With excellent cultural attractions and close proximity to the region’s most beautiful natural areas, New Zealand’s northernmost city is a great base for exploring the country’s Northland Region.

Come to Whangarei for its golden beaches, striking harbours, subtropical gardens and the local produce featured at its restaurants and markets. Visit museums, art galleries and many excellent shopping areas. Enjoy events year-round, including artisan fairs and outdoor opera performances, which contribute to Whangarei’s tight-knit community.

Stop by the Whangarei Harbour to cast a line with local fishermen or to watch scallop divers ducking beneath the surface of the water. A short drive from the city will lead you to Whangarei’s best swimming beaches. Head to Ruakaka, one of the region’s top beaches, just 29 kilometres (18 miles) from the city. Enjoy a refreshing dip after walking many of Northland’s scenic nature trails.

One such trail is the Mount Manaia Track. Follow the 3.5-kilometre (2.2-mile) hiking trail to the summit of Mount Manaia and on the way see native regenerating bush and stunning views of Bream Head and the surrounding Northland Region wilderness areas. The start of the track is less than 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the heart of Whangarei.

Back in town, visit the beautiful subtropical landscapes of Whangarei Quarry Gardens to see floral displays and dense forested areas. The former quarry contains many gardens, including an arid garden with cacti and succulents. Stop by the small on-site café for coffee and pastries.

Examine one of the largest sundials in the Southern Hemisphere at Claphams National Clock Museum, featuring a collection of almost 1,500 clocks. The museum hosts free guided tours, which can be tailored to suit your interests. See historic, fine art and antique clocks in the museum’s many fascinating displays.

Shop for fresh vegetables, subtropical fruits and artisan cheeses every Saturday at Whangarei Growers Market. The city also features many retail stores, gift shops and cafés with outdoor seating. Visit Cameron Street Mall, a paved pedestrian mall with some of the city’s best restaurants and stores.

Reach Whangarei’s city centre via the nearby Whangarei Airport or drive to Whangarei from Auckland in just over 2 hours. The regional capital of Northland has many cultural attractions in town and stunning natural beauty in its surrounds.

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