WHANGAREI + SURROUNDS
🚗 self-drive itinerary
🛏️ minimum 2 night stay recommended
🍽️ dining suggestions offered
📅 visit any time of year
From exhilarating and completely unique adventures to peaceful back to nature activities, inspired shopping and quality dining, you will be surprised by what you find in Whangarei, a great addition to any New Zealand trip. Discover miles of white sandy beaches, tranquil rural scenery, walking tracks, native bush, waterfalls and caves. The Tutukaka coast is the gateway to the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve and offers some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world.
Highlights can include:
- walk the quirky Whananaki Footbridge that links the estuary between the northern and southern section of Whananaki and is the longest footbridge in the Southern Hemisphere at 395 metres long 👟
- to get breathtaking views of the dramatic entrance to Whangarei Harbour, climb through regenerating native bush to the summit of Mount Manaia 👟📸
- set on rolling farmland with views that overlook the city of Whangarei and the Whangarei Heads Kiwi North features a museum, a nocturnal kiwi house and unique Victorian heritage buildings 👪
- with 12 circuits, 30 ziplines and hundreds of challenges, Adventure Forest promises high fun, thrill and action in Northland’s unique Tree-Tops Adventure Park
- Waiomio Valley is home to thousands of luminous glow worms, lush green rainforest and breathtaking rock formations at the Kawiti Caves 👪
- the best sub tropical diving in the world is beneath the waves at the Poor Knights Islands - tunnels, caves, arches and sheer cliffs provide a great variety of habitats to explore 🐠🐟
- the ultimate non-diving Poor Knights experience is aboard the Perfect Day Ocean Cruise which features the fabulous 'fish cam' live underwater video streaming shots right into the boat, as well as kayaking, snorkelling, cave explorations and great food 🛥️🛶🐠🐟
- the rugged beauty of Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway unfolds with panoramic coastal views offering spectacular photo opportunities from the shoreline to the clifftops 👟📸👪🌴
- run down the dunes or play in the surf of Ocean Beach with its beautiful white sand and views of Bream Head and a favourite for those who frequent the nature lovers paradise of Whangarei Heads 🐚🌊🏄
- Matapouri Bay is another spectacular white sand coastal beach, a favourite of many who venture along the Tutukaka Coast - discover the Mermaid Pools at low tide (note: closed to the public indefinitely due to raāhui - read more here), and the walkway to Whale Bay 🧜♀️👟📸🐚
- created to inspire the local community with a landscape of beauty and life, the subtropical oasis of the Whangarei Quarry Gardens has been created by volunteers in the remnants of a former stone quarry 🌺🌼🌹
- Whangarei's picturesque Town Basin brings together and creates a haven for a yachting marina, restaurants, cafes, specialty shopping, a loop walkway, art, culture, entertainment, history and heritage ⛵😋🛍️🎨
- Ruakaka Beach is a beautiful sweep of white sand and the nearby Marsden Cove Marina offers world class facilities for boaties via the deep water harbour 🐚🌊🏄
- take the opportunity to discover both the kauri trees of AH Reed Memorial Park from a raised walkway through the forest canopy and the extremely photogenic Whangarei Falls on a walk that combines both 👟📸🌲
- the quirky National Clock Museum, better known as Clapham's Clocks showcases a vast array of unique, historic clocks, watches and animated timepieces 🕰️⏰
- visit Ruapekapeka Pa, New Zealand’s best preserved gun fighting pa, and learn more about the alliance of Maori stood up against the might of the British Empire - spoiler alert: they were not defeated! 🔎
- ride eco-friendly, non-motorised, off-road Monster Scooters, fun for the whole family
AT A GLANCE
📍 # of Visitors 3.5
🐚 Beaches 7.0
🌦️ Chance of Rain 4.0
👨👩👦👦 Family Fun 4.0
🛒 Shopping 6.0
🍽️ Food + Wine 4.5
🏳️🌈 LGBTQI+ friendly 👍
Note: the highest possible score is an 8.0
🎥video courtesy of Department of Conservation on YouTube
WHANGAREI + SURROUNDS
Sit back and relax. We've planned it all for you.
Day 1 : Arrive in Whangarei + surrounds
You'll travel to this region by car, coach or by flying into Whangrei Airport. Upon arrival you'll check in to your accommodation, settle in and get acquainted with your surroundings for the next 2 nights.
Whangarei's Town Basin is always a good place to start, with something for everyone and great places to catch a bite and refuel before your next adventure. Clapham's Clocks is always a treat, and will often surprise here too.
Alternatively, you could get active after once you've arrived into the region by venturing on one of the many great walks in the area. AH Reed and Whangarei Falls loop is a great option close to town, or you could venture to Mount Manaia to get amazing views over the entire region, while more family-friendly Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway will inspire a few selfies along a coastline that is sure to make anyone back home jealous.
After your days events, we've arranged for you to delight in dinner and celebrate your last night in this region at one of our favourite restaurants in the area.
Day 2 : to dive, or not to dive? that is the question
You could easily spend days exploring the beautiful beaches, bays and coastline around Whangarei, but perhaps the most unique way to spend time here, is to venture off shore to the Poor Knights Islands.
The area is a Marine Reserve and Nature Reserve, and might soon also be a World Heritage Site. With Dive! Tutukaka, diver's will be able to explore spectacular drop-offs, cliffs, caves and arches and tunnels for divers, and are abundantly popular with unique and incredible plant, animal and fish life.
Non-diver's get A Perfect Day that could include the opprotunity to sea kayak, explore caves, snorkel on the surface, swim and spot sea-mammals like dolphins and of course enjoy great New Zealand food. Always a highlight is the ‘fish cam’ which provides live underwater shots right into the boat. Another highlight is venturing inside the world's largest sea cave, Rikoriko Cave, by boat.
Upon returning to shore, you may choose to detour via beautiful Matapouri Bay and join mermaid's at the Mermaid Pools if the tide is right. Fish and chips on the beach might be in order.
Day 3 : Depart Whangarei + surrounds
Before you leave the region surrounding Whangarei, if you haven't seen our native bird and symbol of all things New Zealand, Kiwi North is a great option to view these very shy birds. Or head underground and visit the glow worms at Kawiti Caves. We'll let you know the best way to get from this region to the next part of your New Zealand trip, wherever you want that to be.