CHEAP CAR RENTAL KERIKERI AIRPORT
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Cheap Car Hire Kerikeri Airport
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Booking your Kerikeri rental car with Discount Car Rental is quick and painless. And saves you money!
Bay of Islands Attractions
A rental car gives you the freedom and flexibility to make the most of your time exploring Kerikeri and surrounding areas. Here are a few of the many attractions around the Bay of Islands you might like to consider checking out. The letters on the map match those below, where you'll find information about each attraction. For more ideas, check out the Northland Tourism website.
A. Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls is a breath taking 27 metre waterfall, just a few minutes away from Kerikeri. Park your rental car at the end of Rainbow Falls Road, then walk a short distance along the banks of the Kerikeri River toward the falls. Rainbow Falls is a single drop fall, with a curtain of water gushing down into a swimming hole. In total there are three great viewing platforms at the falls.
If you’re so inclined and feeling adventurous, clamber over the rocks and behind the falls - it can be rather muddy in this mossy cavern but the view and unique perspective from this angle are something quite special.
This is a picturesque and serene area with an abundance of native bush and trees including manuka, totara and puriri; listen out, too, for the sound of tui and fantails around.
Bring snacks and supplies, as there’s a lovely picnic area just by the Rainbow Falls car park too.
There’s an alternative route to the Rainbow Falls, too. Starting from the Kerikeri Basin, this option requires a little more time as the trail is 4 km long. The Kerikeri River Track passes by two very pretty spots - Wharepuke Falls and the Fairy Pools - before reaching Rainbow Falls. Another notable diversion along the way are the remains of an old hydro electric station. This powerhouse was part of a scheme that was in operation between 1930 and 1967. You can even go inside for a look around, as the building is open to members of the public.
B. Kerikeri Mission Station
Dating back to 1819, the Kerikeri Mission Station was one of the first places in New Zealand where Maori and British came together, with local chiefs - eager to make the most of the many opportunities from the northern hemisphere - inviting visitors to live amongst them. Here lie two of the oldest surviving buildings in the entire country - The Stone Store and Kemp House – and they are just 5 minutes from central Kerikeri in your rental car. Built on land granted to the Reverend Samuel Marsden by the Ngapuhi chief, Hongi Hika, they hark back to the Church Missionary Society's second Anglican mission to New Zealand.
Kemp House is the oldest surviving building in New Zealand, and the first substantial European home. Built by Reverend John Gare Butler, it was then occupied by missionaries George Clarke and James Kemp. It survived many turbulent and conflict filled periods of time under the protection of Hongi Hika, and has changed relatively little since then. Guided tours delve into the building’s history, the struggles and triumphs of the families who lived here, bringing the past to life. These early missionaries are integral to this particular chapter in New Zealand history, working to dispense the Christian message to local Maori.
Meanwhile, the Stone Store is the oldest surviving stone building in New Zealand, having been open for business since 1836. Designed by missionary John Hobbs and built by a convict named William Parrott, it was constructed from sandstone, volcanic rocks and burnt shell mortar next door to Kemp House to store supplies for the mission. Over the years it has served as a school, barracks and library, but mostly as a trading post and general store. Today you’ll find a range of goods similar to what would have been found here in the early 19th century, as well as other interesting Kiwiana merchandise.
An easy, 20 minute drive from Kerikeri in your rental car, Waitangi is the most significant historic site in New Zealand. It’s here that on 6 February 1840, a group of Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi - this country’s founding document - with the British Crown. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds enjoy a prime spot on a bucolic headland overlooking the Pacific Ocean and include the Treaty House, the carved Meeting House and an enormous ceremonial war canoe.
There are daily guided tours through the treaty grounds that last just under an hour (hangi + concert combination evening packages are offered over the summer) that tackle the history of events that took place here and shaped modern New Zealand. Cultural performances are held in the meeting house, beginning with a fierce challenge outside, before you’re welcomed inside for a show of singing, poi, stick games, and the fearsome haka.
The Treaty House is among New Zealand’s oldest buildings, and was originally built as the residence of British resident James Busby. Today it has been restored and lives on as a museum - a copy of the treaty document is among the displays. Across the lawn lies the carved meeting house, or whare runanga. It was finished in 1940, to mark the 100 year anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi. The carvings represent major Maori tribes from all over New Zealand.
Then there’s the 35 metre giant war canoe crafted from huge kauri logs sourced from nearby Puketi Forest, which was also built especially for the centenary. Every year it is launched, once again, as part of a ceremony held on the anniversary of the treaty.
D. Matauri Bay
More than a kilometre of white sands and sparkling waters await you at Matauri Bay. But it’s more than just a pretty inlet.
Some of the first Polynesian arrivals to ever set foot in New Zealand landed at Matauri Bay; today, a 22 metre waka (canoe) that was built in 1990 to celebrate their migration can be seen at the northern end of the beach close to the campground.
This is also where early British missionary Reverend Samuel Marsden - said to have been the first to introduce Christianity to New Zealand - made his first landfall. Welcomed by Maori chief Hongi Hika, he and his colleagues then went on to establish the first mission station in the country. The Samuel Marsden Memorial Church, which you’ll see next to the road before the beach, is named in his memory.
Matauri Bay is popular with surfers, divers, and fishers. From the surrounding hills you can see all the way out to the Cavalli Islands, an ideal spot for diving (boats can be launched from the beach if you intend to head out there). These islands host an array of stunning and unique marine life, not to mention the remains of the Rainbow Warrior - the Greenpeace ship that was sunk in 1985 by the French during the height of the anti-nuclear protest movement.
On top of all of that, Matauri Bay is also home to the luxury resort of Kauri Cliffs, where you’ll find one of the best golf courses on earth.
Matauri Bay is found 30 km north of Kerikeri - a quick drive in your rental car and the perfect destination for a coastal escape at any time of year, but especially in summer.
E. Hole in the Rock
Cape Brett and the iconic Hole in the Rock are a must see while you’re in the Bay of Islands! Sightseeing cruises make for a great day out, taking in the spectacular natural scenery and masses of marine life. Dolphin sightings are a frequent highlight of these unforgettable trips, and whales are another regular around these parts, with seals and penguins also sometimes making a cameo appearance.
The so called Hole in the Rock is situated offshore on Motukokako Island. As Maori lore tells it, warriors once paddled through the hole in their canoes before leaving for battle. If water dripped from above, this was a positive omen. When conditions allow for it, cruise captains will do the same, navigating the boat through the tight space.
Tours also visit the historic Cape Brett Lighthouse. Standing proud at 14 metres tall, it guards the entrance to the Bay of Islands (which comprises 144 islands in total). It was first lit at the turn of the 20th century but today it is fully automated.
Tours go on to view the sweeping Grand Cathedral Cave, which teems with fish. And in the summer months, they also stop at the Department of Conservation's idyllic Urupukapuka Island. Walk to the lookout point, with panoramic views over the water; explore the ancient Maori pa sites; relax on the beach, swim, or snorkel.
Boat cruises to the Hole in the Rock depart from Paihia, a no fuss, 20 minute drive from Kerikeri in your rental car. Large viewing decks, comfortable seats and knowledgeable crew are bound to make the whole experience a memory to treasure.
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