Try some watersports in this idyllic bay in New Zealand’s remote Northland, a perfect stop over on your way to the famous lighthouse on Cape Rēinga.
Doubtless Bay is one big watersports playground. Go fishing, kayaking, sailing, diving, stand-up paddleboarding or swimming and then relax on the beach or in a seafood café.
Stretching north from Coopers Beach to Whatuwhiwhi, Doubtless Bay is horseshoe shaped and named so because Captain James Cook dryly observed in 1769 that it was “doubtless a bay.”
Start your explorations at Coopers Beach and Cable Bay, two popular vacation spots with excellent swimming beaches.
In nearby Taipa, visit the Taute Gallery & Tours for live carving, weaving and tamoko (tattooing) demonstrations and workshops by local Māori artists. Also try a mirimiri (healing massage), rongoa (natural therapy) and buy pottery or artistic prints for a souvenir.
Drive out onto the Karikari Peninsula to see the northern tip of Doubtless Bay. Stroll along Perehipe Beach and explore Matai Bay. Whatuwhiwhi is a vacation resort at the northern end of Tokerau Beach. These beaches are all excellent fishing spots due to the presence of paddle crabs and tua tua, which are nibbled on by snapper.
Of course, you can also just order your fish, with some chips. Find one of the country’s most praised seafood cafés in Mill Bay in Mangonui, a picture-perfect town at Doubtless Bay’s southern tip. Munch on deep-fried squid rings, green-lipped mussels or oysters while stingrays cruise by in the waters below. Don’t miss the wonderful art in the historic, kauri-wooden Mangonui Courthouse. Talented locals stock the gallery’s art shop with truly original creations. Stay the night in town for a chance to see penguins waddle ashore at dusk.
Mangonui once housed one of the largest whaling fleets in the South Pacific. At nearby Butler Point, explore the Whaling Museum housed in a 1840s homestead. Admire the kauri whaleboat and explore the garden with its macadamia nut tree orchard and pōhutukawa (Christmas) trees. Butler Point also has a former Māori hilltop fort, called a pā.
Doubtless Bay is about halfway along the coastal road from the Bay of Islands to the lighthouse on Cape Rēinga, making it the perfect place for a refreshing stop on your way north.
From fishing to discovering Māori culture, you doubtlessly will want to return after experiencing the lifestyle in idyllic Doubtless Bay.