Kerikeri the cradle of New Zealand

Kerikeri was once home to the the fearsome Hongi Hika, a Maori chief who terrorised many tribes throughout the North Island in the early 1800s.

Yet he was kind to missionaries - allowing Samuel Marsden to establish New Zealand's second mission station here.

Today the area overflows with orchards, wineries and art galleries.

All along the roadside, orchards sell their delicious oranges, kiwi fruit and avocados. The weekly Farmer's Market every Sunday showcases just what the local horticulture is all about.

Follow the art and craft trail and you'll get to know some of the artisans. Visit the wineries, lunch in one of the many outdoor cafe´ s, indulge in delicious handmade chocolates or locally made macadamia liqueur.

Historical highlights of Kerikeri are the Kerikeri Mission House - the country's oldest house built by John Butler in 1821 - and the Mission's Stone Store dating from 1832 making it New Zealand's oldest stone building.

These wonderful buildings are regarded as the ''Cradle of the Nation'', and are a must for all visitors to the Bay of Islands.

Kerikeri has excellent sporting facilities including golf, all-weather tennis and yachting.

For the nature enthusiasts, a short car trip or an hour's walk from the Kerikeri Basin car park are the 27m Rainbow Falls.

Further afield lies the Puketi Forest, an ideal place to tramp and view kauri trees from a boardwalk which also has wheelchair access.

If you love history, nature, niche food products, boutique vineyards, art galleries, cafes and crafts, you will love Kerikeri.

- Northern Advocate

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