It’s just so easy to spend money in Paihia – there are just so many amazing things to do and a lot of them are quite pricey. I know first hand just how easy it is to blow the budget in Paihia. Now we’re not perfect – full disclaimer, we went over budget too! But, here’s some tips to keep budget down while in Paihia… We ended up in Paihia by chance. Last week of school holidays and we were playing the Getting Lost Game to find a spot to stay for 4 days (you can find out more about that adventure over here). We ended up in Paihia in late January – me and two 13 year olds, a 12 year old and an 11 year old. We had a budget of $66 per person each day. A whopping amount when you add it up, but not much on a per person basis when it needs to include food, accommodation and activities. So here’s what we did to keep costs down in Paihia…
#1 Pick a hotel that doubles as entertainment too
You know when you find a hotel that is so amazing that all you want to do is stay there? Copthorne Waitangi is definitely that.
There’s loads of comfy seats if you want to sit down and watch with a wine, or take your wine into the spa.
But lets face it, with a pool as cool as this you are going to be wanting to get in there with them! I definitely did!
They also have a day spa there. Kiki had been asking for ages to get her eyebrows tinted (she’s a real blonde and has invisible eyebrows) so we figured we’d never have a better location so the 5 of us girls all piled into the room to watch Kiki be transformed into an eyebrow’ed goddess.
And another big win for the kids – the breakfast buffet! I’m on the fence but they were totally sold! It’s not the cheapest hotel you will find but when you look at it as food, entertainment and accommodation the cost starts to come down…
#2 Self cater
Paihia has a great Countdown, and even better you can use Click and Collect (more time for holidaying, less time shopping). We stocked up at the start of our holiday and saved heaps making our own lunches, having a roast chook and buns for dinner, loads of fruit for snacking and yummy breakfasts (with my own special coffee).
#3 Swim to the pontoon
Pontoons are the ultimate in free entertainment. Suitably far out to be a challenge, but not too far to be impossible this pontoon was a hit with the kids and a welcome respite from the midday sun.
#4 Check out Haruru falls
The kids were super excited to check out the falls. Judging from their disappointment at the “no jumping” signs they had visions of jumping off some rocks (like at Charlies Rock) but this wasn’t to be. It’s still worth a visit but it’s more of a picnic location than an “action” location.
#5 Take a dip at Ngawha Springs.
About 20 minutes out of Paihia down country roads, Ngawha Springs was our local tip. It feels like you’ve stumbled over some really cool pools in someones back yards except each of the pools are rich in minerals and have different colours and heats (despite being only a few steps from each other).
The pool temperatures change every day and many were too hot for us to go in but we still got a soak in a few of them.
This is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss and is so cheap at just $5 for adults, $2 for kids.
#6 Work on your core with a bit of paddle boarding
Just before you get to Waitangi they have stand up paddle boards for hire. It’s just $10 for an hour for kids and the teens happily declared it their favourite thing to do as they practiced their downward dog on the calm waters.
#7 Up your Gram game at the dock at Zane Grey’s
The kids loved these oversized couches perched on a dock over the water at Zane Grey’s. With bar snacks on offer it’s surprisingly cheap and a great way to spend an hour relaxing… Especially if you get in early to bags the good seats!
#8 Test your limits at Action World
This is our second time visiting Action World and it was every bit as good the second time – and at $68 for a family pass, still outstanding value! Northland seems to weave a spell on my eldest daughter – pushing her beyond what she thinks she can do. She stood for over 20 minutes at the top of the trapeze before finally getting the courage to go. And then she went back and back, until she made it to the end.
There are water slides, impossibly high slides and all manner of things to swing off and fall into the inflatable cushions below.
It runs to Northland time and is only open in Summer and on limited days (weather depending) so if you have a clear day and it’s open, grab it!
#9 Watch the sunrise
Paihia is perfectly positioned for a stunning sunrise with loads of great places to set up your camera and capture the action.