Tucked away near in the Bay of Islands, Kerikeri is the largest town in Northland – and it’s well worth a second look. Join us as we share the best things to do in Kerikeri, including suggestions that will satisfy even hard-to-please travellers!
Like many of New Zealand’s gorgeous towns, Kerikeri is home to natural wonders like waterfalls, sprawling trails, and impressive wineries. However, what makes this place special is its distinctive artisanal feel.
Packed with a bunch of farmers’ markets, woodworking shops, local beehives, and fields of berries, Kerikeri is a charming town that promises to have you at kia ora.
If you’re ready to uncover a number of wonderful things to do in Kerikeri, simply read ahead for our top picks!
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The Best Things to do in Kerikeri
1. Check out Rainbow Falls
If you’re visiting New Zealand for its otherworldly natural beauty, then you’ll certainly want to add Rainbow Falls (Waianiwaniwa as it’s known in te reo Māori) to your list of things to do in Kerikeri.
Considered one of the most impressive sights in New Zealand, this 27-metre high waterfall (that’s 88 feet) can be accessed via the Kerikeri River Track (which we’ll introduce next). Alternatively, you can get there from the Waipapa Road Carpark which is just a short walk from the viewing platforms.
This crystal-clear waterfall is surprisingly powerful and every bit as beautiful as the photos make it look.
With a single fall, it passes over an impressive rocky ridge of basalt before plunging into the stream below.
If you’re feeling hot and bothered after your trek to the falls, why not take a quick dip before starting the hike back?
2. Explore the Rainforest on the Kerikeri River Track
One of our favourite things to do in Kerikeri is a meander through the magnificent rainforest on the Kerikeri River Track.
The main path stretches for an impressive 8.4km, taking you past towering kauri trees, ferns, hanging vines, and a couple of gushing waterfalls (Rainbow Falls and Wharepuke Falls, in case you were wondering!).
The walk is manageable for most people, and you’ll even be able to jump into the river for some wilderness swimming if you’re feeling brave.
As you walk along the trail, make sure you also stop to marvel at the historic Kerikeri hydroelectric station that used to operate in the area between 1930 and 1967. It’s past its prime but is still open to the public.
Pro Tip: Whilst in the area, be sure to also check out the Stone Store and Kemp House.
3. Go Blueberry-Picking
Thanks to this region’s wonderful climate and fertile soils, blueberry picking is one of the top things to do in Kerikeri.
There are several excellent spots for berry-picking here, but we’re partial to Blue River Orchard in Waipapa. This family-run blueberry orchard is just 8km from the Kerikeri township, and the folks here are all about blueberries.
In addition to the berry-picking extravaganza, you’ll also find blueberry ice cream and fresh smoothies ready to cool you down after a tough afternoon on the fields.
45 Koropewa Road, Waipapa 0295
4. Head to the Famous Makana Confections Chocolate Factory
If you’re on the hunt for bougie chocolates, decadent biscotti, and the most delectable brittle around, then you need to check out Makana Confections Chocolate Factory while you’re in Kerikeri.
These guys specialise in high-quality gift confectionery, and the factory is set up like a winery or cellar door. This allows you to see exactly how the chocolates are made, taste plenty of samples (for free), and spend time scouring the shelves for the ultimate sweet treat to take home with you!
Whether you decide to pick up a basketful of classic truffles or want to keep things nutty with macadamia brittle, you won’t be disappointed by the rich flavours and top-notch production methods at Makana Confections Chocolate Factory.
Trust us, chocoholics, this place won’t let you down!
504 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri 0293
Pro Tip: Don’t go home without a bag of macadamia butter toffee crunch – it’s delicious!
5. Peruse the Local Farmers’ Markets
There’s nothing better than a classic farmers’ market, right? If you’re heading to Kerikeri on your next NZ adventure, we highly recommend making a beeline for the Kerikeri Farmers’ Market (which is run by the Bay of Islands Farmers’ Market).
This farmers’ market is one of the country’s most popular, as it’s packed with authentic local goodies, cheeses, preserves, free-range eggs, artisan food, and so much more.
If you’re worried that the weather may dampen the mood, don’t be! This farmers market runs rain or shine, and you’ll be able to have conversations with growers, grab locally roasted coffee or fresh orange juice, and grab delicious baked goods while you peruse the many vendor stalls.
The Bay of Islands Farmers’ Market is held every Sunday morning between 8.30 am and 12 pm in the Post Office Carpark on Hobson Avenue, Kerikeri, so be sure to hit it up before embarking on the rest of your Northland adventures.
10 Hobson Avenue, Kerikeri 0230
6. Visit the Bay of Islands Honey Shop
Tucked away on Kerikeri Road is the Bay of Islands Honey Shop – otherwise known as one of the best things to do in Kerikeri for lovers of all things natural.
You’ll find an incredible array of honey-related goods for sale here, including hand-made candles, cosmetics, and honey cut straight from the hive.
However, what makes this one of the best things to do in Kerikeri is the fact that this place is home to the world’s largest beehive. Containing an actual working hive of gorgeous honeybees, it’s unsurprising that the treats here are super-fresh.
Whether you’re here to grab souvenirs, see the hive in action, try some delicious ice cream, or try a beekeeping course, there’s plenty to do at this iconic Kerikeri attraction.
414 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri 0230
7. Visit Two of the Oldest Buildings in NZ
There are several beautiful old buildings in New Zealand, but visiting the Stone Store and Kemp House should be at the top of your list of things to do in Kerikeri.
The Stone Store is New Zealand’s oldest surviving stone building. It was erected at some point between 1832 and 1836 (unfortunately, old-school records aren’t quite what they are today!). Constructed from Australian sandstone, volcanic rocks from the local landscape, and iron ties, it’s a fascinating structure that’s well worth visiting. Now it operates as a store, filled with all sorts of goodies for you to take home.
Before leaving, pop into Kemp House. Located right next to the Stone Store, it’s part of the Kerikeri Mission Station and is New Zealand’s oldest surviving building (though not made of stone, mind you). Packed with fascinating missionary history, you can meander through the well-preserved corridors on a guided tour that teaches you all about the enduring Kerikeri Mission Station.
Stone Store: 246 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri 0230
8. Go Skydiving
The Bay of Islands is known for its incredible natural beauty, so it only makes sense to go skydiving while you’re there for the best above-ground vantage point!
Skydive Bay of Islands is a popular skydiving centre in Kerikeri as they allow you to go on a tandem skydive at 20,000 feet above sea level – that’s one of the highest commercial heights found anywhere. If you’re a total newbie to skydiving or aren’t feeling quite as brave, you can opt for jumps of 9,000, 12,000, or 16,500 feet instead.
Not only will this activity send your adrenaline levels through the roof, but you’ll get unbelievable views over the 144 islands that characterize this part of New Zealand. Whether you add a photography package to give you vacation snaps that’ll make everyone green with envy, or jump without, the exhilaration of free-falling will give you plenty to remember.
9. Grab a Unique Souvenir at The Kauri Workshop
The Kauri Workshop is a hidden gem on Kerikeri Road, and it’s one of the best woodworking shops in NZ. It’s not the largest store in the world, but it’s quaint, old-fashioned, and sells some truly beautiful trinkets.
On display, you’ll find the works of local artists and sculptors as well as gorgeous woodwork from local craftsmen. You won’t be able to see the wood being worked on, but you’ll certainly be able to purchase the fruits of their labour to pop on your mantlepiece!
500 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri 0293
Did you know? Kauri trees are amongst the mightiest in the world. They grow to over 50 metres tall, with unbelievably thick trunks. They are also known to live up to 2,000 years!
10. Admire the Coastal Views at Dukes Nose
If you’re keen to get excellent views of Northland’s coastline, then you should add Dukes Nose (otherwise known as Kaiarāra Rock!) to your list of things to do near Kerikeri.
Considered one of the most beautiful spots in Northland, this elevated rock gives you panoramic views over the coastline and Whangaroa Harbour. Though it’s not in Kerikeri, it’s definitely worth the trip!
The best way to get here is via an 11km trail that runs from the Wairakau Stream to the Dukes Nose. The track is quite challenging and isn’t recommended for beginners, but if you’re willing to persevere with the steep climbs and immense elevation gain, then it’s worth checking out for the ultimate New Zealand sunset.
Pro Tip: On the way back, be sure to stop off at the Cable Bay store for a massive ice cream, and at either the Mangonui Fish Shop (with its amazing views) or the nearby Fresh & Tasty Takeaways (where they have great quality fish and cheap at lower prices).
We hope that this list of the best things to do in Kerikeri has inspired you to explore everything that this Northland gem has to offer.
Whether you’re drawn in by the powerful waters of Rainbow Falls or want to grab some delicious produce and artisan crafts at the local farmers’ market, there’s bound to be something on this list of things to do in Kerikeri that piques your interest!
Do you have any things to do in Kerikeri that we’ve missed?
Let us know in the comments below!