Suitable for all ages, although 5+ would probably get more out of it
The Grounds at Waitangi include the Treaty House, the Carved Meeting House, The Ceremonial War Canoe, The Museum of Waitangi and outside locations of The Flagstaff, Te Ana o Maikuku/Hobson Beach and the path leading from the beach to the lawn known as Nias Track. Altogether the Waitangi Treaty Grounds represent an important place in the history of New Zealand as this is where the treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6th February, 1840 between most of the Maori Chiefs and representatives of the British Crown. Whether you’re living in New Zealand or travelling here, this place gives you a greater understanding of how the relationship between Maori and the British Crown was formalised.
It’s also a beautiful spot! Think about starting your day by walking or cycling the 2km from Paihia (about 25 minutes to walk) and aiming to join one of the guided tours soon after arrival (see contact details for timings). The kids (and adults) can have headphones for the audio and come in and out of it as their interest allows. When they’re not engaged in the tour, kids can make a start on the treasure hunt (ask for this at the reception). Certificates and lollies are given out when completed treasure hunts are handed back in! Tour guides are members of the local iwi (tribe) and have their own personal stories and reflections that can really add to the experience of the tour.
Perhaps check out the cafe once the tour has finished (the cafe has been recommended as being very reasonably priced) and/or wander back down to the beach or within the grounds, before going to see the cultural performance (again times for this are under contact info). Go back to visit anything that you want a better look at before going back to Paihia for ice creams or a meal.
While the outside areas and views back to Paihia are beautiful, there is enough going on inside to make this an ok option for a light-rain day activity.
Tel: 09 402 7437
Address: 1 Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi, Bay of Islands
Open: daily 9am – 5pm but from 26th December – end of February 9am – 6pm. Closed Christmas Day and 6th February (Waitangi public holiday) the buildings are closed and there’s a public free festival in the Grounds.
Tours run every hour between 10am – 4pm and cultural performances are at 11am, 1pm & 3pm. From 26th December – end of February tours depart every 30 minutes between 10am – 4.30pm and cultural performances are at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm & 4.30pm.
Cost: Adults $50, NZ residents $25 (take ID), Kids (up to 18 years) FREE. This entitles you to entry for the day of purchase (you can book online here at anytime) and gives you access to the whole site, a guided tour and cultural performance.