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Kerikeri highlights, what to see and best things to do
Kerikeri highlights, what to see and best things to do

Kerikeri highlights, what to see and best things to do

Holiday ideas for culture vultures, art buffs + foodie lovers

Winter is banished in Kerikeri. The choice of what you do ranges from heritage exploration or tapping into the local art scene. Kerikeri with its direct flight connections to Auckland is a perfect weekend escape for art buffs, a lazy weekend where you can simply collapse with a good book into garden spaces or take leisurely walks around Kerikeri finding heritage nuggets.

Best time to visit

Year round

Getting there

Fly from Auckland

Drive

In several hours you pass ancient Kauri trees, farms and towns such as Whangarei with a wealth of temptations to stop and stay awhile and rolling farmland. Glorious quintessential kiwi scenery.

Weather

https://www.metservice.com/towns-cities/locations/kerikeri

Highlights

  • Kororipo Heritage Precinct
  • Wharepuke Sculpture Garden
  • Little Black Gallery
  • Art Glass Studio & Penny Ryan Design
  • Dinner at Maha

Culture & Heritage Kororipo Heritage Park

Stroll through history and walk in the footsteps of human occupation. It is an extraordinary place for both locals and overseas visitors as artifacts, buildings and archeological elements create a visitor lived in experience. You are spoiled for choice what to do and see.

Kororipo Heritage Park is at the end of Kerikeri Inlet. The precinct is home to Stone Store, Kemp House, Kororipo Pa and Rewa’s Village. Aotearoa’s modern identity was forged in this area, it is where Maori and Europeans interacted and lived together. Visitors can easily spend half a day mulling over goods in the Stone Store, wondering about people’s lives in Kemp House and watching the placid waters of the inlet.

  • Stone Store is the oldest stone building in the country. It has been continuously trading since 1833, choc full of collectables fashioned in the form of nineteenth century household goods it is hard to resist a cute wooden hearth brush. Perhaps you don’t have a hearth, buy it anyway.
  • Kemp House, the oldest surviving house in the country is open to guided tours departing from the Stone Store. Maori and European carpenters fashioned the home using hand sawn timbers. The house is framed by a restored heritage garden reflecting nineteenth century planting.
  • Adjacent to the European settler buildings is Kororipo Pa with its commanding views. Your imagination can sweep across the inlet with its 360c views and visualise the opportunities a strategic Maori leader capitalised on. Hongi Heki was pivotal in the Maori and European dynamic interface. There are explanatory plaques describing key areas within the remains of the fortified Pa structure.
  • Rewa’s Village is a replica pre-European Māori fishing village named after Ngāpuhi chief Rewa. The village is worth a visit to observe the extensive garden of native plants important to pre-European Maori.

ART GALLERIES

Art Galleries, the excitement of entering a creative space. Buzz, the pleasure of decorative objects and art works. The cool blues and greens of the New Zealand landscape, the vibrant burst of a floral palate, the use of blacks, grays and half tone whites bring to mind the place the artists call home. Kerikeri will not disappoint. Wharepuke Sculpture Garden is the home to an internationally recognised print maker and part of the Northland creative community.

Little Black Gallery

Glorious collectables, the Little Black Gallery is a celebration of original jewellery, design, art and objects. The modern art space skillfully displays original art, jewellery, prints, art blocks and ceramics. The gallery specialises in local and national New Zealand artists., fresh and innovative. The gallery is located on site at Treghan Luxury Lodge.

The gallery is also a working studio for resident artists.

Art Glass NZ

The Art Glass Studio & Penny Ryan Design brings the joy of viewing delicate glass art pieces. Penny Ryan and her glass artist husband, Darrell Ryan, have an artistry style which reflects their shared love of travelling throughout New Zealand gaining inspiration from the landscapes they see and the wonderful people they meet. There is something about glass blowing, the heat, the fire, the molten glass moving and weaving its shape as the artist tempers the air flow

NEED A BREATH OF FRESH AIR - SHORT WALKS

Kororipo Heritage Walk

The Kororipo Pa heritage walk with the opportunity to enjoy sweeping views of the Kerikeri inlet waterways, explore the Pa site and perhaps drop down to Pear Cafe (Kororipo Precinct) for a coffee before embarking on the Kerikeri Walking Trail in search of a waterfall. Walk in the footsteps of chief Hongi Heka and early missionaries to Kororipo Pā and discover the route that has connected the historic Stone Store and Kororipo Pā for two centuries. Enjoy amazing views of Kerikeri River, Kororipo Basin, the historic Stone Store and the bush-clad site of Rewa’s Village. Learn about the famous Ngapuhi chief Hongi Hika and the history of Kororipo Pā. Find out about the meeting place where Māori and Europeans came to trade, talk and learn and where missionaries tried to convert Māori to Christianity.

Kerikeri River walking track

Follow the bank of the Kerikeri River through regenerating forest and discover the remains of an historic power house, and Wharepuke and Rainbow Falls. The walk is suitable for all fitness levels. For waterfall fans this walk will not disappoint.

  • Length: 3.5 km one way
  • Duration: 1 ½ hours
  • Grade: Easy
  • Dogs: Not allowed

VISIT DURATION      2 HOURS

EAT & DRINK

MĀHA where fresh, local and seasonal products await the palate. Ingredients are folded together creating a Japanese influenced flavour merged or fused with Italian and Spanish cooking techniques. Fusion cooking at its best in natural open air surrounding where bird song is an evening treat. Forward bookings essential for this favourite local spot.

The Plough and Feather

Coffee in The Plough and Feather cafe is fun. You are part of the Kemp House garden precinct. The name of the cafe reflects the ancient pear tree still thriving in the original orchard. Perhaps a selfie moment although note there is a strong mesh fence around the ancient pear tree. Try to snag a place outside where you view ducks competing for crumbs, the Kerikeri inlet before you. Over two hundred years ago Chief Hongi Heki launched his southern wars (Musket Wars). Kororipo was the base. Before your eyes the massive war canoes were launched. During the years of 1821-27, the Kerikeri inlet and Kororipo pā were known as Te Waha o te Riri – The Inlet of War. The bounty of war, slaves and increased territory were his reward. After Hongi’s death, the pa returned to its former function as a seasonal fishing village.

Cafe Jerusalem

A bit of the middle east fused with contemporary cuisine elements is the hallmark of Cafe Jerusalem. For individuals with gluten intolerance or vegetarian this is a must go destination for foodie lovers. For the rest of us it is a taste of difference where you are encouraged to sample platters of goodness. Forward bookings are strongly recommended for this very popular cafe/restaurant. Cafe Jerusalem, Cobblestone Mall, Kerikeri 09 4071001

The Old Packhouse, Kerikeri

Saturday & Sunday the venue for a lively street market complete with local musicians keeping the beat going. The Old Packhouse Cafe is a great place to select from a wide array of temptations from sandwiches, salads to go, and delicious sweet treats are open from early morning to 3.00pm. There is the option of dine in sampling fresh seasonal produce with a menu that reflects locally sourced ingredients. A perfect location to source your impromptu picnic hamper.

STAY

Wharepuke Sculpture Park- Art Park Kerikeri is your weekend accommodation. Light airy chalets are nestled within a tropical garden. Over five acres of mature garden, sculptures embedded among native trees, a restaurant and the enthusiasm of an artist makes for a memorable Kerikeri visit. Wharepuke offers accommodation in several chalets dotted throughout the garden. A quiet artistic retreat in the winterless North is appealing. The garden is now designated as a garden of national significance.

Travel pack information

  • Kororipo heritage park and historic precinct

A unique cluster of Maori and Christian missionary contact period places and structures, including the fortified pa (village) Kororipo pa and associated sites rivals Waitangi for its historical significance.  There are many archeological sites within the Basin and its waterways.  Prior to European arrival the waterways were the coastal settlement of Hongi Heka of NgaPuhi, a pivotal figure in New Zealand history in the 1820s and 1830s.  The waterways were a traditional transport route to the Taiamai Plains.  By 1835, Kororipo appeared to be unoccupied and was bought by James Kemp, Church Missionary Society in 1838.  The land witnessed increased presence of European settlement and the changes in society globalisation brought to Aotearoa NZ.  Today the only potential invasion is a coach load of tourists

  • The Kerikeri Mission Station was founded in 1819. The Kerikeri Mission House, built in 1822, is New Zealand’s oldest surviving building. The Stone Store, built in 1836 as part of the mission settlement, is New Zealand’s oldest stone building and the oldest trading building. The two stand close together and dominate the former wharf frontage to the river. They are of contrasting form and shape.

The current site is enhanced by the river with reintroduced native bush. The views are not dissimilar to what greeted Europeans in the nineteenth century.  The stunning Kerikeri Falls, one of the outstanding natural features is a short stroll away from the precinct on easy gravel paths.

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