Discover the “Gathering Place of Whales”
At the tip of New Zealand’s Northland, Whangarei will capture your explorer spirit, and a little bit of your heart with its uniquely Kiwi way of life. The Maori first came here by canoe to enjoy the region’s abundance of seafood. Today, it’s a modern city on the edge of a subtropical forest that is vibrant, verdant, and home to a thriving art community.
The town centre is welcoming and charming, with colonial architecture and central streets filled with excellent art galleries, bars, restaurants, and cafes. Get your bearings with breakfast on Bank Street, then visit a former rock quarry that’s been transformed into a lush garden, solely through the efforts of volunteers. For even more botanical beauty, head to Botanica, where tropical plants and Japanese gardens bloom, or browse kooky and kitschy timepieces at Claphams Clock Museum.
Mount Parihaka, an ancient volcano, dominates the skyline as we pull into port, but for the best views around, we suggest making your way to the top. By foot or by car, it’s worth the trip to see one of the world’s more remote WWII monuments, and sweeping views of the harbor.
Even those that call New Zealand home are still discovering the pristine natural beauty of Whangarei. Most come for some of the world’s best diving and snorkelling excursions, caves where glowworms emit an otherworldly glow, and curtain waterfalls that will take your breath away.