The event schedule allows plenty of spare time for enjoying the many other attractions in the Bay of Islands. Here’s a few suggestions for things to do, places to see, and some eating out ideas too
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
The birthplace of our nation is just 200m from the race site. The award-winning Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Museum of Waitangi are unquestionably one of New Zealand’s premier attractions.
Waitangi Mountain Bike Park
An incredible asset to the area, a top-grade mountain bike park offering dozens of beautifully groomed trails of all ability levels from beginner to expert. It was built by the local community, and is for the benefit of everyone. If you reckon you’ll have some energy to spare before or after the SUP race, then definitely bring your bikes!
If there’s a decent swell running from somewhere between north and east, then it’s quite possible that some of the nearby breaks will be firing; Waitangi reef, literally just 200m from the race site, or maybe even the offshore monster of Brampton Reef, about 2km away.
Very much a holiday town, Paihia always has plenty going on, right throughout the year. Dolphin boats, trips through the ‘Hole in the Rock’, jump on a ferry across to scenic Russell, etc etc etc. We’re big fans of Zane Greys on the waterfront who have always been very supportive of local paddleboarding events and you don’t get a much better setting for breakfast or dinner!
A short ferry-ride away (or a few km by paddleboard should you be inclined), Russell is undoubtedly one of the coolest little towns in New Zealand and well worth a visit. They’re inordinately proud of the fact that their town was once known as ‘the hellhole of the Pacific’, but it’s quietened down a bit since those days. The Duke of Marlborough on the waterfront is a particularly excellent pub/restaurant well worth a visit.
The Packhouse Market in Kerikeri
505 Kerikeri Road. Every Saturday and Sunday morning, 8am-1.30pm. Without doubt the best market in Northland, and surely one of the best in New Zealand. A fantastic array of local produce, tasty food, arts and crafts, and some great live music too – well worth a visit.
If you’re going to Kerikeri you gotta visit the Makana Chocolate Factory and sample some of their amazing creations; all hand made and using only the freshest natural ingredients.
The Stone Store, Kerikeri
New Zealand’s oldest building is another historic monument well worth a visit – also the homeplace of local paddleboarding club Pear Tree Paddlers, who meet here every Thursday for their weekly paddle and race.