Opua

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Paihia is an historic town (population 1,800) in the Bay of Islands in the Northland region of the North Island of New Zealand. It has numerous sights and activities, and stunning views of the bay.

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  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
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Points of Interest in Opua

  • Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Waitangi (30-45 min walk from Paihia). 26 Dec-31 Mar 09:00-19:00, 1 Apr-25 Dec 09:00-17:00. The Waitangi National Trust Treaty Grounds give a unique and fascinating insight into New Zealand's historic past. The Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's most significant document, was first signed here in 1840 between Maori chiefs and the British Crown, and became the basis for modern New Zealand. The grounds are home to the Treaty House, built in 1834, a fully carved Maori meeting house, a large Maori war canoe and a Visitor Centre and Gallery. The grounds were gifted to the nation by Lord and Lady Bledisloe in 1932. You can take a guided tour and/or see a Maori cultural perfomance, in addition to admission. The website suggests allowing at least 3 hr. Has cafes.
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About Opua

Background

An early Christian missionary, Henry Williams, settled in Paihia in 1823 and built New Zealand's first church here. Adjacent Waitangi is where representatives of the English Crown and a number of Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840. The estate is a must-see for anyone interested in New Zealand's history and culture.

Marsden Road is the main waterfront road. The commercial centre is around the junction of Marsden Road and Williams Road. The wharf from where most of the maritime activities depart is here too. The Maritime Building next to the wharf houses two tour companies.

Several cruises that depart from Paihia are approved by the Department of Conservation to seek dolphins and whales in the wild. Some tours allow you to swim in the sheltered bay with both common and bottle-nosed dolphins. Cruises may also see baleen whales, orca, seals, fish, penguins and other sea and bird life.

The Bay of Islands Visitor Information Centre is at the wharf, phone +64 9 402-7345, fax +64 9 402-7314, (email: mailto:visitorinfo@fndc.govt.nz), open summer 08:00-19:00; shoulder 08:00-18:00; winter 08:00-17:00.

Activities

  • Dive the Rainbow Warrior wreck (Paihia Dive), Williams Rd,  +64 9 402-7551, toll-free: 0800 107 551, fax: +64 9 402-7110. The Rainbow Warrior was a Greenpeace boat sunk by French secret service agents on 7 Jul 1985 in Auckland. It was re-floated and then scuttled two years later near the Bay of Islands as an artificial reef. Paihia Dive teach the PADI wreck course using the wreck.
  • Bush walks through the Opua forest. The 'Opua Forest Paihia Lookout Track' starts at the end of School Road. One hour return to the viewpoint overlooking the Bay and Russell. 2.5 hours each way for a longer walk.
  • Walk the track on the north side of the Waitangi River between the Treaty Grounds and Haruru Falls or join a guided kayak tour for an understanding of how mangrove forests fit into coastal ecology.
  • Swim at the long, sandy beach north of the wharf along the road to Waitangi.
  • Waitangi Golf Course. In a wonderful setting with majestic ocean views.
  • Flying Kiwi Parasail, Paihia or Russell wharf,  +64 9 402-6068, toll-free: 0800 359 691, fax: +64 9 402-6068, e-mail: info@parasail-nz.co.nz. Take off from the back of a boat and soar to 1200 feet above the bay for 10–12 minutes. Single, double or triple. $99 single, $89 per person double or triple.

Cruises

  • Fullers GreatSights Bay of Islands, [5]. Cream Trip - Day in the Bay ($119), a full day cruise around the Bay of Islands with a possible chance to swim with dolphins ($30 extra). Half-day Dolphin Eco Experience (8am-noon; noon-3:50pm) - swim with dolphins ($99). Half-day Dolphin Cruise to the Hole in the Rock - dolphin viewing, not swimming ($95). Ipipiri Overnight Cruises [6] showcase the history of the region on a two day, one night cruise. Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach day tours ($119). Licenced by the Department of Conservation to seek dolphins and whales. Most cruises include a trip out the Hole in the Rock and the Cape Brett lighthouse and a portion of every ticket goes to dolphin research in the bay. Also marketed by awesomeNZ.com, [7].
  • Carino Sailing & Dolphin Adventures. Depart Paihia 9.30am, return 3.34pm. Swim with dolphins. Departs from Paihia and Russell. $114.
  • The Rock Overnight Cruise. 22 hour cruise, incorporating lots of water activities, island walks, on-board meals, and time to watch the scenery and wildlife.
  • Discover the Bay - 'Hole in the Rock' and dolphin viewing cruise. Adult $95. Explore the Bay of Islands while searching for dolphins and visiting the Hole in the Rock. Visit Urupukapuka Island and learn about Project Island Song. Departs from Paihia and Russell. Lasts about 4 hours.
  • Lion New Zealand - The ultimate day sail in the Bay. Adult $110. Sail amongst the islands of the Bay on board ex Round the World Race yacht Lion New Zealand. Visit Urupukapuka Island and learn about Project Island Song. There is also a possibility of viewing dolphins and other marine life.

Food

  • Ice Cream and Expresso kiosk. Cnr Marsden and Williams Road. Rush Munro 100% natural ice cream and selection of coffees and iced drinks. Gaze over the Bay and people-watch. Around $4.
  • King Wah Restaurant +64 9 402-7566. Selwyn Mall. Chinese cuisine. Buffet $29.50 per person.
  • Only Seafood, 40 Marsden Road (above Bistro40),  +64 9 402-6066, fax: +64 9 402-7083, e-mail: Only.Seafood@xtra.co.nz. Every day from 17:00. It is fully licensed and does not take bookings. NZ seafood. Main plus vegetables $30.
  • Bistro40, 40 Marsden Road,  +64 9 402-7444, fax: +64 9 402 7083, e-mail: Bistro40@xtra.co.nz. Open for dinner from 18:00. Housed in a colonial style building circa late 1800s. Best of NZ cuisine. Main plus vegetables $30.
  • Otehei Bay Restaurant and Bar. Urupukapuka Island. Every day. Offering a variety of meals and refreshments. Telephone +64 9 402-8234 or 0800 DOLPHIN (0800 365 744) email: mailto:oteheibay@explorenz.co.nz

Drinks

You can't go past the Pipi Patch and the Salty for a good old knees up! Plenty of traditional pubs and bars throughout town, including the Mako pub on the waterfront.

Shopping

  • The Cabbage Tree, two shops: one in Williams Road and one in the Maritime building,  +64 9 402-7318, fax: +64 9 402-7318, e-mail: info@thecabbagetree.co.nz. Every day. New Zealand made gifts and souvenirs, such as possum and merino wool garments, kauri wood bowls and boxes, traditional greenstone (jade) and bone carvings and jewellery.
  • Enz of the Earth, Marsden Road,  +64 9 402 5955. Every day. Gifts from Asia, including womenswear, jewellery, shoes, hats, bags and greenstone.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Paihia on Wikivoyage.

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