Drive through a beautiful rural landscape and arrive at the Tutukaka Coast with amazing coves, beaches and spectacular seascapes. The Tutukaka Coast offers world class diving, surfing, swimming, fishing, walking and is the gateway to the extraordinary Poor Knights Islands Reserve and home to the Tutukaka Marina.

Local's Tips

SCARLET POOR KNIGHTS LILY. Native to only three off shore islands in NZ, pick up your totally unique living keepsake from the outstanding Tawapou Coastal Natives plant nursery.

CATCH A FISH. The Tutukaka Headland: Lighthouse Walkway provides easy walking access to the small island, Kukutauwhao. Gather your fishing gear and a picnic, choose your rock and cast your line. Make sure you have time to get there and back before high tide cuts off access to the small island.

The Tutukaka Coast was populated by the Mäori people of the Ngatiwai Tribe, whose successors live along the coast today and are regarded as the children of the seas.


Rated by National Geographic as one of the best coastlines in the world, the Tutukaka Coast is truly spectacular. Enjoy a drive through a picturesque rural landscape with farms and orchards stitched together by historic drystone walls and arrive at the coast 25 minutes later.


This delightful coastal village is the perfect place to enjoy fish and chips on the beach and a great place for water sports. There is a boat ramp and water ski lane, and you can hire kayaks to discover the estuary. Enjoy sheltered  swimming, a playground, surfboard hire, golf course, café, bowling green and other amenities.


Looking from the Ngunguru village across the estuary lies the pristine Ngunguru Sandspit - one of the few unmodified sandspits remaining in New Zealand. It has significant cultural, spiritual, historical and environmental values, particularlly with local tangata whenua (indigenous peoples). You are welcome to visit the spit on foot, but please tread with care. Access is by boat only.


Heading north, turn into Tutukaka Block Road before you reach the marina and find your way to a myriad of small secluded bays and beaches including Church Bay, Kowharewa Bay and Pacific Bay, and ending at open coast at Whangaumu (Wellington’s) Bay. All these bays provide easy access, sheltered swimming and launching for your kayak.


The Tutukaka Marina lies at the head of a small natural harbour that is also is a fishing port, coastal waypoint for local and international yachties, and home to a fleet of private launches and charter boats for diving and fishing. There is a small cluster of shops including a general store, dive shop, surf shop and a number of great casual dining and bar options. The green is great for picnics and outdoor events are often held in this space.


Trophies for several world record catches are displayed at the Whangarei Deep Sea Anglers Club. Take your pick of charter boats and choose your fish – marlin, kingfish, snapper, hapuka, kahawai, trevally and terakihi.


If you do one thing on the Tutukaka Coast, do your best do get to the Poor Knights Marine Reserve. This world renowned marine reserve provides some of the best scuba or snorkel diving you’ll ever do in the world. Even if you don’t want to get wet, go anyway. Cruising around the island, hearing the stories of its history and about its unique environment, flora and fauna, will provide you with a magic day.


A spectacular white sand coastal beach, plus restful estuary, with many holiday homes. Grab an ice cream from the store and just relax or take a walk with splendid coastal views via the coast to Whale Bay. Allow about 40 minutes return. 

Whale Bay
A piece of paradise, this secluded beach has white sand and a forest-fringed beach. Access is via a short walkway (park on Matapouri Road) through groves of ancient Puriri trees. Enjoy fantastic swimming and snorkelling in the clear waters and lots of shady picnic spots.

Woolley’s Bay
This popular coastal beach has easy access from the main road and is great for body surfing and picnics on the grassy areas.

Sandy Bay
Sandy Bay is one of the east coast’s most popular surfing destinations and is suitable for all abilities. Enjoy horse-trekking or learn to surf (book at Tutukaka) in this remarkable place. From here the road turns inland, weaving through farms and valleys before rejoining State Highway 1 at the village of Hikurangi.


Ngunguru to Whangaumu Bay 

Walking between these two bays where from the lookout you’ll have uninterrupted views of Ngunguru Sandspit, Goat Island, Hora Hora, Pataua, Taiharuru, and Whangarei Heads.

Tane Moana Walkway (Giant Kauri) 
If you’re up for a big walk (four to six hours return), take the walk to see Tane Moana, the kauri tree with an 11metre girth (Tane Mahuta’s, the largest living kauri in the world, is 13.7m). As always, these enormous kauris exude their own strength and presence.

Tutukaka Headland: Lighthouse Walkway 
A walk that will get the heart pumping - from the steep climbs and descents as well as the breath-taking views, up and down the stunning Tutukaka Coast at the top. The Lighthouse is a modest solar powered beacon. Only attempt one hour either side of high tide.


Not on the coast but a sleepy rural township, developed around the coal mining industry of 1890. The Hikurangi Museum tells the stories of the personal lives of miners and the long arm of the law. Enjoy the stunning rural vistas provided by Hikurangi Golf Course.


Enjoy the surreal limestone formations of the Waro Limestone Reserve, believed to be 40 million years old. The old coalmine has been flooded to make a pretty lake which is a now a popular picnic and swimming spot with locals.