Whangarei seems to have a reputation as a grubby little port town, but as far as recreational opportunities are concerned, Whangarei can compete with the best of towns. Not many NZ cities have such a variety of natural attractions so nearby—caves and coves, beaches and mountains, waterfalls and Kauris, marine reserves and surf breaks…you can tramp, swim, surf, snorkel, kayak, spelunk, and scuba all within minutes of Whangarei. Don’t overlook this town’s attractions (as I once did.)
Adventure awaits around every corner near Whangarei—this guidebook barely scratches the surface. Go find Taheke or Wairua Falls…go climb Manaia or Bream…go skinnydip at Smugglers, go spot a whale at Uretiti. Go cave when it’s clammy, tramp when it’s cloudy, and swim when it’s sunny. I adore the Whangarei area!!
The gem of Whangarei is definitely Whangarei Falls. If you combine a visit to the falls with a streamside walk to the AH Reed Kauri park and back, you’ll call it a good day. The Falls need little promotion. They’re 26m tall and are often considered the most-photo’d falls on the island (ok Huka, settle down now). Lesser-known is that you can walk downstream for 20 minutes to the Kauri park where a loop will bring you over the fabulous “canopy walk” and then up to a view of Pukenui Falls. The Kauri loop is just a half hour, making the entire excursion a pleasant 80 minutes.