Car Rental Kerikeri Airport
Welcome to Kerikeri – named twice for double the fun and fascination, as you’ll soon find out. Kerikeri lies 245-kilometres from Auckland in the splendid region of Northland. A quick 45-minute flight will whisk you away from the big city to a gorgeous little town of laidback adventure and creative spirit. Upon landing at Kerikeri/Bay of Islands Airport, expect lush surrounds, glorious weather, an abundance of natural attractions, with plenty to discover in the local arts and culture; roads lined with fruit orchards and stalls, signs pointing to painters’ studios and potteries, and a sprinkling of boutique vineyards thrown into the mix.
In addition to its relaxed pace and picturesque vistas, the charm and character of Kerikeri will soon win you over. Soak in the flavours of weekend markets with fresh regional fare, al fresco eateries, shopping, restaurants and galleries. Sample handcrafted Kerikeri chocolates, pair with a drop of local limoncello, or winery hop with your designated driver in tow. If you’re after an adrenaline hit, Kerikeri also offers New Zealand’s highest skydive. Jump from a plane at 20,000-feet and parachute over the Bay of Islands, landing safely on the beach.
Stay and play awhile, and with the flexibility and ease of your hire car, you’ll be able to discover a stack of attractions not just in enchanting Kerikeri, but also further afield. Beyond the sweeping scenic views of Kerikeri Inlet, the possibilities of this subtropical oasis open up across the vibrant blue waters. The Bay of Islands area is just on the doorstep, offering a wealth of stunning beaches, dreamy waterfalls and verdant forests, plus 144 islands to explore.
Discover the historic heart of New Zealand with the help of your hire car
While Kerikeri promises a holiday of pleasure and indulgences, it is also steeped in historical and national significance as the first meeting place of New Zealand’s Māori inhabitants and European missionaries. The story goes that the local fighting chief was a rather formidable character when it came to menacing other tribes, but was generous with the missionaries. And so New Zealand’s second mission, Kemp House, was founded in Kerikeri in 1821. This elegant wooden building still stands today and is heritage-protected as New Zealand’s oldest colonial building. The missionaries and Māori lived and worked side by side at Kororipo – the traditional terraced pā (or village fortress) surrounding Kerikeri basin. At the Kororipo Heritage Park, visitors can also discover the Stone Store, built by an ex-convict stonemason, and Rewa’s village – a reconstructed Māori fishing village.
The most pivotal piece of modern Kiwi history can be found nearby at Waitangi, a 20-minute drive from the Kerikeri/Bay of Islands Airport. The momentous Waitangi Treaty Grounds also features a museum, a carved meeting house, and the world’s largest ceremonial war canoe (waka). During summer evenings visitors can enjoy cultural concerts, and food cooked in a pit oven (hāngi).
Travelling around Kerikeri and beyond in your hire car
Kerikeri is blessed with spectacular scenery. The profusion of waterfalls in the area are conveniently linked by walking tracks, with the Rainbow Falls the most wondrous of them all. Marvel at this drop of 27-metres from several viewing platforms. Match this impressive sight with the Kerikeri River Walk that takes in Kororipo nearby. Too easy!
Get closer to nature and commune with actual kiwis at Aroha Island, an eco-sanctuary 12-kilometres away in the Kerikeri Inlet. Do a spot of birdwatching and fishing. Hire a kayak, or use the walking tracks to explore the mangroves and 12-hectares of native forests. Spend the night at the beachside campgrounds, or rent a bush cottage. Aroha is a great place to stroll, picnic, swim and unwind, offering gentle adventure in tranquil surroundings.
If you’re in Kerikeri during the spring, take a stroll through four-hectares of blooms and English beech at Roland’s Wood. A little further out of town, and an amazing experience at any time of year, is the magnificent Puketi Forest. Along with neighbouring Omahuta Forest, Puketi forms the largest remaining haven for the ancient kauri trees, and will captivate you with its breathtaking vistas and unique native wildlife. Take the Nature Trail boardwalk (which has wheelchair access) to visit these giants up close. You can camp, hike and mountain bike here in these very special forests of the Far North.
Your holiday in Kerikeri won’t be complete without a deeper dive into the Bay of Islands. First, head to nearby Paihia, just a few minutes from Waitangi. Choose from an array of cruises and yacht tours to explore the bay to your liking, with paragliding and other water sports also on offer. We recommend you skip over the water for a day trip out to Urupukapuka Island. Leave from Paihia Wharf and soon you’ll be exploring the pristine island beaches, the terrific bird sanctuary, and an archaeologically rich past featuring Māori pā, pits and garden sites. The views are glorious here and the network of walking trails make it a breeze to explore at your leisure. Kerikeri and Northland offer a trove of holiday treasures, just like you’ve been waiting for.