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Whangarei, meaning "Bountiful Land" in Maori, is the main centre of the Northland Region, just a two-hour drive from Auckland. The city has a population of around 50,000 people, and is a beautiful location to explore with a rental car.
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Summer is a popular time to visit Whangarei when the weather is warmer and there is less rainfall. August is the coldest month of the year, when overnight temperatures can get quite low.
Whangerei is located on the North Island, and therefore enjoys a relatively warmer climate. Travel from November to February to enjoy more daylight hours.
Whangarei is located two hours north of Auckland along State Highway 1. If you are travelling into Auckland be sure to check the traffic so you can avoid any unnecessary delays.
Familiarise yourself with the laws of New Zealand if you are new to the country. Keep to the left-hand side of the road, and take extra care in hazardous weather conditions. Be sure to abide by local speed limits.
Discover the natural beauty of Whangarei in a car rental
Address: Whangarei, Northland, New Zealand
Based in beautiful Northland, Piwakawaka Tours showcases the spectacular Whangarei area. They provide access to this beautiful region with scenic tours, visiting local beach walks and running shuttles. In the Delicious Whangarei tour, you can see some lovely locals and experience the amazing artisan products they produce right here in Whangarei. Annemieke and her knowledgeable guides will take you on a journey to destinations rarely visited. You may discover an intrepid trek through cliff tops and gorgeous private beaches, or meet some special locals, or taste something so delicious you have to buy some for yourself.
All of the tours have some local flavour, where you can learn about New Zealand history and culture, and then perhaps take a little bit of Whangarei home with you. Piwakawaka Tours' ultimate goal is to promote Northland and support the local community. They provide visitors with access to the most spectacular places in the Whangarei region and love taking people to meet special Whangarei locals and sample their amazing products.
Kiwi North & Whangarei Museum
Take a breather with Kiwi North; there's something for everyone in one very special place! Kiwi North is one of the “must see” visitor attractions of Northland with 25 hectares of volcanic farmlands and forests where the Whangarei Museum, Kiwi House and Heritage Park are hosted. Kiwi House displays NZ's iconic kiwi bird -- this is the only captive kiwi viewing in Northland. Also, Whangarei Museum has extensive collections and special exhibitions, all set in a beautiful park with an original early settler homestead and other historic Victorian buildings.
It's the perfect spot for city views and do a picnic with family and friends. Snacks and soft drinks are offered at the visitor reception. If you are getting to the area by campervan and you are a NZMA member, campervan sites are available. Kiwi North organizes special and fun events for the public which include vintage machinery exhibitions, stalls, Edwardian games, among others. Open daily 10am to 4pm, closed 24 th & 25 th December only.
Address: 0174, New Zealand
The spectacular Whangarei Heads Peninsula is known for wonderfully varied scenery throughout. Sheltered bays can be found on the inner Whangarei Harbour on one side and the stunning white sand ocean beaches on the other. Between these runs the backbone of 20 million-year-old volcanic peaks towering to over 460 metres. The area is a holiday playground with over 30 places to stay, wonderful swimming, fishing, surfing, kayaking and diving. Home to Bream Head Scenic Reserve and the area is also home to one of only 5 Kiwi sanctuaries in New Zealand. Some of the North islands most notable walking tracks can be found throughout this reserve ranging from easy walking to serious hiking. Something for everyone!
Whangarei Quarry Gardens
Whangarei Quarry Gardens is a subtropical garden oasis created by local volunteers among the remnants of a former stone quarry in the Pukenui/Western Hills district of the city. The 24 hectare site features numerous tropical, subtropical and arid gardens, native forest trails, numerous waterfalls, a lake, a picnic area, and loads of native and exotic flora and fauna.
The Visitors Centre and Cafe can accommodate large groups of visitors as well host catered events within the gardens. Entry to the gardens is by voluntary donation, with all money collected going towards maintenance and development.
The coast of New Zealand is a playground for travellers and locals alike, with so much to offer: whale and dolphin watching, fishing, jet boating, sailing, diving and more. Jet your hire car just up the coast of Whangarei where the Island of Poor Knights is situated. It's a protected marine park that has become a popular destination for a unique and memorable experience in the North Island. It has an abundance of sea life, due to the water around it being protected from all fishing and removal of any shells or coral. Rainbow coloured fish and coral will be there to greet you as you enter an octopus's garden, a breathtaking experience you will never forget. Find a pearl of a car hire deal with the car rental pirates VroomVroomVroom... Yarrrrr, mateys!!!
Ara Roa Villa & Boutique Lodgings
Boutique Luxury accommodation in Whangarei Heads. Unique architectural Villas located on incredible waterfront properties just a 30-minute scenic drive from Whangarei (2 hours North of Auckland). Fish, swim, dive straight from where you're staying or perhaps just kick back, relax and recharge and enjoy exceptionally grand ocean views from anywhere on the property. Private walking trails, petanque court, Solar heated pool and lots of family-orientated fun to be had. All facilities are fitted with quality linen and furnishings. Professionally maintained and operated.
Whangarei Falls Holiday Park
The Whangarei Falls Holiday Park and YHA Backpackers is a cosy holiday park and hostel in semi-rural Whangarei. Located 5kms from the city centre, they are just two minutes walk from the lovely Whangarei Waterfalls Scenic Reserve, and a short drive to the Abbey Caves. Stroll to town along bush-lined riverside walks or laze the day away beside the swimming pool. Evenings are for soaking in the hot tub and sharing stories around the BBQ. The park provides an ideal base for diving and exploring the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve. Beautiful coastal beaches and Tutukaka with its marina are a short drive away. They also arrange diving, fishing, kayaking and snorkelling with pickup from their gate are also available. Local bus stops, shops and a supermarket are all within easy walking distance. If you have additional questions, their wonderful staff are full of information on things to see and do in the greater Whangarei area, and happy to help you plan your trip around Northland.
Tipu Waterfront Accommodation
Address: 41 North Cove Lane Waipu
If you need a break away from the bustle of the city, Tipu is the perfect waterfront luxury accommodation. Providing tranquility on the shores of on the shores of the Waipu Cove Wildlife Reserve in Bream Bay, Tipu has a contemporary infrastructure, offering designer units with a separate bedroom and kitchenette. All amenities and towels are included. You can also enjoy their continental breakfast on a deck overlooking the lake & stunning landscape. Among the activities you can do there are kayaking, fishing and surfing options. The historic city of Waipu is only a 5-minute drive away, where you can find restaurants and cafes.
BK's Pohutukawa Lodge
BK's Pohutukawa Lodge is a well-situated and comfortable motel accommodation located in the heart of Whangarei, which makes it an ideal stay for families or business travellers. It is close by to many tourist and natural attractions such as Whangarei Falls, restaurants, museums, art galleries and shops. The lodge offers studios with kitchenette and one or two bedroom units. The services include free wireless internet, optional delivery meals and continental breakfast.
Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park
Address: 21 Ruakaka Beach Road, Ruakaka, NZ
Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park is situated right next to the Ruakaka Beach, 30km south east of Whangarei. This camp is one of the largest ones in New Zealand, offering 225 power sites and 75 tent sites as well as cabins. Ruakaka and Bream Bay are perfect for surfing, kite-sailing, fishing, walking and many other exciting outdoor activities to enjoy while camping. The holiday park also offers a tennis court and playground for families with children. You will also find local markets in Rukaka township and you can visit Waipu Caves and the historic town of Waipu within 10 minutes drive south.
Tonic restaurant offers amazing a la carte and international cuisine, which includes hot smoked salmon and Toffee Creme Brulee. This nationally awarded restaurant features an intimate atmosphere and provides a excellent dining experience. It is recommended to make a reservation in advance. The restaurant opens daily from 6pm till late. Lunch is served Thursday and Friday only from 11:30am to 2pm.
Parua Bay Tavern
Parua Bay Tavern is the Northland's best gastro pub, situated on the waterfront of Whangarei Heads harbour. Try its classic menu which includes rustic pizzas, fresh sea food dishes, fish and chips, steak, burger and the famous Monteith Pie.