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Whangarei Town Basin

Whangarei (Maori:Whangārei) (Pronounced:Faa - ngaa - re - i) [15] [16] is the major population centre (Pop ~50,000) of Northland and the northernmost "city" in the North Island of New Zealand. 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.

Get in

By bus

  • Northliner [17] runs busses from Auckland to Kataia with a stop in Whangarei. Traveltime is just under three hours.
  • InterCity Coachlines [18] 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 [19] runs once a day on weekdays from Kerikeri to Auckland via Whangarei.

By car

Whangarei is around two hours drive north of Auckland. One hour south of the Bay of Islands and one hour east of Dargaville.

By plane

Whangarei Airport (WRE) is about ten minutes drive from the central city in the suburb of Onerahi. Taxis and a shuttle service as well as car rentals are available from the airport to town.

  • Air New Zealand [20] has several daily flights from Auckland and Wellington. Flying time from Auckland is 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Great Barrier Airlines [21] runs flights twice weekly from Whangarei to Great Barrier Island depending on minimum passenger numbers.

Get around

By bus

Whangarei's only form of public transport is [22] being run by Citylink 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 Busses and timetables are located at bus stops.

Whangarei Falls


  • Claphams Clocks - The National Clock Museum, Town Basin, 438 3993. Open Daily 9 - 5PM. One of the largest collections of clocks in the southern hemisphere. $8 Adult, $4 Child, Senior Citizens $6.
  • Heritage Park, (State Highway 14 on the road to Dargaville, about 5 minutes from the Whangarei City centre), 438 9630, [1]. Open Daily from 10AM - 4PM Closed Christmas Day. Exhibits relating to Whangarei and Northland as well as a Kiwi aviary and various historic buildings. Adult $10 Child 3 - 16 years $5 Child under 3 years Free.
  • Whangarei Falls, (Located centrally at Tikipunga, 5km north east of the city.). - Known as the most photogenic waterfall in New Zealand, dropping 25 metres into a beautiful bush-fringed pool.
  • Zion Wildlife Gardens, Gray Road, Kamo. Whangarei,, 09 435 0110, [2]. 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. Adults: $NZ60-100 Children (2-12years old): $NZ30-40.
  • Whangarei Quarry Gardens, Russell road, [3]. Spectacular subtropical plantings in a terraced amphitheatre with a lake fed by two waterfalls. Free.


  • Walking. Whangarei has good opportunities for short and medium duration walks. Mair Park and the adjacent Parihaka Reserve in the center of town straddle the Hatea river and is 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
Kauri Walk
  • Swimming.
    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.
    Whangarei Aquatic Centre
    52 Ewing Road, Whangarei
    Phone: 09 438 7957
  • 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 over the weekends very popular with families for a swim over the weekend.
    • Ocean beach a lovely big white sand beach with normally a decent surf.
    • Matapori and Sandy Bay
    • Ngunguru
  • Diving, [4]. Dive at the Poor Knights
  • Big Game Fishing.


  • The Piggery - High quality and hard to find (mainly secondhand) books
  • Reyburn House Art Gallery Gallery[23]
    Reyburn House Lane, Town Basin, Whangarei
    Phone: 09 438 3074
  • Burning Issues Gallery [24]
    Quaside, Town Basin, Whangarei
    Phone: 09 438 3108
  • The Warehouse [25]
    Port Road, Okara, Whangarei
    Phone: 09 438 0346. Alot of locals go here


  • Nomad Dining and Vibe (Turkish/Mediterranean), Quality Street Mall, 09 955 1146. Small but very atmospheric. Two storey - upstairs has traditional cushions and divans. Very knowledgeable, attentive staff. Belly dancing some evenings or by request. medium.

Around the Mall and Strand Arcade

  • Caffeine Cafe, 4 Water Street, 438 6925, [5]. Mo-Fr 7:00-14:30 Sa/Su 7:00 13:30. Cafe serving excellent food and good coffee. FREE WiFi! Mains 10-17 NZ$.
  • Muffin Break, 145 Bank St, 09-4306539, [6].
  • Indian Aroma Restaurant, 26 Bank Street, 430 2282, [7].
  • Shiraz Indian Restaurant, 58 Walton Street, 438 3112, [8].
  • Pimarn Thai Restaurant, 12 Rathbone Street, 430 0718. Lunches M-Sa 11AM-2:30PM, dinners M-Sa 5PM-10PM. Very popular Thai Restaurant. Reservations a must. 15-20.
  • Killer Prawn, 26-28 Bank Street, 430 3333, [9]. 6.00PM till late. Popular restaurant and bar with very tasty food, seafood, steak, pizza and a huge wine list
  • Asahi Japanese Restaurant, Cnr Vine st & Quality St, 430 3005. Delicious food at very very reasonable prices. Check it out!

Around the Town Basin

  • Mochaba - Good coffee, pleasant food but slow service. It shares a building with The Batch, an arts and crafts shop
  • Reva's [26] - Terrific waterfront location but variable food and service.
  • Mondos - Always busy but the quality of food tends to be low.
  • Fring's Brauhaus - Small Brewery and Restaurant [27]

Other Areas

  • à Deco [28]
    70 Kamo road, Kensington, Whangarei
    Phone: 09 459 4957
  • Fish & Chips Shops
  • Vinyl [29] - Small restaurant up 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
  • Heaven
  • Butter Factory
  • Split
  • Fring's Brauhaus



  • Whangarei Backpackers [30]
    90 Bank street, Whangarei
    Phone:09 459 7070
  • YHA Youth Hostel [31]
    52 Punga Grove avenue, Whangarei
    Phone: 09 438 8954
  • Whangarei Falls Holiday Park, 12-16 Ngunguru Rd, Glenbervie, Whangarei (2 minutes walk from Whangarei Waterfalls), [10]. checkout: $22. 10-person shared accommodation, consisting of individual fixed bunk beds. The central area has table, chairs and fridge freezer.


  • Pilgrim Planet, 63 Hatea Drive, +64 9 459 1099 (), [11]. A new 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), 0800 404 010, [12]. The hotel 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), 0800 666 662, [13]. checkin: 14.00; checkout: 10.00. All 51 rooms are well appointed with ensuite bathrooms, SKY TV and tea/coffee making facilities and wireless internet. Other facilities include the a-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, Whangarei, 09 438 0404, [14]. 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.

Get out

  • Ruakaka
  • Waipu
    • Poor Knights Islands — Dive and Snorkle by Charter or by private boat. Note: Can not land on the islands unless with a permit

Whangarei is only 70 kilometres from the Bay of Islands and is the primary gateway to the rest of Northland. Alternatively you can take the road to Dargaville and travel north from there through the Kauri forests and along the rugged west coast beaches to Opononi and the Hokianga.

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