Whangarei is a small, attractive city that is served well by a buoyant retail centre, art galleries, museums, restaurants and cafes, bars, library and events. It is Northland’s only city and largest commercial centre, a mere two hours drive from Auckland, the economic hub of New Zealand.
THE CENTRAL CITY
Whangarei is Northland’s only city, largest commercial centre and a mere two hours drive from Auckland, the economic hub of New Zealand. A small, beautiful city that is coming of age and is well served by a buoyant retail centre, art galleries, museums, restaurants and cafes, bars and clubs, library and events.
The very heart of the city is closed to traffic and is pleasantly planted – with native flora as well as sculptural copper trees – and has a bronze historical timeline running through the centre of the pavement. Take a seat and enjoy. Everywhere within the CBD is within walking distance as the land is flat and the city is compact.
The Town Basin precinct is an international yachting community hub, uniquely positioned in the city centre and founded on the city’s reputation for a warm welcome and as a haven from the Pacific hurricane season.
This water-side area is a wonderful destination for all visitors with cafes and restaurants, craft and art galleries, museums, specialty shops and children’s playground and petanque court. Enjoy the frequent markets and events amidst the ever-changing scenery of boats, people, birds and animals.
The fully accessible 4.2 km Hätea Loop Huarahi o te Whai harbourside walkway, begins at the Town Basin and follows the Sculpture Trail featuring works by local artists. Read the fascinating history of the area on the Heritage Panels. Walk across the elegant footbridge, ‘Kotuitui Whitinga’ and the impressive, international award-winning ‘Te Matau a Pohe’ bascule (opening) bridge. The entire walkway is fully accessible.
TAKE A WALK
Immerse yourself in the green and fragrant native forest by walking from the Town Basin to the Whangarei Falls (catch a bus back into the city). The full walk is about three hours one way or you could choose to do just a short part of the walk. The AH Reed Memorial Kauri Park is a five minute drive from the city centre and features a tree-top board walk and stately kauri trees.
Laurie Hall Park
Featuring a man-made waterfall and attractive gardens, there are open grassy areas for picnics and a childrens playground and seating. The park is named after Laurie Hall, a town clerk for 15 years and tireless civil worker.
Cafler Park, with its gorgeous rose beds, can be accessed by foot from Water Street, First Avenue or from the Forum North car park. The Waiarohia River runs along its western boundary. Botanica, also at First Avenue, is a unique conservatory and fernery, with displays of colourful subtropical flowers and houses containing cool, green ferns and filmy ferns.
Whangarei Quarry Gardens
Set in over 60 acres of a former quarry, the unique microclimate is ideal for growing an abundance of native and exotic subtropical plants. The gardens feature a lake, waterfall, walking paths, forest walks, a variety of garden styles and several historic remnants. Find a perfect picnic spot or enjoy the cafe.
TRULY UNIQUE WILDLIFE
Only in New Zealand will you see these two animals – the iconic kiwi bird and the tuatara that walked the earth with dinosaurs. KiwiNorth has both for you to see.
ART AND CRAFT, HERITAGE AND TREASURES
Whangarei Art Museum – enjoy art by outstanding as well as nationally significant artists along with internationally significant exhibitions
Kiwi North and Heritage Park has loads of amazing things to delight you – trains, vehicles and engines, Maori taonga (treasures), military items, colonial buildings and household items, historical medical collection....and Live Days! once a month when everything is up and running and you can ride a miniature train!
Claphams National Clock Museum has the largest collection of timepieces in the Southern Hemisphere; be surprised and delighted by Victorian cuckoo clocks, rare antiques and many unique and fun clocks.
Reyburn House Art Gallery is within a Historic Home belonging to the Northland Society of Arts. Exhibitions, featuring New Zealand artists, change monthly and the shop has a fine selection of gifts.
LET THE KIDS OUT TO PLAY
- Park at the Town Basin, buy an ice-cream and let the kid’s loose in the playground – it’ll keep them amused for hours!
- Grab the bike or skateboard and practise some tricks at the BMX & Skate Park on Riverside Drive.
- Take them on a tour of Claphams National Clock Museum – this quirky collection will surprise and delight.
- Get them into their swimwear and make a splash at the Whangarei Aquatic Centre – not just pools but WAVE pools and slides!