GETTING THERE & GETTING AROUND By Plane There are three Northland airports: Whangarei, Kerikeri, and Kaitaia. Air New Zealand Link (& 0800/737-000 in NZ or 09/357-3000) has daily service from Auckland to Kerikeri, with a shuttle bus to Paihia, and daily service from Auckland to Kaitaia. Air Kaitaia (& 0800/222-123 in NZ or 09/256-7025; www.mountain air.co.nz), has twice daily scheduled flights from Auckland to Kaitaia. By Coach (Bus) Both InterCity (& 09/913-6100) and Northliner Express (& 09/307-5873) have daily service between Auckland and Paihia, Kerikeri, and Kaitaia. Both offer discounts to VIP backpackers and seniors. Kiwi Experience (& 09/366-9830) offers well-priced 1-, 2-, and 3-day tours to the Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga. There is no local bus service in the Bay of Islands, Doubtless Bay, or Kaitaia.
By Car If you plan to spend a few days in this area, pick up the free Twin Coast Discovery Highway map from any visitor center. It's an easy drive however you do it, with beautiful coastal views and rolling farmland all the way. Rather than going straight to the Bay of Islands (about a 3-hr. drive), you might want to explore the Warkworth and Whangarei areas, which are described later in this chapter in "Whangarei & Beyond." The drive from Auckland direct to Kaitaia via the East Coast takes about 4 to 5 hours.
If you arrive via plane or bus, rental cars are available through Budget, in the Paihia Holiday Shoppe, corner of Selwyn and Williams roads, in the ASB Bank Building, Paihia (& 09/402-8568; www.budget.co.nz).
By Ferry If you stay in Russell but want to eat in Paihia, you'll need to take the passenger ferry that connects the two. It's the only inexpensive means of getting from one shore to another, and it runs hourly beginning at 7am and ending at 7:30pm. In summer, crossings are extended to 10:30pm. Fares are NZ$5 (US$2.75) each way for adults, NZ$2.50 (US$1.40) for children 5 to 15. If you miss the last boat, you can take the slightly more expensive water taxi. Note: The ferry from Paihia carries pedestrians only. If you're driving to Russell, take the car ferry at Opua. No reservations are needed; the ferry shuttles back and forth every 10 minutes, daily from 7am to 10pm, and costs NZ$8 (US$4.40) one-way for a car and driver and NZ$1 (US554) per extra adult, NZ50i (US304) per child. By Water Taxi The Island Water Taxi (book at the visitor center) offers 24hour service; fares depend on the time of day and the number of passengers. By Tour Several companies in Auckland offer 1-, 2-, and 3-day tours to the Bay of Islands and beyond. For good value and personal service, contact Great Sights (& 0800/744-487 in NZ; www.greatsights.co.nz). Northliner Express (& 09/ 307-5873; www.northliner.co.nz) also has a range of packages and good-value
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