Often described as the Cradle Of The Nation, it is the site of the first permanent mission station in the country, and has some of the most historic buildings extant in New Zealand today.
Located in the Winterless North, Kerikeri is a rapidly-expanding centre of sub-tropical and allied horticulture, and retirement homes. It lies at the very western extremity of the Kerikeri Inlet, where fresh water of the Kerikeri River tumbles into the salty Pacific Ocean.
For a time, Kerikeri had the town slogan It's So Nice They Named It Twice which was written in the Visitors' Book at the Kerikeri Youth Hostel by an anonymous backpacker in the early 1980s. With lush vegetation, modern appearance and a progressive community, Kerikeri was judged Top Small Town of New Zealand in 2001.
Regular daily flights from Auckland by Air New Zealand's subsidiary, Eagle Air. The airport is a few kilometres west of the town, located at 35°26'28" South, 173°91'2" East
Kerikeri is a pleasant three-hour drive north of Auckland, via State Highway 1 and the last 12km on State Highway 10.
Kerikeri is an ideal central base for day trips to tourist areas such as Waitangi, Paihia or Russell or a visit to see the mighty kauri trees in the Puketi Forest. Tourist buses call in daily to Kerikeri to uplift day-trippers for the guided tours to Ninety Mile Beach and Cape Reinga. Paihia offers several boating opportunities, including the popular four-hour cruise which takes people up close to the dolphins.
- Mission House, a much visited building, this is the oldest wooden structure in New Zealand. It was built 1822 for the Rev John Butler, NZ's first clergyman. Originally called the Mission House, it was then Kemp House for more than 100 years, but has now reverted to its original name.
- The Stone Store, a former storehouse, is the oldest stone building in New Zealand, construction having begun in 1832. The building has been restored to its original state and is one of the most photographed buildings in the country.
- St James, a picturesque wooden church on the hill above the Stone Store, began life in 1829 as a 38ft by 18ft lath and plaster structure complete with a town clock.
- Rewa's Village, opposite the Stone Store, is a faithful replica kainga (fishing village) which existed when Europeans arrived in New Zealand. Rewa's Village has all the features of a true kainga, including a marae area, chief's whare (house), kauta (cooking shelter), whata (bench where food was placed), tall whata, weapons store, pataka (raised food store), enclosure for the tohunga (a wise person who advised the community on just about everything), rahui (a post marking tapu or out of bounds limits), whare made of bark, waka tiwai (fishing canoe), bird snare, hangi pit (ground oven), genuine historic canoes, family enclosure, rua (storage area ) for kumara (sweet potato) and a paepae haumati (the basic toilet system which was flushed twice daily by the tide) .
- Kororipo Pa stands at the head of the Kerikeri Inlet which was known as Te Waha o te Riri -- the inlet of war -- not long after the missionaries arrived. It was once once Hongi Hika’s fortressed pa, and fishing village.
- Steam Driven Sawmill, not quite perpetual motion, but this mill provides its own fuel and is a great favourite with tourists and steam engine buffs alike. The whole mill is powered by a large steam plant which is fired by waste wood from the trees being milled.
- Walks. There are lovely walks at Kerikeri and several others in the district. The 4km stroll from the Stone Store to Rainbow Falls can be undertaken by most people. It meanders through very photogenic scenery and regenerating native bush. A short track leads from the Stone Store to Kororipo Pa. Another fine walk is from opposite St James Church to the Fairy Pools past Wharepoke Falls on the south bank of the Kerikeri River. The Fairy Pools can also be reached via a track from the Youth Hostel.
- Fairy pools, These delightful pools were gifted to the nation by Caroline Little who was captivated by them in 1928 on her first visit from China. She chose the name, no doubt because this most magical area suggests that if you stay still enough and quiet enough you may see fairies emerge from the surrounding bush to swim in the beautiful pools. See for yourself.
- Rainbow Falls, on the Kerikeri River, so called because the Maori name for them, Waianiwaniwa, means Waters of the Rainbow. You can drive almost to the falls.
- Dawn Chorus. A very rewarding experience. Just before dawn, at Manginangina in the Puketi Forest, thousands of native birds join voices to welcome the day, and there are very friendly birds which come regularly for breakfast. Truly an unforgettable performance.
- Beaches. Although the water at the Stone Store basin is part of the Bay of Islands where overseas yachties tie up regularly, especially in the hurricane season, Kerikeri township does not have a beach. But not too far away there are wonderful swimming beaches, at Matauri Bay which boasts Billion Dollar Views of the Cavalli Islands, Te Ngaere and Tapuaetahi .
- Fishing. The Bay Of Islands has been renowned for its big-game fishing since American author Zane Gray put it on the map in the 1930s. But there are smaller fish in the bay as well, and charter operators are busy all year round.
- Flying. Kerikeri Airport has a very active Bay Of Islands Aero Club and flying schools. Joyrides and charter flights are available, and if you feel like doing something extraordinary, there's always tandem parachute jumping
- Sailing. The Kerikeri Cruising Club at Doves Bay is very active due to the unsurpassed boating waters on Kerikeri's doorstep, up with the very best in the world. The club has modern facilities, including a large marina.
- Swimming. As well as the marvellous nearby beaches, and various places to swim in the Kerikeri River like the Fairy Pools, Kerikeri has a modern swimming pool with diving facilities. Sited at the Kerikeri High School, it is a community pool.
- Golf. One kilometre from the town centre, the Kerikeri Golf Club has one of the best all-weather championship courses in New Zealand. Out towards Matauri Bay is sited the Kauri Cliffs Golf Course which has been included in the world’s top 10 courses by several golfing magazines.
- Gardens. Wharepuke Subtropical Garden is Northlands "Garden of Regional Significance". Located 1km from Kerikeri it showcases unusual plants from around the world. Guided or self guided tours are offered over the 5 acres of established garden..
- Art and Craft Trail. There are dozens of arts and crafts enterprises in the Kerikeri area and the Art and Craft Trail has become well known to tourists. This involves a visit to about 20 pottery/painting/crafts outlets in the area, and the reputation of the quality of the art available has spread far and wide.
- Enz of the Earth . 127 Kerikeri Road, halfway between the town centre and the Stone Store. (Also in Paihia.) Exotic gifts from around the world including: Furniture, Jewellery, Womenswear. Has a inner garden reminiscent of the East, featuring new Bromeliads.
- Cocoon Clothing.
Located next to the Fishbone cafe opposite ASB on Kerikeri's mainstreet. Cocoon where you can begin your own metamorphosis of style. This womens frock shop stocks both locally made and imported womenswear. Cocoon has a price range suitable for every traveller and sizes for all. A classy new improvement to Kerikeri main street, a destination shop that some people travel distance to Kerikeri for a shopping trip to Cocoon.
A wide variety of food styles are available at Kerikeri, including at the Kerikeri RSA, Dun Huang Chinese Restaurant, Rock Salt Bar and Subway (all in Cobham Road); Redwoods Restaurant and Orange Centre Cafe (all State Highway 10); Marsden Vineyard Restaurant (near airport): Calypso Takeaways, Adam and Eve Cafe, Cafe Blue, Fishbone Cafe, Black Olive Pizzas, Curry King Restaurant, Santeez Cafe and Bar, Zest Cafe and McDonalds (all Kerikeri Road); Cathay Cinema Restaurant (Cobham Road); Cafe Cilantro (Village Mall); Cafe Jerusalem (Cobblestone Mall); Homestead Restaurant and Posh Nosh Cafe (both Homestead Road) and Makai Restaurant (Landing Road). Neon Cafe is superb too! (opposite Woolworths
For a variety of superb taste sensations, visitors can gorge themselves at the Makana chocolate factory (Kerikeri Road), or the Mahoe cheese factory (Oramahoe). The Farmers Market -- from gate to plate-- is held in the town each Sunday morning where stalls offer a wide variety of fresh produce, baking etc, some at bargain prices.
Visitors can relax for a drink with their friends at the Kerikeri RSA, Citrus Bar or Homestead Hotel, or at the cafes and restaurants which have bars or are BYOs. The Cottle Hill Winery (Cottle Hill Drive) and Marsden Winery (near airport) offer local wines that are earning a fine reputation for themselves with travellers and locals alike.
- The RSA in Cobham Road also hosts The Kerikeri Bridge Club. It has modern bar facilities and dining room for the more than 600 members, and welcomes visitors to the town. Lions, Rotarians and Business and Professional Women hold their meetings at the club.
Countless thousands of backpackers visit Kerikeri every year. Kerikeri has a surprisingly large static population of backpackers, and no wonder, because the facilities for them are first class without a corresponding tariff. The major camper/backpacker destinations in Kerikeri are Aranga Holiday Park, Gibby’s Place and the Youth Hostel (all right in town), Hone Heke Lodge (near the schools), Hideaway Lodge (near airport) and Pagoda Lodge in Pa Road.
A very wide range of accommodation is available, including Heron Hill Hospitality, Aratika Lodge, Darcy Lodge, Donna’s White House, Kerikeri Farm Hostel, Kerikeri Lodge, Woodlands, Villa Maria, Palm Grove Motel, Abilene Motel, Kerikeri Court Motel, Kauri Park Motel, Kerigold Chalets, Homestead Motels, Ora Ora Resort, Kemp Lodge, Orchard Motel and Kingfisher Retreat.
- Ragdoll Cottage 2361 State Highway 10 09 4078971 http://www.ragdollcottage.co.nz mid day 10AM From $90 Holiday accommodation, two bedrooms. Self catering. Clean, quiet and very comfortable. Outdoor BBQ and luxury spa pool. Linen supplied. Well set up.
- Kerikeri Farm Hostel 1574 Springbank Rd (SH 10) (09) 4076989 http://kkfarmhostel.blogspot.com/ Camping $17, dorms $22, private rooms from $54 Cosy hostel with loads of character. Set in a lovely country estate, surrounded by an organic orange and mandarin orchard just outside of Kerikeri. Free Internet.
- Hone Heke Lodge 65 Hone Heke Rd 09 4078170 http://www.honeheke.co.nz/page.php?2 noon 10AM $24-43pp A super friendly backpackers, relaxed atmosphere, easy walk to town. Clean rooms, great showers, Wifi and internet access. Dorms and private rooms.
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