KeriKeri – so good they named it twice, as the saying goes – is the biggest town in the Northland Region at the tip of New Zealand. Famous for having the oldest European building and Māori sites, there are deep historical roots to dig into alongside enjoying waterfall walks and wine from the surrounding vineyards.
KeriKeri hostels are a great option whether you’re part of the fruit-picking crowd and need a longer stay or just travelling through on a solo trip and want a budget room. You can find hostels in KeriKeri just outside the centre – one hostel is set in a country estate, surrounded by an orange and mandarin orchard, complete with pool! Who said backpackers can't have luxury? You’ll also find hostels in KeriKeri offering free WiFi, tours and car parking.
KeriKeri town centre is where you’ll find the main shops, cafes and supermarkets and on the weekends, the Bay of Islands Farmers' market. Heading up from here, towards the inlet and the coast are your historical sights whilst the vineyards sit just outside the town, on the way to Waipapa.
It’s easy to find out more about both sides of New Zealand’s history with a tour of the Kemp House – the country’s oldest European building - and a visit to Kororipo Pā – the site of a Māori village that dates back to the pre-1700’s. History aside, following well-kept forest trails will lead you to impressive waterfalls (there’s five in the area), with ‘Rainbow Falls’ being the most impressive. Foodies can wine-hop between Ake Ake Vineyard, Cottle Hill Winery and Fat Pig Vineyard or indulge with some hand-made chocolate from the Makana Chocolate Factory (even bagging some free samples). There are also two weekend farmers markets: The Packhouse Markets and the Bay of Islands Farmers’ Market where you can pick up seasonal fruit and local produce.
KeriKeri is a straightforward 4.5 hour trip by bus or 45 minute flight from Auckland. Once you arrive there are lots of options for getting around. One of the best (and most scenic) ways is on foot! Just follow the many walking paths and trails that will lead you to sights such as Kororipo Pā from the centre. Cycling is also easy here but local ferry services are a speedier way to travel between the towns along the bay or alternatively, Intercity buses can take you to many of the main points.