Whangarei, the City by the Sea, is New Zealand’s warmest city and is nestled between forest-clad hills at the heart of the beautiful Whangarei Harbour. Nowhere in the District is more than 40 kilometres from the spectacular coastline. Its compact town centre offers plenty of rainy-day diversions, there’s a thriving artistic community, some good walks, and interesting cafes and bars. As an addictively laid-back beach city with plenty to see and great places to stay, you may find yourself sticking around longer than expected.
The ‘Town Basin’ is an attractive riverside marina, home to museums, galleries, cafes, shops, public art and an information centre. It’s a great place for a stroll, with a marked Art Walk and Heritage Trail. An artisans’ fair is held on Saturdays from late October to Easter under the shade of the pedestrian bridge. Quayside at the town basin is a sophisticated yet leisurely centre for eating and entertainment. Modern landscaping blends perfectly with colonial architecture to create a gathering place for locals, visitors and yachties from all over the world.
Head for the summit of Mount Parahaki, the highest point in the city. It was once the site of the largest Maori Pa (fortified village) in New Zealand. The excavations are still visible and interpretation of the area is provided at the site, which can be accessed by a pleasant walk through native forest from the summit.
At Whangarei Falls, you can see the waterfall that’s often called the ‘most photogenic waterfall in New Zealand’. Drive further to Whangarei Heads and the Bream Head Scenic Reserve for outstanding walks and panoramic coastal and harbour views.