Bay of Islands - best place to stay?

Jun 12th, 2006, 03:57 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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Bay of Islands - best place to stay?

Where would be a good base to spend 3 nights at the end of our New Zealand trip? I'd been looking at accommodation round Paihia but one of the guide books described it as just full of motels and made Russell sound nicer. We're looking for an attractive base to end our holiday, we'll have a car to explore the area but would like somewhere nice that can walk round in the evening with a few decent places to eat, without driving. Any accommodation suggestions in the 125 - 250 NZ dollar mark would be appreciated.

Thanks, Maria
Maria_H is offline  
Jun 12th, 2006, 05:21 PM
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...We were in the area in April. I think that Russell is the place that you are looking for. A very nice little village with all the water activities right there. We thought it was one of the nicest localities that we visited in a month-long trip. For a particular lodging I would check the Qualmark listings. You might also do a Google search for 'Boutique Lodgings', a very reliable, local NZ guide. You will find several in your price range. Enjoy.
GBC is offline  
Jun 14th, 2006, 08:38 AM
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Haruru Falls Resort is an option or the Duke of Marlborogh in Russell, I have not been but relations loved the Duke, very homely.
JamesA is offline  
Jun 14th, 2006, 08:55 AM
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If you are searching for NZ try Yahoo down this way, has far more local places and local websites.

JamesA is offline  
Jun 14th, 2006, 12:32 PM
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Years ago I stayed at the Te Maiki Villas in Russell. They sit high on the hillside and had a deck which overlooks the entire bay....It was beautiful...I stayed there not only for the deck and view but the villas had full kitchens. You can take a look on web .
I also have heard great things about the Duke of Malborough. Haven't stayed there but I have eaten in their restaurant and it was a great meal. I work on the Ice and so I am in and out of New Zealand yearly. I am always looking for new places. The best web page I have found is .
This is actually a web page put together by some patent attorneys.....but their travel / tourism section is filled with links and it has the best listing for accomodations all over New Zealand I have ever found.

MJTOO is offline  
Jun 14th, 2006, 05:19 PM
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Hi, Maria. For what it's worth, we stayed in Pahia for 4 nights at the end of a three week trip in March. Loved the area. You can search my name and find my 3 part trip report, but here is the excerpt from the Bay of Islands section.

"4 Nights Paihia. Bay of Islands: Day 15 Sat Done with the South Island, flew to Auckland on Air New Zealand. Arr 11:30 rented car and headed north. Books say 3-4 hour drive, but thatís not enough. Too many places to stop, roads get narrow and winding out of Auckland, and we were tired. A great stop for lunch in Warksworth at the Morris and James Pottery Co and Café.
I had prebooked Pioneer Apartments in Paihia, right across the street from the bay, steps from the wharf and town center. Turned out a perfect location, and again snacks and wine on the 1st (2nd) floor deck looking out on the Bay of Islands. A very nice 2 bedroom apt with a kitchen and laundry facilities in the room, a barbq on the deck. Jude, our hostess, was extremely friendly and helpful. Extended for 4th night. Recommend this hotel/apartment. Ask for the front units with the upstairs patio.
Day trip over to Russell by ferry from Paihia and an excellent lunch at Sallys on the water front (serves great breakfast til 3). Russell Museum is interesting. Waitangi Treaty Sight is worth a couple of hours. Swiss Café and Grill right next door to Pioneer is good for dinner. Bought steaks and groceries at the Woolworths (grocery chain, folks) and barbqued on our deck one night and watched a full moon come up over the Bay. Nice to be warm again. Beautiful! Washer dryer got a workout. Dolphins had babies, so no swimming with them. Decided not to go out and bother them. Had already seen them up close in Doubtful Sound. Weather was dodgy, with a bit of a wind and some rain. To windy to rent a Hobie Cat for a little spin on the bay. Darn!
Decided not to drive to Cape Reinga, the smartest decision we made on the trip. Got on board the Dune Rider at 0730 for a long but exhilarating day. (smaller bus recommended). The northern most point of the north island looks out on the violent meeting of the Tasman and Pacific, and is the departure point of the Maori souls on their way back to ancestral homes. Afterwards, a walk up (whew!) and ride down (WOW!) a 60 meter sand dune on a boogie board, drove 80 km on 90 mile beach where we dug up pipiís, a little mussel/clam kind of thing. We stopped on the way back at Mangonui for fish and chips, and back at the apartment, steamed the pipiís with a white wine cream sauce, and finished off a couple of bottles of wine in the moonlight. Excellent. I would also recommend the Landing, a wonderful restaurant in Kerikeri, along the water next to the Stone House. Great dinner our last night."

Pahia was more convenient for us, and the Pioneer was wonderful. It is set back from the street, so street noise was not a problem. there were three of us in a two bedroom apartment. Laundry came in handy.
Water taxi and ferries to Russel both slow and fast and all often. The drive around to Russell is a bit inconvenient if you need to drive it frequently.
I second the Duke of Marlborough. It is where I almost booked. It looked very nice when we went out there. But, overall, glad we stayed instead in Pahia. It was more convenient to day trips, shopping, etc.
Glad to answer any questions.
BillJ is offline  
Jun 19th, 2006, 11:23 PM
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Thanks everyone. I do like the look of Russell but how long does the vehicle ferry take and how frequently do they run? We will only be there 3 nights but we do hope to see a little more of the area.

Also are there any special places to look out for on the drive to and from Auckland?
Maria_H is offline  
Jun 20th, 2006, 06:12 PM
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Russell is much nicer than Paihia.

We stayed in Paihia in a nice motel - Admiral's View - but that's all it was. My recollection is that it was around $120NZ/night.

I'd stay in Russell if I was that way again.

Here's the ferry timetable, for both cars and people:

The car ferry probably doesn't take long. Or you can get the ordinary ferry to Paihia.

Avoid the "Sugar Boat" restaurant - recommended to us. The service was just appalling and the food was very ordinary - and far from cheap!
margo_oz is offline  
Jun 20th, 2006, 08:39 PM
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We stayed at Ahipara, at the bottom of Ninety Mile Beach which is a great base for right up north. Quiet and down home, loved it. Its a long hike to Auckland tho. We explored down the west coast and went on the bus tour that goes down the beach. Rental cars are not allowed. We had to drive to eat .
We also stayed at a lovely b&b between the car ferry & Russell called Ounuwhao. The car ferry went quite reularly, I think every half hour and we used the people ferry which is a launch to go to Pihia. Lots of restaurants.
poll162 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 02:52 PM
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Russell sounds like its the spot. a few links from here. Arcadia Lodge is pretty good.
totara is offline  

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