15 Best Things to Do in Mangonui, Doubtless Bay ⛱️ [2024]

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The Activities in Doubtless Bay You Can’t Miss

Beaches! So many beaches! If the coast is what you crave then Mangonui and the surrounding Doubtless Bay is your place. With more than 70 km of unspoilt coastline packed with golden-sand beaches and rocky headlands, Doubtless Bay is the ultimate beach destination in New Zealand. What’s more, the sub-tropical climate means that the weather is mostly sunny and warm year-round. Find this piece of paradise right in between the Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga, so if you’re planning a Far North road trip, don’t miss Doubtless Bay! What’s more, you’ll find it impossible to get bored with this list of things to do in Mangonui and Doubtless Bay!

1. Visit Rangikapiti Pā

Not only does the Rangikapiti Pā provide amazing panoramic views, but it’s also a historical site. A pā site is an old Maori fortified village and the remains of the village can still be seen today in the distinct terraces and defensive ditch carved into the hill. Either walk or drive to the top of the hill.

Location: Rangikapiti Road, Mangonui.

Berlin-George on Wikipedia© Berlin-George on Wikipedia

2. Hike the Maitai Bay Headland Track

Cross rolling green farmland and native manuka forest on your way to some rewarding views of Maitai Bay and Waikato Bay. The Maitai Bay Headland Track takes about 1 hr 30 mins to complete and can be found on the Karikari Peninsula. Parts of the track are not as obvious to follow as other tracks in New Zealand so make sure you follow the orange markers.

Location: Start from the Maitai Bay Campsite, at the end of Maitai Road, Karikari Peninsula, approximately 34 km (21 mi) northwest of Mangonui.

10 Best Things to Do in Doubtless Bay© David Kirkland - Northland Inc

3. Climb Up Mt Puheke

For more amazing views of the Karikari Peninsula, don’t miss Mt Puheke! Otherwise known as Puheke Hill, Mt Puheke is one of the very few volcanoes in Northland. Rising 130 m (426.5 ft) above sea level, you’ll get incredible views, especially of the 18 km (11-mi)-long Tokerau Beach. What’s more, it’s only a 20-minute climb to the viewpoint from the road.

Location: Puheke Road, Karikari Peninsula, approximately 34 km (21 mi) from Mangonui. Park at the lower car park on the gravel road. There is a higher car park, but it’s only suitable for 4×4 vehicles.

Pexels© Pexels

4. Visit Coca-Cola Lake

Although its real name is Lake Rotopokaka, Coca-Cola Lake takes this new common name thanks to the dark tannins making the water coloured like Coca-Cola. The lake is a popular swimming spot, especially since those dark waters get nice and warm on sunny days, as well as picnicking. For those who want to explore a bit further, there is an easy walking track from the lake to Tokerau Beach, the Karikari Peninsula’s longest beach!

Location: Ramp Road, Karikari Peninsula, approximately 19 km (12 mi) from Mangonui.

 Summer Skyes 11 on Flickr© Summer Skyes 11 on Flickr

5. Check Out the Taumarumaru Reserve

An easy 40-minute loop walk takes you around the Taumarumaru Scenic Reserve famous for holding three Maori pā sites! See terraces and storage pits etched into this rocky headland and find a small and secluded beach along the way.

Location: Along State Highway 10 signposted between Coopers Beach and Cable Bay, approximately 1.6 km (1 mi) west of Mangonui.

 Andrew Lynch on Flickr© Andrew Lynch on Flickr

6. Do Some Wine Tasting

The Karikari Estate is New Zealand’s northernmost winery, complete with a tasting room, cellar door sales and cafe. Relax with a glass among the vines and revel in the amazing coastal scenery. Alternatively, Dancing Petrel Wines boasts a unique location on Paewhenua Island nestled in the Mangonui Harbour. They are open by appointment only. For more great wineries, see the 10 Best Wine Tours in New Zealand.

Location: Karikari Estate – Matai Bay Road, Karikari Peninsula, approximately 31 km (19 mi) northwest of Mangonui. Dancing Petrel Wines – 2/2958 State Highway 10, RD1, Mangonui.

Pixabay© Pixabay

7. Explore the Town of Mangonui

Steeped in both Maori and European history, Mangonui itself is home to some old-worldly buildings showing that it was once a bustling whaling and trading town. Now the heritage buildings are shops, accommodation, cafes and more! Mangonui is a sweet place to walk around, and don’t forget to grab yourself some fish and chips from the “World-Famous” Mangonui Fish Shop.

Location: Mangonui, just off State Highway 10.

10 Best Things to Do in Doubtless Bay© Northland Inc

8. Take a Tour to Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach

Hitting the “top of the north” is on most adventure travellers’ bucket lists. Mangonui is a great base to start this trip with some tours doing pick-ups in the town. Take a scenic bus journey onto the sands of Ninety Mile Beach, do some sandboarding down the sand dunes, and see the picture-perfect Cape Reinga Lighthouse.

Location: Dune Rider Tours and Northland Taxi Shuttles & Tours do pick-ups from Mangonui.©

9. Visit the Butler Point Whaling Museum

Get a glimpse into the heritage of New Zealand at the Butler Point Whaling Museum, just off the shores of Mangonui. Check out fascinating relics on display, including the original 1840s home of a whaling captain. All of this is surrounded by breathtaking gardens and coastal views; a hidden gem you’ll be glad to discover.

Location: 31 Merchant Road, approximately 12 km (7.3 mi) west of Mangonui. From State Highway 10, turn onto Hihi Road then Merchant Road. The museum and gardens are open by appointment.

Winstonwolfe on Wikipedia© Winstonwolfe on Wikipedia

10. Go to the Beach

We can’t go without mentioning all the amazing golden-sand beaches in Doubtless Bay! First, you have Taipa Beach with both open ocean and an estuary, perfect for swimming, fishing and launching a boat. There’s also the picturesque Cable Bay with its unique pinkish sand and rock pools to explore. Coopers Beach stretches 2 km (1.2 mi) along State Highway 10, which is safe for swimming and backed with pohutukawa trees. Don’t miss Hihi Beach at sunset. And finally, if all these beaches weren’t enough then you need only drive up the Karikari Peninsula to find Perehipe, Tokerau, Maitai Bay, Rangiputa and Puheke Beaches!

Location: All over Doubtless Bay!©

5 More Things to Do in Mangonui, Doubtless Bay

And for some honourable mentions, here are five more amazing things to do in Mangonui, Doubtless Bay:

  1. Doubtless Bay Charters – Enjoy the sights of Doubtless Bay from the water while catching fish aboard Asterix – Departs Mangonui
  2. Matthews Vintage Collection – Admire a privately owned collection of vintage cars and farming machinery dating back to the early 1900s – State Highway 10 Aurere, RD3, Kaitaia
  3. Mark Daniells Art Studio – Browse an array of fine art inspired by the local area – 126 Waterfront Drive, Mangonui
  4. Wairakau Stream Track – This 2-hr one-way hike takes you over a saddle to the secluded Lane Cove – Campbell Road, Whangaroa
  5. Duke’s Nose (Kaiaraara Rocks) Track – Head south to the Whangaroa Harbour for dramatic scenery from this 45-minute one-way track. See more activities nearby in the 5 Best Things to Do in Whangaroa.

And if all else fails, you can always enjoy an ice cream by the beach! The Cable Bay Store (State Highway 10, Cable Bay) is a good go-to!

10 Best Things to Do in Doubtless Bay© Northland Inc

More Things to Do Near Mangonui and Doubtless Bay

While you’re exploring the Northland region, check out these other nearby towns and destinations:

That’s it for the best things to do in Doubtless Bay. For more activities on your travels, check out the 50 Best Things to Do in the North Island.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Robin C.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Robin, who is the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. With more than 15 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, Robin has co-founded three influential tourism businesses and five additional travel guides for South Pacific nations. He is an expert in New Zealand travel and has tested over 600 activities and 300+ accommodations across the country.

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