New Zealand’s northernmost city, Whangarei is now becoming increasingly popular among tourists. A small drive north of Auckland, it is a sub-tropical region known for its mesmerizing beauty. It is also a cultural mine of the country and has remnants of the time-honored Maori villages.
It’s the place where people go to relax, get away from the city and its noise and pollution. What better place to relax than a beach, and Whangarei has some of the most beautiful and world-famous beaches! Here are some ideas about what to see and do in Whangarei, which was once the site of the largest Maori Pa (fortified village) in New Zealand. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a local, Whangarei is full of gems.
- To Enjoy The Natural Beauty – visiting the Whangarei Falls is a must! This 26-meter high waterfall is quite impressive.
Explore The Abbey Caves! Just a 10-minute drive from the heart of the city, it’s a 2-hour loop walk that takes you across the native forest and farmland with intriguing limestone outcrops. Some caves are homes to ‘Glowworms’ – worms that glow, literally!
Bream Head Scenic Reserve is where you can see the most extraordinary coastlines, Kiwi North, where you can witness not just Kiwi, but other native species as well. Whangarei Quarry Gardens, Mount Manaia Track and so much more.
- Museums – Claphams Clocks – The National Clock Museum – clocks and timepieces ranging from novelty to grandfather clocks, antiques so much more.
The Packard Motor Museum – for an excellent collection of Packard cars and vintages as well as The Whangarei Art Museum for the aesthetically inclined. And the list is in no way exhaustive!
- Places of Historical and Cultural Importance – The Hihiaua Cultural Center – A collection of locally made artwork. There is a wonderful range of traditional and contemporary Carving (wood, bone, greenstone) Weaving, Ceramics, Paintings, and Prints. A World-War 2 memorial, located at the summit of Mount Parihaka is a cultural as well as a heritage icon.
Whangarei is also just a one hour drive from the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the place where the Treaty of Waitangi (New Zealand’s founding document) was signed in 1840.
And, of course, the Native Cuisine and unique Gastronomy of New Zealand can be enjoyed in Whangarei! (To see what Whangarei has in store for you, visit one of the popular Food Places in Whangarei )
Whangarei Vegan Expo which is a celebration of plant-based food happens each year around November. If you’re interested in learning more about the vegan lifestyle, or want to taste a few new things, then this event is for you! Other than that, There are, obviously places where you can feast upon delicacies of all kind from all around the world, but of course, you can’t miss the traditional Maori Hangi, The Hokey Pokey Ice Cream, The Crayfish and Pavlova, which are of a distinctly New Zealand style.