As travellers crest Brynderwyn Hill heading north from Auckland on SH1, the shimmering waters of the Ruakaka coast and the Whangarei Harbour stretch expansively ahead, lapping sandy shores beneath the mystical crags that crown the Whangarei Heads. Beyond, the Pacific stretches as far as the eye can see, a maritime playground brushed by converging warm currents and inhabited by subtropical and temperate marine species.
Whangarei marks the transition between the urbane and the adventurous, an intriguing mix of culture and rugged natural beauty. Northland’s largest urban centre, Whangarei is often overlooked by visitors who opt to travel directly to the Bay of Islands, but the region’s beaches, restaurants and local art and craft outlets rival any you’ll find further north.
Whangarei Accommodation "Our Pick"
Lupton Lodge B&B $+
Has 3 spacious guest rooms in 1896 villa on nice grounds with swimming pool, 10 min. drive from Whangarei & Tutukaka Coast.
555 Ngunguru Road, Glenbervie
Lodge Bordeaux $$
This five star motel offers air conditioned, self contained rooms. Heated outdoor pool and barbecue pavilion. 5 Minute drive to city centre. 361 Western Hills Dr Avenues, Whangarei
Ara Roa Unique Accommodation $$$
Range of self contained and serviced properties from holiday home to luxurious coastal Cliffhouse. Located on the East coast just North of the Whangarei Heads, a 30 minutes drive from the city.
No booking fees - Pay hotel on arrival.
And in many cases rooms offer free cancellation.
Accommodation in Whangarei
Whangarei Restaurants & Cafes "Our Pick"
Small and busy, European cuisine.
239 Kamo Road, Whangarei -- Ph: 09 437 5558
World cafe fare.
12 James Street, Whangarei -- Ph: 09 438 2921
A Deco Restaurant
Fine New Zealand cuisine (a la carte) in 2 storied art deco house.
70 Kamo Road, Whangarei -- Ph: 09 459 4957
Schnappa Rock Restaurant and Bar
Provide diners with a "Pacific" orientated eating experience
Corner Marina Road and Marlin Place, Tutukaka
Ph: 09 4343 774 Website
Whangarei Activities "Our Selection"
Kingdom of Zion -- Ph: +64 9 435 0110
The park like environment provides a sanctuary to some of the world's rarest big cats. (Lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopard)
Located on Gray Road, West of Kamo, 20 minutes drive North of Whangarei Website
Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve:
- A Perfect Day -- Ph: + 64 9 4343 867
Full day sightseeing cruise includes kayaking, cave explorations, snorkeling, swimming and sea mammal-spotting. Leaves from Tutukaka Marina at 11 am daily. Website
- Dive Tutukaka -- Ph: + 64 9 4343 867
Scuba Diving At Poor Knights Islands, full gear hire.
Poor Knights Dive Centre, Marina Road, Tutukaka Website
Visit Tutukaka coast
and its beautiful beaches -- map
Whangarei walks info
Northland Region - Whangarei
ACCOMMODATION SPECIALS & GUEST REVIEWS
is situated on the Hatea River, at the head of the Whangarei Harbour. The town’s renaissance began with the building of the Marsden Point Oil Refinery, on the Harbour’s southern shores in the 1960’s, bringing new life and prosperity to the formerly depressed region. Today, the City Centre has an open airy mall where visitors can enjoy sub-tropical gardens and sculptures in an urban setting.
If you’re just passing through, head for the re-vamped Town Basin, which sits on the shores of the Hatea River, close to the city centre. Overlooking the Whangarei Marina, the Town Basin’s arts and crafts collectives and galleries showcase the finest that Northland has to offer, including original artwork, handmade jewellery, clothing and shoes, while the onsite eateries offer the chance to relax in the sun with lunch or a coffee. Also onsite is the Claphams Clock Museum, an eclectic mix of timepieces from around the world.
For those who wish to enjoy the region to the full, our advice is – head to the coast! Surfing, big game fishing, cruising and diving top the list of activities in the area, and there are plenty of easily accessible coastal walking and cycling tracks to enjoy on the region’s 200km coastline. Big game fishing tours and diving and sightseeing tours to the Poor Knights Islands and Marine Reserve depart from Tutukaka Harbour, north of the City Centre, and nearby, the annual Surf Classic is held at Sandy Bay. Heading east of the City Centre, the road to Whangarei Heads hugs the northern shores of the Harbour, passing small seaside settlements and owner-operated galleries, then climbing beside the magical peak of Mt Manaia on its way to Ocean Beach. This uninterrupted surf-kissed arc stretches northwards for 5km, a mecca for those who love surfing and the feel of sand between their toes. At the beach’s northern end, the hills overlooking Pataua afford some of the prettiest views in the country, where coast and rolling pastureland stretch as far as the eye can see. Two hours’ drive north of Auckland, Whangarei’s mix of urbane pleasures and natural highlights sets the scene for a memorable short break, or a timely respite from busy travel and work schedules.
Surfing at Ocean Beach, Whangarei
Whangarei Town Centre
Matapouri Beach on the Tutukaka Coast
Ara Roa Unique Accommodation (Aria B&B)
Whangarei weather forecast on metservice.com