marathon and Street Party weekend.  We can provide courtesy transport to and from the venues (pre arranged prior to event).
  • December 25  – Marsden Cross – Christmas Day service to mark the 200th anniversary of the first church service held in New Zealand, held by Reverend Samuel Marsden at Oihi Bay on 25 December 1814.

Secluded pohutukawa fringed bays, cosmopolitan marinas and anchorages with full chandlery, lively cafes and bars fill the coastal run from Auckland to Northland. For New Zealand boaties, the whole region is a boating and fishing mecca with areas like the Bay of Islands holding iconic status.

 Each year from late December until June, Marlin and other billfish swarm here in their thousands. Yellowfin are taken from December to March, sharks from November to May and yellowtail kingfish all year round. The number of fish and different species are internationally renowned.

And beneath the waters lie many other attractions. Some of the world’s top and most easily accessed dive and snorkelling sites exist in Northland. Spectacular reefs, walls, pinnacles, archways and tunnels provide a unique marine habitat not seen anywhere else in the world.

Magnificent mixtures of subtropical and temperate marine species inhabit the local reefs, with great wreck dives on sunken warships and the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior. The warm waters of Northland make this New Zealand’s natural playground.


Visit the Kerikeri website: http://kerikeri.co.nz/OurTown.cfm

2020 is the 200th anniversary of the first settlement in Kerikeri by Europeans and the start of the modern Kerikeri township.

Kerikeri is known for its orchards and galleries, fruit and art.  Along the roadside orchards sell their seasonal delicious oranges, mandarins, apples, kiwi fruit and avocados.

Follow the art and craft trail and you’ll get to know some of the artisans. Visit the wineries, lunch in one of the many outdoor cafés, indulge in delicious handmade chocolates or locally made macadamia liqueur.

Kerikeri also has excellent sporting facilities including golf with four golf courses within 30 minutes of the lodge, all-weather tennis and yachting.

If you enjoy walking, take your shoes, your swimming costume, a towel and your camera and have a look at the Kerikeri 5 Waterfall walks

Expect a good choice of cafés and restaurants both within easy distance of Ipipiri Lodge where you can get great local homemade fish and chips, burgers, pies, sandwiches and cakes.  In town there is a choice from Indian, Thai, Japanese, middle Eastern, Asian and of course several restaurants with New Zealand and European cuisine.  We would be more than happy to assist you further with recommendations.

On Saturday and/or Sunday you can visit the Old Packhouse market where you can get seasonal fruit, vegetables, food, drink, crafts, arts from the locals.  Well worth a visit and having breakfast or lunch there as it is open until 1.30 pm on both days (no matter the weather!) 

The Bay of Island’s Farmers Market held every Sunday (no matter the weather) 8.30 am – 12.30 pm in the Kerikeri township car park (outside the Post Office, Cobham Road).  

A chance to try and buy local produce (including organic) vegetables, herbs, olive oil, wine, port, avocados, mussel fritters, local fishmonger, butcher and sometimes blueberry ice cream (when in season of course!).

We try to visit either market to buy our vegetables that we don’t produce, and other items eg tea and coffee for the Lodge. We can highly recommend them both as a place worth a visit.  


Kerikeri  was home ground for the fearsome Hongi Hika, a Maori chief who terrorised many tribes throughout the North Island in the early 1800s. Yet he was kind to missionaries allowing Samuel Marsden to establish New Zealand’s second mission station.

The Stone Store was built in 1832-36 as a storehouse for the mission. After the mission’s closure in 1848 it was taken over by the Kemp family and leased by a succession of storekeepers and then traded in kauri gum from the 1850’s but the peak years for the gum trade were the 1890’s and early 1900’s.


The Stone Store was built in 1832-36 as a storehouse for the mission. After the mission’s closure in 1848 it was taken over by the Kemp family and leased by a succession of storekeepers and then traded in kauri gum from the 1850’s but the peak years for the gum trade were the 1890’s and early 1900’s.

A short drive out of Kerikeri is the Rainbow Falls – a magnificent waterfall so close to town, but far enough to think you are in the wild. You can stroll along the river bank for 10 minutes to the spectacular Rainbow Falls, where the water tumbles into a pool surrounded by native bush.

You may hear tui call, and see fantails flitting about while you walk. The path leads to viewing platforms which give you some fantastic views across and down the river.

They did try to generate power here in the early 1950’s even though was successful it was not viable from a business point of view.
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Puketi Forest

The Puketi Forest is an ancient kauri forest located in the heart of Northland and is one of New Zealand’s most precious habitats. The Puketi Forest Trust is working to restore this magnificent kauri forest to its original biodiversity. The road will take you to the top of the ridge where Manginangina scenic reserve is located. Here there is all weather and wheel chair access to a truly stunning sight.

The track winds through a mature stand of kauri, swamp forest and associated vegetation. Interpretive panels assist with the understanding and enjoyment of this special forest ecosystem. Visit www.puketi.org.nz for more info.






Paihia – Jewel of the Bay of Islands

Visit the Paihia website: www.paihia.co.nz 

With shimmering safe waters and superb beaches Paihia is a good place to be based for your Bay of Islands water activities. Paihia is the place of friendly locals, happy cafés and people enjoying life. Whether it is swimming with delightful dolphins, taking in a spot of retail therapy or just lazing under a tree, Paihia is the place for it. 

Maybe you would like to try out parasailing – well worth the views and excitement but prepare to get wet!

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Waitangi Treaty Grounds – Birthplace of New Zealand

Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds website: www.waitangi.net.nz 

Just a short drive from Kerikeri is Waitangi Treaty Grounds, truly one of New Zealand’s most historic sites, being the place where both Maori and European joined in signing the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. The Treaty House is located amongst a vast peaceful estate which includes a fully carved Maori Meeting House, one of the largest Maori War Canoes and a Visitor Centre and Gallery. The estate is a must see for any visitor interested in New Zealand’s history and culture. 

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Russell (Kororareka)

Visit the Russell website: https://russellnz.co.nz/

Long before Captain Cook’s visit in 1769, Russell was an established settlement of various Maori tribes. Its name at that time, Kororareka, reflected a legend that a wounded chief asked for penguin and on tasting the broth said “Ka reka to korora” (translated: ‘How sweet is the penguin’).

From the early 1800s, South Sea whalers found Kororareka ideal as a provisioning port. The town grew in response, gaining a reputation as a lawless and bawdy port, and earning the nickname Hellhole of the Pacific. The image has changed but Russell is still a provisioning base for pleasure craft cruising the Bay of Islands and the South Pacific. One of the surviving witnesses is Russell’s historic restaurant The Gables, built in 1847.

The town continued to expand until the country’s first Capital at Okiato (formerly Old Russell) moved to Auckland. Kororareka and the Bay of Islands began to decline economically as a result. This was hastened by the sacking of the town in 1845 by the forces of Hone Heke and Kawiti, two powerful Maori chiefs.

Following the sacking, Kororareka, now renamed Russell, was gradually rebuilt finding its main source of income in the provisioning and refitting of whaling ships. Later manganese mining, fish canning and coal brought quiet prosperity to the area. From the early 1900s Russell became known as a quiet historic town. Other attractions that brought visitors were the annual regatta and the development of big game fishing, promoted with enthusiasm by the American writer, Zane Grey.

Today tourism, fishing, oyster farming and cottage industries provide much of the employment for its population of 1000 people. A stroll along the historic waterfront down to the Russell Museum (www.russellmuseum.org.nz) and on to Pompallier house (www.historic.org.nz/Pompallier/pompallier_history.html) both worth a visit but leave plenty of time for each.

A final stop at the historic Church of Christ where it ‘starred’ in the Maori wars of 1845 during the defence of Kororareka and the timely reminder of the bullet holes in the back wall. The headstones are also worth having a stop to read from the most famous to the infamous.

Russell can be reached by a short ferry ride from Paihia wharf or by car ferry from Opua wharf: both are recommended trips. Be aware in the summer parking is at a premium in Russell so for the more leisurely option catch the ferry. The ferry leaves Paihia wharf every 20 minutes of the hour.

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Heading North

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Doubtless Bay – Taipa and Coopers Beach

Take in the vista towards Karikari Peninsula. If time allows drive up to Tokerau Beach for a walk or if warm a swim.

Ahipara and Ninety Mile Beach

Starting at Ahipara Bay, Ninety Mile Beach sweeps northward to just south of Cape Maria van Diemen, past the Bluff, Motupia Island and Scott Point.

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From Cape Maria van Dieman it is only a short distance (as the crow flies) to Cape Reinga and the lighthouse. The actual length of Ninety Mile Beach is more like 60 miles (96 km), but visitors need not feel short-changed as the scenery is breath taking and seemingly never-ending.

Maori called it Te Oneroa a Tohe – the long beach of Tohe.

Although the beach is navigable by vehicle it can be treacherous and many cars have bogged down over the years because drivers miscalculated the times of incoming tides; other tragedies have occurred because of reckless speeding or irresponsible behaviour. The main approaches to Ninety Mile beach are at Ahipara and further north – the Waipapakauri ramp.


waipapakauriThe most northerly station in New Zealand was Waipapakauri which had been used since 1941 by aircraft making sea reconnaissance’s over the northern approaches to New Zealand. During 1942 and the first half of 1943 it had been regularly occupied by No. 7 (GR) Squadron.

From June 1943 onwards it was used as an advanced and emergency landing ground for aircraft en route to and from the forward area, for the benefit of which it maintained a servicing section and signals section.

During the war the RNZAF and Army maintained a presence at Waipapakauri and there was often speculation – and fears – of a possible Japanese invasion; there were even rumours of alien lights being spotted out at sea.




Ancient Kauri Kingdom

Visit the Ancient Kauri Kingdom website: www.ancientkauri.co.nz/ to find more info on the process of turning swamp kauri into a stunning piece of art.

New Zealand native kauri trees (Agathis australis) that fell thousands of years ago are known simply as ancient kauri. The trees have been buried and preserved underground in swamps for more than 45,000 years. Ancient kauri wood is carbon dated at more than 45,000 years old. It predates the migration of Neanderthal man and was already buried in swamps more than 25,000 years before the onset of the last Ice Age.

Ancient kauri is the oldest workable wood in the world. Ancient kauri is considered worldwide a valued heirloom connecting us by its beauty and ancient history. ‘It is very grand, very rare, very exotic and very very special.’

The kauri is amongst the largest and oldest growing trees in the world and living kauri trees are protected. At Ancient Kauri Kingdom they only use wood that is sourced from the buried trees. The ancient wood is found in swamps in the north of New Zealand.

Ancient Kauri Kingdom have been pioneers for everything ancient kauri since 1992. They undertake the entire process – extract the logs from Northland swamps, mill, and then manufacture and sell ancient kauri products. The precious ancient kauri heirloom product can be shipped all over the world and they also guarantee their products for age, quality, authenticity and workmanship (NZ made).

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Taupo Bay

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Across the harbour from Mangonui village, at Butler Point, is a whaling museum and historic Captain Butler’s House and there is an interesting Heritage Trail that begins at the old Mangonui Courthouse (with its arts and crafts exhibition) and passes many historic buildings and sites. There are potteries at Fern Flat and Peria and Matthews Vintage Vehicle Collection at Aurere, outside Taipa.

Slightly further afield are the Ancient Kauri Kingdom and Gumdiggers Park, north of Awanui, and there is an interesting local museum in Kaitaia.

Maybe a visit to the Mangonui annual waterfront festival held on a Saturday in autumn.  .

A celebration of all things Far North, from wine and food to music, art and shows of strength with stalls stretching from just north of the Old Oak Boutique Hotel to the wharf. They offer everything from wine and food (including dishes from Thailand, South Africa, Mexico and New Zealand) to bromeliads and apple trees, honey, condiments and garden art.

For all those who need a break from it all, there is massage or a mini-cruise on Mangonui harbour on the Zig Zag Catamaran with a tour of the Butler Point Whaling Museum and 1840 homestead and gardens.

For the more active, there is the chance to flex some muscles in tug-o-war, while on the water there is the paddle board relay race.

Helpful advice and assistance with booking tours and we would be pleased to arrange any excursions such as swimming with the dolphins, skydiving or simply cruising the bay.

Out west: Hokianga Harbour and the Kauri Coast

Only an hour away visit the beautiful Hokianga Habour and the home of ‘Opo’ the dolphin, watch the orcas frolic in the bay in the summer catching stingway for lunch if you are lucky or better still stop for fish ‘n chips at the shop opposite the wharf.

Stop at the look out at the top of the hill above Omapere and be amazed at the sand dunes and the famous Hokianga bar – it has caught a few boats out on their return to harbour. It can be very dangerous to shipping at times!

Continue the drive through the Waipoua forest to see the largest living kauri – Tane Mahuta (King of the forest)