Stone Store at left, St James at rear, and the Mission House on the right
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 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.
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 38 ft by 18 ft 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 4 km 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 given to the nation by Caroline Little who was captivated by them in 1928 on her first visit from China.
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 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.
Art at Wharepuke (Art Gallery), 190g Kerikeri road (Stone Store Hill. 1 km from Kerikeri town), ☎ +64 9 4078933, . 8AM-5PM. Art Gallery of NZ and internationally acclaimed artists. Focus on printmaking.Free.
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 impressive 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. 1 km 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 and craft outlets in the area.
Enz of the Earth. 127 Kerikeri Road, halfway between the town centre and the Stone Store. Exotic gifts from around the world including: Furniture, jewellery, womenswear. Has a inner garden reminiscent of the East, featuring new Bromeliads.
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A wide variety of food styles are available at Kerikeri.
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.
The RSA, Cobham Road. "It has modern bar facilities and dining room for the more than 600 members, and welcomes visitors to the town. Lions, Rotarians, business and professional groups hold their meetings at the club. Also hosts the Kerikeri Bridge Club.
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.
Hone Heke Lodge, 65 Hone Heke Rd, ☎ +64 9 4078170, . checkin: noon; checkout: 10AM. A super friendly backpackers, relaxed atmosphere, easy walk to town. Clean rooms, great showers, wifi and internet access. Dorms and private rooms.$24-43pp.
Kerikeri Farm Hostel, 1574 Springbank Rd (SH 10), ☎ +64 (0)9 4076989, . Cosy hostel with loads of character. Set in a lovely country estate, surrounded by an organic citrus orchard just outside of Kerikeri. Free wifi and Free internet access.Dorms $24, private rooms from $28 per person.
Ragdoll Cottage, 2361 State Highway 10, ☎ +64 9 4078971, . checkin: mid day; checkout: 10AM. Holiday accommodation, two bedrooms. Self catering. Clean, quiet and very comfortable. Outdoor BBQ and luxury spa pool. Linen supplied. Well set up.From $90.
Wharepuke Subtropical Accommodataion, 190 Kerikeri road (Stone Store Hill 1km from Kerikeri town), ☎ +64 9 4078933, . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 10:30AM. 5 eco cottages set in 5 acres of subtropical garden. Award winning Cafe, restaurant and art gallery of International artist works onsite.$130-$180.
Moon Gate Villa, 462 Kerikeri Road (Turn right off SH10 towards Kerikeri. LH side 1.8KM before Kerikeri Village), ☎ +64 9 929 5921, . checkin: 2:30PM; checkout: 11:00AM. Stylish accommodation set within an exotic garden, 2 minutes from Bay of Island’s Kerikeri Village, walking distance to restaurants, wineries and craft shops. A unique, modern villa with waterfalls and reflective pools; king suites with luxury linens.NZ$135 - $305. (-35.2422476,173.9355734)