Just a three-hour drive from Auckland and winner of New Zealand's 2015 Community of the Year award, Paihia is the perfect place to escape and explore the Bay of Islands, Cape Reinga, and other Northland attractions.
Suzi and Greg Jones have lived in Paihia for 13 years and own the Outrigger Motel where they enjoy sharing their town with visitors.
“Paihia is a welcoming and self sufficient community that really tries to incorporate all of its residents. It’s been an awesome environment to bring up our girls.
“It’s always a few degrees warmer than anywhere else. There are lots of friendly locals and to wake up and see dolphins just cruising along the Paihia waterfront is pretty special.”
Paihia also found a place in the hearts of Edelweiss Motel managers, Trish and Jim Crookshanks, who have called the town home for more than 15 years.
“We like the friendliness of the local people and the way everyone is working together to beautify our town. Everyone should come and enjoy our piece of paradise, whether you want to relax or have some fun,” says Trish.
She rates the Waitangi Treaty grounds, a cruise to the Hole In The Rock, Russell, kayaking, and Darryl’s Dinner Cruise as her favourite things to do in Paihia.
Suzi recommends taking in the view from the lookout at Waitangi Golf Course, which overlooks Paihia, Opua and Russell.
“Enjoying the wildlife on the water or on the many awesome walks around the bay and the islands is a must-do, as is a ferry ride to Russell, enjoying a meal at The The Duke of Marlborough Hotel, and then watching the sunset.”
Both couples do their bit to help Paihia be the best place it can be. A handy man on the tools, Greg has been involved in various Focus Paihia projects, such as the 10-day transformation of "Paihia's Wee Toilet" and an upgrade of the waterfront carpark to what is now a fantastic people’s park called Horotutu ("Our Place").
“This summer Greg was on the team that built the Paihia pontoon, which has been a hit not only with visitors but also our young people and is another asset for the town,” says Suzi.
Winning the Community of the Year award has given Paihia national exposure and will pave the way for even more projects in future – good news for both locals and visitors alike.