Tutukaka Coast

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Kids at Matapouri Beach

The Tutukaka Coast has spectacular beaches, world class diving, surfing, swimming, fishing, walking and is the gateway to the extraordinary Poor Knights Islands

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.

Spectacular Coastline

Journey  through a picturesque rural landscape with farms and orchards stitched together by historic drystone walls. Arrive at at the Tutukaka Coast, rated by National Geographic as one of the best coastlines in the world.


This delightful coastal village is perfect 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 hire a kayak to paddle the estuary. Enjoy sheltered swimming, playground, golf course, art studios and cafe.

Ngunguru Sandspit

The pristine Ngunguru Sandspit is one of the few unmodified sandspits remaining in New Zealand. It has significant cultural, spiritual, historical and environmental values, particularly with local tangata whenua (indigenous peoples). You are welcome to visit the spit on foot, but don't take dogs and tread with care. Access is by boat only.

Te Maika Headland

Driving north, turn into Tutukaka Block Road and find your way to a myriad of small secluded bays and beaches including Church Bay, Kowharewa Bay, Pacific Bay, and Whangaumu (Wellington’s) Bay. All these beaches provide easy access, sheltered swimming and launching for your kayak.

Tutukaka Marina Village

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

Saltwater Fishing

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.

Feel the sand between your toes


A spectacular white sand coastal beach, plus calm estuary. Grab an ice cream from the store and start your walk to the gorgeous mermaid Pools here. 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 a picnic in the shade of the trees.

Woolleys Bay
This popular coastal beach has easy access from the main road and is great for body surfing and picnics on the grassed areas.

Sandy Bay
One of the east coast’s most popular surfing destinations is suitable for  surfers of all abilities. Enjoy horse-trekking or learn to surf (book at Tutukaka). 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  Walk 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)   A four to six hours return walk to see Tane Moana, the kauri tree with an 11 metre 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 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.


A rural inland village, 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.

Waro Limestone Reserve

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 popular picnic and swimming spot with locals.

Where to stay on the Tutukaka Coast

Poor Knights Marine Reserve

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

A Natural Wonder

The Poor Knights Islands

The Poor Knights Marine Reserve off the Tutukaka Coast provide outstanding world class scuba and snorkel diving, kayaking, paddle boarding along with an extraordinary history.

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