The sun-kissed delights of New Zealand’s Northland come together around this vibrant natural harbor, whether you swim or surf at the Heads or browse the Village.
Mangawhai has an active vibe, with myriad beach and watersports activities, coastal walking tracks, skate parks and playgrounds. If you would rather take it easy, get your culture and foodie fix in the village and then soak up the sunshine along the beaches of the heads.
Mangawhai Heads and the Village of Mangawhai are linked by a causeway across the harbor. On either side you can enjoy the water, the sand dunes, bushlands and native wetlands. Book boat trips to the Mokohinau Islands, Hen and Chicken Islands and Great Barrier Island if you’re a diver.
Marking the harbor's mouth, the Crocodile Rocks are a Mangawhai icon. From the life savers’ surf club and picnic area above, locals and tourists alike watch the surfers outdo each other in the waves. Stroll along the beach and swim in the inviting waters of the South Pacific. Go kayaking in the estuary and harbor, which are subject to tidal movements and provide a good workout. The jetty is perfect to fish from and tackle and bait are sold locally.
Browse the appealing Mangawhai Museum for an introduction to the region. Learn about bygone Māori battles, shipwrecks and gold, the harbor and the plight of the fairy tern. Find these rare birds along the Coastal Track. The partly protected dunes are the nesting grounds of three tern species, banded dotterels and oyster catchers.
The Mangawhai Walking Weekend draws in the crowds in March or April and usually goes hand in hand with the Mangawhai Food & Wine Festival. Taste the Bennetts chocolates, wines and olive oils that are so lovingly produced here. Visit the year-round Village Market on a Saturday morning and the Beach and Country Market in summer. If you play golf, don’t miss the scenic Mangawhai Golf Course.
Mangawhai Heads is about 2 hours north of Auckland and 1 hour south of Whangarei by car. There are plenty of accommodations options in the region.
Visit the Information Centre at the heads for weather and sea reports and other tips for your stay. As they will tell you: you haven’t seen Northland if you haven’t experienced the magic of Mangawhai.