Whangarei, the northernmost city in New Zealand and the commercial hub of Northland, is a popular base for visits to the region. A great blend of a beach-town mentality and the cultural resources of a mid-sized city, Whangarei appeals to almost everyone. If you have the chance to visit this fantastic destination, be sure to check out some of these classic Whangarei attractions.
Poor Knights Island
Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve and Nature Reserve is one of the world’s top spots for SCUBA diving adventures. This group of islands is located in a protected reserve, and is home to an abundance of vibrant, sub-tropical marine life. You can book a tour to explore the islands—there are a few operators that work out of Whangarei. If SCUBA diving is not your thing, don’t worry: you can also spend the day snorkelling or kayaking in the beautiful reserve.
Whangarei Falls is definitely not to be missed! Parking for the falls is just 5km out of the city. The 26.3 metre-tall waterfall is set in a quiet, wooded area. The falls are just a short walk from the parking lot, but for the keen walkers out there, the Whangarei Falls Loop takes about 30 minutes to complete. When the weather’s especially warm, pack your swimsuit and towel for a swim at the top of the falls before you walk down to its base.
Abbey Caves, located about 4km for Whangarei are underground limestone caves. Here, you can see dramatic stalactites and stalagmites, as well as a “rock forest”: home to some unique rock formations. Another great draw are the glow worms that hang from the cave roofs, emitting pinpricks of green light in the dark caverns.
AH Reed Kauri Park
AH Reed Kauri Park is a fantastic use of the remnants of the Kauri forests that used to canvas Northland. The park includes a canopy walkway for a unique vantage point to check out the forest, which is home to kauri trees over 500 years old. Also worth some time is the Hatea River walk, a ground-level trail past river flats and pastures. The park is only 15 minutes from downtown and is free of charge.
Claphams Clock Museum
A museum dedicated to clocks may not have topped your list of reasons for visiting Northland, but it is well worth checking out once you’re here. With over a thousand clocks, some hundreds of years old, this is a great place to learn about the evolution of timekeeping.
The Whangarei Museum and Kiwi House
The Whangarei Museum is an excellent cultural stop, home to an extensive collection of artefacts from Maori and European settlers living in Northland hundreds of years ago. In addition to the fascinating exhibitions, the adjacent kiwi house is a great New Zealand attraction. Take a peek at the endangered, national bird as it forages for food in the nocturnal house.
Where to Stay
While you are enjoying this part of the world, stop in for a few nights comfortable accommodation at Whangarei TOP 10.