What To Do in Whangarei Heads

Explore the surrounding beauty of the Whangarei Heads Penninsula.

  • Beaches & Hiking
  • Kiwi Habitat
  • Abby Caves
  • Scenic Flights
  • Absailing, Kayaking, Golf & Fishing
  • Pubs & Cafes
  • Art Galleries
  • 2 of New Zealand’s top 10 walks (Mt Manaia and the Te Whara track)

A Diverse and Beautiful Peninsula

There are many things to do in Whangarei Heads ant its surroundings. The diversity of the scenery may surprise you, starting with the scenic drive out from Whangarei city center which winds around the harbor through pretty seaside communities. Mount Manaia and Mount Aubrey offer a stunning backdrop and challenging hikes just 5 minutes from the Whangarei Heads Yoga Retreat, and part of the Te Araroa trail which stretches 3000 km from North Cape to Bluff.

Ocean Beach, a world class surf beach featuring miles of fine white sand, is accessible by a 10 minute drive or a 5 hour hike across the headland ridge. Smugglers Bay and the Reotahi Marine reserve offer snorkeling and protected swimming beaches. Take a small boat over to the sandbank to watch the seabirds digging for shellfish.

Other local activities include a visit to a giant Kauri tree nearby, the local natural Kiwi habitat, abseiling, kayaking, scenic flights, caves, tennis, bowls, golf, cafes, pubs and restaurants, art galleries and the Easter art trail, or fishing off the McLeod Bay wharf, where you are bound to meet some interesting characters.

Besides Kiwi, you are likely to hear or see many other native birds in our streamside bush and the surrounding reserves.

Enjoy the wonderful scenery, look out for birds, and stop for a swim. Take water and a snack, and don’t forget the camera as the views are often breathtaking!

Within walking distance from WHY RETREAT to the track head 

  • Mount Manaia Track 3.5kms – the ultimate climb in the area for bush and views. Approx 3 hours return from WHY
  • Reotahi Point Walk – a 30 minute return walk from WHY to Reotahi Beach. Swim or snorkel at the Marine reserve or wander around the ruins of the freezing works (c1900).
  • Darch Point Walk – 1 hour loop track from WHY through bush around the point past the McLeod Bay Wharf and the historic Settlers Church 
  • Mt Aubrey Track – 1.5 – 2 hours loop track which goes over Mt Aubrey and includes the Reotahi point Walk 
  • Early Settlers Cemetary Walk – 1 hour return from WHY along the beach at McLeod Bay

Driving distance to parking area at the track heads (5 to 20 minutes)

  • SmugglersCove– an easy 20 minute walk straight over the saddle from the car park to a fabulous beach.
  • Busby Head Track – 1 hour loop. An easy walk takes you around Busby Head to Smugglers Bay, passing the WW2 gun emplacement at Home Point.
  •  Peach Cove Track 3.6kms – a rather steep 2 hour track over a saddle to a secluded cove
  • Bream Head/ Te Whara Track 7.5kms-a reasonable level of fitness, skill and experience is needed to walk the main tracks at Bream Head. 5 hours + of hard steep tramping with Iinks to several other tracks. 
  • Pataua Island Track- a short walk that skirts the Pataua estuary and goes to a lovely beach.The walk is flat and easy
  • Kauri Mountain Track 3kms – 1.5 hours. Walking from the north side gives great coastal views, from the south side you walk in lovely kauri bush. 
  • Taiharuru Estuary Walk 7kms– a low tide only walk, 2 hours

Click here to see the Department of Conservation walks around Whangarei Heads

Northland New Zealand is rated by Lonely Planet as number 3 of top destinations in Asia Pacific in 2019.
Click here for more things to do in the wider Northland region.


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