Whangarei is the main city of Northland, in the North Island of New Zealand, with a population of 50,000. It has a warm semi-tropical climate, with summer daytime temperatures around 24-26°C, regular rainy days year round and mild winters that rarely have frosts and are mild enough for the region to be described as the winterless north.
- Northliner runs buses from Auckland to Kaitaia with a stop in Whangarei. Travel time is just under three hours.
- InterCity Coachlines runs the same route as the Northliner but has a more frequent schedule as well as connections to the rest of the country.
- Naked Bus runs once a day on weekdays from Kerikeri to Auckland via Whangarei.
Whangarei is around two hours drive north of Auckland, one hour south of the Bay of Islands and one hour east of Dargaville.
Whangarei Airport (WRE) is in the suburb of Onerahi, ten minutes drive from the central city. Taxis and a shuttle service run from the airport to town, and rental cars are available at the airport.
- Air New Zealand has several flights a day from Auckland; flight time is 30-40 min.
- Great Barrier Airlines runs flights twice weekly from Whangarei to Great Barrier Island depending on minimum passenger numbers.
Whangarei's only form of public transport is Citylink funded by the Whangarei District and Regional councils. It covers most of the suburbs and the inner city. Tickets are $3 for adults and can be purchased from the driver. Look for the Green Buses and timetables located at bus stops.
- Claphams National Clock Museum, Town Basin, Dent Street, ☎ +64 9 438-3993. Daily 09:00-17:00 (except 25 Dec). One of the largest collections of clocks in the southern hemisphere. $8 adult, $4 child, senior citizen $6.
- Whangarei Museum & Heritage Park, 500 State Highway 14, Maunu (on the road to Dargaville, about 5 min from Whangarei City centre), ☎ +64 9 438-9630. Daily 10:00-16:00, closed 25 Dec. Exhibits relating to Whangarei and Northland as well as a Kiwi aviary and historic buildings. Adult $10, child 3-16y $5, child under 3y free.
- Whangarei Falls, Tikipunga (5km north east of the city). Known as the most photogenic waterfall in New Zealand, dropping 25 m into a beautiful bush-fringed pool.
- Zion Wildlife Gardens, Gray Road, Kamo, ☎ +64 9 435-0110. Guided tours only. The wildlife gardens currently has a collection of Barbary and white lions, Royal White and orange Bengal tigers, some very cute cubs, two Serval cats, a black leopard and a baboon. Adult $60-100, child (2-12 years old) $30-40.
- Whangarei Quarry Gardens, Russell Road. Spectacular subtropical plantings in a terraced amphitheatre with a lake fed by two waterfalls. Free.
- Marsden Point Oil Refinery Visitors Centre, Port Marsden Highway, Ruakaka. Daily except Good Friday, 25 and 26 Dec, 10:00-17:00. The cafe next door is open M-F (excluding public holidays), 06:30-14:00.
- AE Fun Park, 203 Hayward Rd (15 min drive south of Whangarei), ☎ +64 9 432-3534, e-mail: email@example.com. Activity and events park. Paintball, Lasertag, archery, clay shooting, flying fox, target shooting, mini putt golf, BBQ and function area. Good for half-day outings, birthdays, corporate functions, family gatherings.
- Walking. Whangarei has good opportunities for short and medium duration walks. Mair Park and the adjacent Parihaka Reserve in the centre of town straddle the Hatea river and are extremely popular. Two tracks lead from the river up to the top of Parihaka which has beautiful views over the city. The A.H Reed Memorial Kauri Walk. Whangarei Heads offers many opportunities for walkers of all capabilities. The rugged landscape fringed by beautiful bays and coves results in some wonderful panoramic views.
- Beaches. In summer, and for the hardy any other time of the year, the beaches in and around Whangarei are the place to head for.
- Onerahi Beach is not the best beach but it is the closest and very popular with families for a swim at the weekend.
- Ocean Beach a lovely big white sand beach with normally a decent surf.
- Matapori and Sandy Bay
- Whangarei Aquatic Centre, 52 Ewing Rd, ☎ +64 9 438-7957. The main public swimming pool is in the centre of town and has a wave pool as well as a regular lap pool, hydroslides, spa and a gym.
- Big game fishing.
- The Piggery. High quality and hard to find (mainly secondhand) books.
- Reyburn House Art Gallery, ☎ +64 9 438-3074. Reyburn House Lane, Town Basin.
- Burning Issues Gallery, ☎ +64 9 438-3108. Quayside, Town Basin.
- The Warehouse, ☎ +64 9 438-0346. Port Road, Okara. Discount department store.
- Nomad Dining and Vibe, Quality Street Mall, ☎ +64 9 955-1146. Turkish/Mediterranean. Small but very atmospheric. Two storey - upstairs has traditional cushions and divans. Very knowledgeable, attentive staff. Belly dancing some evenings or by request. Mid-range prices.
Around the Mall and Strand Arcade
- Caffeine Cafe, 4 Water Street, ☎ +64 9 438 6925. M-F 07:00-14:30, Sa/Su 07:00-13:30. Cafe serving food and coffee. Free Wi-Fi. Mains $10-17.
- Pimarn Thai Restaurant, 12 Rathbone St, ☎ +64 9 430-0718. Lunch M-Sa 11:00-14:30, dinner M-Sa 17:00-22:00. Very popular Thai restaurant. Reservations a must. $15-20.
- Killer Prawn, 26-28 Bank St, ☎ +64 9 430-3333. 18:00 till late. Popular restaurant and bar whose menu includes seafood, steak, pizza and a big wine list.
- Asahi Japanese Restaurant, Cnr Vine St & Quality St, ☎ +64 9 430-3005. Reasonable prices.
Around the Town Basin
- Mokaba has good coffee, pleasant food. It shares a building with The Batch, an arts and crafts shop.
- Reva's has a terrific waterfront location but variable food and service.
- Mondos is always busy but the quality of food tends to be low.
- Fring's Brauhaus is a small brewery and restaurant.
- à Deco, 70 Kamo Rd, ☎ +64 9 459-4957. Kensington.
- Vinyl is a small restaurant in a side alleyway near Forum North.
Most of the towns bars and clubs are located in the central city in or around Vine Street.
- Grand Hotel
- Danger Danger
- Butter Factory
- Fring's Brauhaus
- YHA Youth Hostel, 12 Ngunguru Road, Glenbervie, ☎ +64 9 437 0609. dorm bed from $24.30, room from $44.10.
- Whangarei Falls Holiday Park, 12-16 Ngunguru Rd, Glenbervie (2 minutes walk from Whangarei Waterfalls). 10-person shared accommodation, consisting of individual fixed bunk beds. The central area has table, chairs and fridge freezer. $22.
- Pilgrim Planet, 63 Hatea Drive, ☎ +64 9 459 1099, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A guesthouse with views over the Hatea River and Mt Parahaka. There are six spacious and soundproof bedrooms, with ensuite (wheel-chair access ensuite downstairs), king, queen and twin bed options available. Guest only facilities include: fully equipped kitchen, spacious lounge with 32" TV, Sky TV, DVD library; computer with broadband access and free local phone calls, outdoor patio area, BBQ. Complimentary continental breakfast provisions are included in tariff. $110-120.
- Kingsgate Hotel, 9 Riverside Dr (Facing the town basin), toll-free: 0800 404 010. Has a fully licensed bar and restaurant along with a spa, sauna, gymnasium and indoor heated pool. 115 rooms with tea/coffee-making facilities, air-conditioning and Sky TV.
- Discovery Settlers Hotel, 61-69 Hatea Dr (Near the town basin), toll-free: 0800 666 662. Check-in: 14.00, check-out: 10:00. All 51 rooms with en suite bathrooms, SKY TV and tea/coffee making facilities & Wi-Fi. Other facilities include the à la carte Parahaki Restaurant & Garden bar, which overlooks the banks of the Hatea river, guest laundry, outdoor pool and private spa. $104-200.
- Lodge Bordeaux, 361 Western Hills Dr, ☎ +64 9 438-0404. 15 studio, 1 and 2-bedroom apartments with a wide range of amenities from kitchen facilities to internet access, a heated swimming pool, and a BBQ area. $185-300.
- Poor Knights Islands – Dive and snorkel by charter or by private boat. You must not land on the islands.
- The Bay of Islands is 70 kilometres north.
- Kaipara district is west and south.
- Hokianga (90 minutes drive). You can go via the Bay of Islands, or go to Dargaville in the Kaipara district, then north through the kauri forests along the west coast.
- Ngunguru (28km). Sat on the edge of a river / estuary, find the cafe and sample Steak and Cheese Pies. One of the most beautiful places in New Zealand.