Kerikeri - Makana Chocolate Factory, Farmers Market, Stone Store, The Parrot Place and More

Over the weekend we went for a day trip to Kerikeri. One of the things I love about Kerikeri is how much you can do there as a family, without it costing much. It's also only just over an hour in the car from Whangarei to Kerikeri so isn't too long in the car for young children.

Here is a small smorgasbord of activities and places that are worth visiting or doing while in Kerikeri. 

Makana Chocolate Factory
Makana Confections is a boutique chocolate factory in the heart of Kerikeri. Here you can watch the staff making the chocolates through a glass window in the store.  Their products are definitely something that little bit more special than your average box of chocolates and would make a perfect gift for someone. All of their chocolates are packaged beautifully in Makana branded boxes. 

During your visit you’ll also be offered a couple of samples to try. My little boy was more than happy to be a taste tester and sample a chocolate.

The Bay of Islands Honey Shop is also located on the main road into Kerikeri, on the left hand side. It was the giant New Zealand buzzy bee outside the shop that really caught our attention. Somehow we've managed to drive past the honey shop before so decided to stop in this time.

 It's home to the largest beehive in New Zealand! Unfortunately we were unable to do the hive tour as it has now closed until October, so this is something we will note down to do next summer. Hive entry is $4 per person. This enables you to see how the honeybees make our yummy honey, learn the difference between the workers, drones and queen and maybe even see the queen bee lay her eggs. The honey shop itself is full with every honey product imaginable - from different types of honey to skin care products, clothing, beeswax candles and buzzy bees. Our little tot picked out a small buzzy bee so we took that home as a souvenir for him.

The Old Packhouse Market is located on the main road into Kerikeri (505 Kerikeri Road) and is open every Saturday from 8.00 am - 1.30 pm. Here you will find locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables, artisan breads and pastries, arts and crafts, plants, street fruit, good coffee and live music for entertainment. There's a cash out facility available on site. Bare in mind that on busy weekends they do regularly run out of cash so it's a good idea to draw money out prior to arriving, if you can.

The Bay of Islands Farmers Market is located down by the post office on Hobson Ave. It's open every Sunday from 8.30 am - 12.00 pm, rain or shine. It's a reasonably small market, but has everything that you need from fresh fruit and vegetables, to Mahoe cheese, olive oils, artisan breads (the chocolate croissants are amazing), free range eggs, jams and chutneys. We filled up our market bag with an assortment of suitable picnic food and then headed down to the Kerikeri Basin Reserve.

Kerikeri Basin Reserve 

The Kerikeri Basin Reserve is about a 2 km drive from the Kerikeri shops. I knew there were several dumped roosters there as well as a number of ducks so I had made up a food bag for them, rather than feeding them bread. We fed them a mix of kibbled maize and peas, which they all the birds seemed to love. There's lots of parking at the Kerikeri Basin and ample space to have a picnic lunch. We'd also put our little boy's bike in the car so he had lots of fun riding that along the paths. Across the bridge is the famous old Stone Store, which is also well worth a visit.

Kerikeri Mission Station and Stone Store 

Our one year old was much more interested in the boats in the Kerikeri basin than he was in the Stone Store or Mission Station. We however found it really interesting and I'm sure it would appeal more to older children, as there's a lot of history involved. The Mission Station was established in 1819 and was one of the first places in New Zealand where Maori invited other visitors to live with them.

The Stone Store was built in 1832 and was originally a Missionary Society warehouse, but had a number of roles including a trading post, library, barracks and boys' school. It has also been a general store and continues today as a gift store. Throughout the gift store you will find a wide variety of items that are reminiscent of what was traded in the early 19th century. You can also purchase other Kiwiana items here. The upstairs level of the store is a museum.

. Again, a very cheap place to visit as a family as entry into the store in simply by donation. You'll see a small donation box to the right as you walk in.

The Parrot Place 
The Parrot Place is home to approximately 300 parrots from all around the world. They also have an onsite shop filled with pet supplies and sell hand reared parrots (as well as aviary bred). As you walk through the subtropical gardens you’ll meet a large variety of different parrots – both native and exotic. For a small additional cost you can also hold one of their macaws or purchase bird food to feed the parrots. For more information please see my full blog post about The Parrot Place. 

What are your favourite family activities to do in the Bay of Islands? We'd love you to share them with us x  

No comments