15 people found this article useful

7 Kick-Ass Things to Do in Kawakawa

Northland Inc

What to do in Kawakawa.

Kawakawa is the gateway to the Bay of Islands and a fascinating little town not to be missed! The colourful town centre is decorated with murals and New Zealand’s most famous public toilets. If you arrive on a weekend, don’t be surprised if there is a large steam train is making its way right through the town centre. The little Bay of Islands settlement is a highlight of the Twin Coast Cycle Trail and a great excuse to stop and grab something to eat at one of the many quaint cafes. If you’re not sure how to spend your time in Kawakawa, just take a look at the list of things to do in Kawakawa below!

While exploring the Bay of Islands, don’t miss the highlights in these nearby towns:

XE - Money Transfer

1. Take a pee break at the Hundertwasser Toilets

Yes, New Zealand’s most famous public toilets are right here in Kawakawa. They are probably going to be the most colourful and artistic toilets that you’ll ever get the chance to relieve yourself in. The toilets are decorated in mosaic ceramic and glass bottles, designed by a late Austrian expat artist.

Location: State Highway 1 (Gillies Street in Kawakawa town centre). Northland Inc

2. Cycle the Twin Coast Cycle Trail

This 87km cycle trail crossing from the Bay of Islands to the Hokianga Harbour passes right through Kawakawa. The Twin Coast Cycle Trail follows an old railway corridor and is an easy-going right suitable for all ages. While the whole trail takes 2 days to complete, a popular section is the Opua to Kawakawa, about 11km long. Bike hire and transport can be arranged in Paihia or Opua.

Location: Start from Opua Wharf and follow the well-marked trail to Kawakawa.
Northland Inc

3. See the art at the Kings Theatre Creative

This refurbished 1930’s theatre is now the home of a refreshing art gallery full of creations from around the Far North and Bay of Islands districts. See local Maori art and other thought-provoking pieces in this gallery that is open September to June.

Location: State Highway 1 (Gillies Street in Kawakawa town centre).
Northland Inc

4. Ride a Vintage Train

Every weekend, the vintage steam train, Gabriel, chugs its way through the town centre of Kawakawa at the start of its scenic railway journey. Get in on the action by hopping on the train at the Kawakawa Station with the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway. If you don’t manage to make it to Kawakawa on a weekend, there are still restored locomotives and carriages on display outside of the Kawakawa Station.

Location: Gillies Street, just off State Highway 1 in Kawakawa.

5. See the Kawakawa Mural

Kawakawa is an artsy town and another addition is the beautiful mural found alongside the Hundertwasser Toilets. This remarkable piece of art was made by local school children and makes an amazing photo opportunity.

Location: Hundertwasser Toilets, State Highway 1 (Gillies Street in Kawakawa town centre).
Northland Inc

6. Visit the GLowworm Caves

Just 5km south of Kawakawa is the magnificent Kawiti Glowworm Caves. Take a guided tour through this gorgeous cave network, while listening to stories from your local Maori guide. Learn about the fascinating (yet brutal) lifecycle of the glowworm. Check out more 7 Places to See the Famous Glowworms in New Zealand.

Location: Waiomio Road off State Highway 1, just south of Kawakawa.
John Hartanowicz on Wikipedia

7. Grab yourself a coffee & a bite to eat

Kawakawa is one of those classic Kiwi towns with great food and great coffee! The main street has four fantastic cafes to choose from, giving you a great excuse to stop by while travelling around the Bay of Islands.

Location: Gillies Street/State Highway 1.

Videos About Kawakawa & the Bay of Islands

Viator Best Price Guaranteed
Was this article useful? Useful Useless
Help other travellers, share this article now:
Working Holiday Insurance
Work For Accommodation

How to Find Work for Accommodation in New Zealand

Work for accommodation and save money! Make your New Zealand travel last [...]

Art & Culture

22 BIG Things in New Zealand

The largest New Zealand sculptures! New Zealand may be a small country [...]

Working Holiday Insurance
Hot on Backpacker Guide
North Island

15 Coromandel Must-Dos

Things you can’t miss in the Coromandel! If the Coromandel has any […]

North Island Hikes

13 Walks Around National Park Village & Whakapapa Village

Short hikes near Whakapapa, Mt Ruapehu. When there is nothing around but […]

North Island

10 Hawke’s Bay Must-Dos

Have fun in between seasonal jobs. The region offers a huge amount […]

We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
I accept