Visit the historical town of Kerikeri — home to the country’s first permanent mission station and some of its oldest buildings — on this afternoon tour from Paihia. With a guide, visit the Mission House and Stone Store to learn about the town’s Maori and European settlement history. You’ll also get a taste of the area’s delights with stops at an organic winery and Makana Confections chocolate factory. Upgrade to include a morning sightseeing cruise on the Bay of Islands.
Your afternoon tour starts on the Paihia waterfront, where you’ll board your coach for the approximate 20-minute drive northwest to Kerikeri. Your first stop is Ake Ake, a small, family-run vineyard outside Kerikeri where you can enjoy samples of organic wine and coffee. Then head into town to visit two of New Zealand’s oldest buildings from the time of European settlement — the Mission House and Stone Store. Learn about Kerikeri’s history, including the relationship between the Maori chief Hongi Hika and early European settlers, and hear about Reverend Marsden, a missionary who is credited with planting the grapevines that eventually led to the area’s thriving industry. At the Stone Store — originally built to house mission supplies and wheat — you can purchase gifts and souvenirs. Next, visit the Makana Confections, a chocolate factory where you can watch chocolate being made and try a few samples. Purchase some to take home, if you wish, before re-boarding your coach for the return drive to Paihia, where your tour ends. Optional sightseeing cruise:Upgrade your tour to include a 2-hour cruise through the Bay of Islands before your tour to Kerikeri. Pass by Black Rocks, and stop to see Marsden Cross, the site of the country’s first planned European settlement. See Roberton Island (Motuarohia), where several archaeological sites have been excavated, and learn about the history of the Bay of Islands from the onboard commentary. Keep your eyes open for marine life like whales, seals, dolphins, penguins and sea birds.Your cruise ends back in Paihia, where you have free time to get lunch (own expense) before the tour to Kerikeri.