Part of a scenic natural harbor, this sandy South Pacific beach in New Zealand’s Northland is a wonderful place to relax or get active in the outdoors.
Swim or surf in the cool waters of Mangawhai Heads Beach and laze on the white sands during a long weekend or summer escape from Auckland. Straddling the South Pacific coast, this idyllic beach is a good introduction to the subtropical north of New Zealand.
Marking the harbor's mouth, the offshore Crocodile Rocks are one of the most photographed features of Mangawhai Heads. Overlooked by the surf life saving club, this rocky shore with continuous wave action is a good place to surf. If you would rather just swim, stay between the flags to cool off in the waters of the South Pacific.
After all that sunbathing, surfing and swimming it’s time to explore. Follow the Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway a coastal track that takes you away from the beach and up into the dunes. The heather, grasslands and shrubs of these sand dunes are perfect nesting grounds for Caspian and fairy terns, oyster catchers and banded dotterels.
Just beyond the dunes there are the fertile farmlands of Northland. Buy some of the produce from these farms at Mangawhai village’s weekly markets. Head to the picnic tables next to the parking lot to eat your lunch with a view of the beach.
For an epic side trip, go scuba diving around the Mokohinau Islands, Great Barrier Island and Hen and Chicken Islands or hop on charter boats for a deep-sea fishing trip.
If you can, visit Mangawhai Heads Beach during the Mangawhai Walking Weekend in April. This energetic event usually coincides with the Mangawhai Food & Wine Festival.
Mangawhai Heads Beach is close to the town of Mangawhai, a couple of hours north of Auckland by car and only 1 hour south of Whangarei, Northland’s biggest city.
The Information Centre at Mangawhai Heads has up-to-date weather forecast information and brochures for watersports and touring options.