Whangarei Mini Guide
Whangarei in a Nutshell
Whangaei is the northernmost town in New Zealand and on North Island. It is famous for its beaches and diving and is a popular holiday destination.
How Would I get There?
The easiest option is to fly into Whangarei Airport, from Auckland
and pick up your hire car at the airport to take you into town. From Auckland you can take the Northliner bus or drive – it takes between 2 and 3 hours. Intercity have bus services from other cities in New Zealand and once you are here you can use the Citylink bus service to get around.
What can I see There?
To understand more about the town’s history and see Maori artefacts, go to the Whangarei Museum. Visit the Clarkes Homestead, an original and un-restored house from 1885, to see how residents of the town used to live and see the endangered kiwi bird at the Kiwi House. Take a stroll along the Quayside Town Basin, a waterfront development with art galleries and a clock collection. You will also find shops and cafes there. For a bit of fun, take the family to A E Fun Park where you can go-kart, paintball or try your hand at clay pigeon shooting.
It’s all About the Beaches…
You can spend each day you are there at a different beach – Bream Bay and Tutukaka are just 2 local favourites. If you are looking for somewhere more tranquil you can relax at Whangarei’s deep water harbour. You will find one of the world’s top diving locations at Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve or you can go big game fishing off the Tutukaka Coast.
Parks and Walks
A must see is the photogenic Whangarei Falls, just 5 km north of the town. If you like to hike you will enjoy the walk from Mair Park up to Mount Parihaka to see the spectacular views. On the Kauri Walk through AH Reed Memorial Park, you will see kauri trees that are over 500 years old.
Where to Eat
Killer Prawn is a popular restaurant and bar in Whangarei. They serve seafood and steaks and have a large wine list – it has also been voted one of New Zealand’s top ten restaurants. Fring’s Brauhaus on the waterfront is a microbrewery and cafe, offering 4 beers on tap and an informal setting to relax in.
Where can I Stay?
The pretty Lupton Lodge was built in 1896 and it has not lost any of its original charm or history. There is an outdoor pool and you can relax on the sun terrace or use the free Wi-Fi or read a book in the lounge area. The hotel offers a gourmet breakfast and you can even pick your own fruit from the orchard.
Many people flying into Whagarei keep out of the city and head for the natural wonders found locally. They miss the delights of the city which include the clock museum which holds the largest collection of clocks and watches in the southern hemisphere.
Those interested in the history of the area can visit Heritage Park where you’ll find out more about the history of the city and the district of Northland. When you want a break from city life, head to Ocean Beach which has miles of family friendly sand and surf.