Kerikeri is in the far north of New Zealand. It gets really hot up there. Everywhere you look it's orchards and vineyards.
The town itself is a lot bigger than you'd expect. (It has TWO supermarkets!) The main street is really picturesque. There are a few interesting shops, especially of the art and craft variety. It's simply pleasant. Even the New World supermarket has an old-fashioned stone frontage.
On a Sunday morning you can visit the Kerikeri Farmers Market. It has wine, cheese, nuts, bread, crepes, blueberry ice-cream, avocados - did we mention cheese? It has incredible cheese! The Art and Craft Market is right next to it.
A great place for a picnic is the nearby Rainbow Falls. This is awesome - so pretty! No wonder it’s the top tourist attraction in Kerikeri. Well, apart from Kemp House and the Stone Store.
Kemp House is the oldest European house in New Zealand. It was built in 1822. (That’s old for New Zealand.) The Stone Store is New Zealand’s oldest stone house, built a decade later. Kemp House has a beautiful garden. It's next to a river that has a lovely bridge, on the other side of which is Rewa’s Village.
Rewa’s Village is a replica Maori fishing village. If you want an idea of what the pioneering Europeans would have seen when they arrived in New Zealand, take a tour.
Other places to go in Kerikeri include Charlies Rock. It’s an interesting feature that you can jump off into a swimming hole. The waterfall there isn’t as big as Rainbow Falls, but it’s pretty too. There’s also Aroha Island, where you can see kiwi, and the Parrot Place, which kids will love.
A little out of the way is the Puketi Forest. It’s well worth going, though. The forest is full of enormous kauri trees.
There are hardly any places to see giant kauri, as most of them were logged ages ago. The Puketi Forest has a short boardwalk that’s raised up above the undergrowth, making it the only wheelchair accessible bush walk in Northland. It’s raised up to help prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease, but there’s another advantage. Being up above the undergrowth gives you a whole different perspective as you walk through the forest.
Kerikeri and the surrounding area is a great place to go if you’re interested in New Zealand’s history. An easy drive north, you’ve got Matauri Bay, where the Rainbow Warrior was wrecked. An easy drive south-east, you’ve got Waitangi, where the famous (or infamous) Treaty was signed. A little further south, you’ve got the town of Kawakawa, which has glowworm caves and a vintage railway.