Skip to Content

Exploring New Zealand

Home > North Island > Northland > Whangarei

Whangarei Area Guide

Looking across Bream Bay to Bream Head,
entrance to Whangarei Harbour - ©
Whangarei is the capital and largest town of Northland, and also the name of the surrounding region. Like many other areas in Northland, Whangarei's character is dominated by agriculture, tourism, water sports, arts and crafts.

The town (technically a city) is home to a port and boat building industry, complemented by an international marina and riverside developments. The area around the waterfront is rich with art galleries, craft shops, cafes and restaurants.

As such it offers the visitor a couple of days of urban respite before traveling north to the Kauri forests and empty coastlines beyond. It's also a handy base for exploring some of the region's own beaches.

The city sits at the edge of a large natural estuary and harbour area with its own coves, beaches and inlets. But sand and water lovers will likely take the short drive south to popular seaside spots around Bream Bay, north to Oakura Bay, or east to Tutukaka and Ngunguru.

These last two locations commonly host those looking to explore Whangarei's world famous diving sites, including the Poor Knights Islands marine reserve.

Inland, Whangarei has parks, gardens and wineries for those seeking an alternative to the sea air. Not to mention the national clock museum and the aforementioned art galleries in the city itself.