What to do in Kerikeri?
In the 1980s, New Zealand's Top Town was judged by how many men in stubbies could balance on a slippery log. These days it's an honour bestowed by North & South magazine, and a few years ago Kerikeri got the nod.
They call the area 'the winterless North', and while you wouldn't catch us jumping into the surf at Matauri Bay any time before Christmas, we do enjoy being able to wander around in short sleeves in the mid-winter, exposing our pasty white arms to the bemused locals.
While heaps of people head straight from the airport to Paihia or Russell, we'd recommend a night or two in Kerikeri - the town so good they named it twice. Time it for Sunday and catch the excellent Farmers Market, where you can pass time trying to pick the locals from the tourists (clue: only one will be wearing belt bags).
There are some cool little shops in and around Kerikeri too, like Mahoe Cheese, Makana Chocolate Store, and the flagship store for iconic Kiwi brand Living Nature. That last one's worth a visit for sure: beach hair is all good but beach skin is just wrong.
Kerikeri is home to New Zealand's oldest building, and of course there's plenty of history up the road at Waitangi too.
Whatever floats your boat, the Bay of Islands is famous for a reason, and you'll have an amazing time discovering why. By the way, try to find local delicacy the Ugli fruit while you're in the area - it's a delicious cross between a grapefruit, a tangelo and an orange. But they're right, it is bloody ugly.