russellstreet on Flickr© russellstreet on Flickr
russellstreet on Flickr

10 Best Things to Do in Mangawhai

© russellstreet on Flickr

The Activities in Mangawhai and Mangawhai Heads You Can’t Miss

If you’re looking for a seaside paradise in New Zealand, then you will not be disappointed with Mangawhai! Located 1h20mins drive north of Auckland and 2 hours below the Bay of Islands, Mangawhai makes a great little pit stop on a Northland road trip! The little settlement known as both Mangawhai and Mangawhai Heads is brimming with surf, sea, sand, art, culture, cuisine and outdoor adventures. Find out what you could be getting up to with this list of things to do in Mangawhai!

Of Mangawhai is just a small part of the Northland region, so make sure you explore the rest with these guides:

1. Hike the Mangawhai Cliff Walk

Climb coastal cliffs and revel in the rugged coastal scenery on the Mangawhai Cliff Walk. This 9km (6-mile) return walk takes between two to three hours to complete, following a well-marked trail. The track starts at the end of the surf beach and starts off with a steep 20 minute climb up some steps to the first lookout – return from the lookout for a worthwhile yet shorter alternative to the 3-hour hike.

Location: Start from the car park at the end of Wintle Street.

 Sids1 on Flickr© Sids1 on Flickr

2. Relax on Mangawhai Heads Beach

You can find two very different beach experiences at Mangawhai Heads: the sheltered waters of the harbour or the roaring waves of the surf beach. The best place for surfing is by the surf club at the end of Wintle Road. Otherwise, you can find nice swimming spots along the harbour.

Location: For the surf beach, park your car at the end of Wintle Road. For harbour beach access, park at the end of Mangawhai Heads Road or North Avenue.

 russellstreet on Flickr© russellstreet on Flickr

3. Check Out the Mangawhai Village Market

Grab some real New Zealand souvenirs and try some local produce at the Mangawhai Village Market. The market takes place every Saturday morning with stalls selling an array of foods from artisan cheese to olive oils. There are also craft stalls and plenty of opportunities to grab some sweet treats too.

Location: 45 Moir Street.

Pexels© Pexels

4. Do the Estuary Walk

See fascinating and rare native species of birds and plants on this walk. This 3-hour return walk is best done at low tide to keep the wet feet to a minimum. Look out for New Zealand dotterel and be careful where you stand, as they lay eggs in the sand.

Location: Start at the tractor track at the end of Raymond Bull Road.©

5. Hike in the Tanekaha Forest

Just 6km (4 miles) inland from Mangawhai Heads is a forest filled with walks, waterfalls and stunning views. In the Tanekaha Forest, choose from 2-hour Tanekaha Falls Track, the 1-hour Tanekaha Forest Track, Langsview Track, Tanekaha Pururi Track and Tanekaha Botanical Track.

Location: Walks start from the Tanekaha Forest car park just of King Road.©

6. Visit the Mangawhai Museum

This modern-style museum is an affordable activity to do in Mangawhai, with adult admission being under NZ$15. Learn the stories of the Mangawhai and the role that the harbour has played on early Maori settlers, European settlers and today’s holidaymakers.

Location: Corner of Thelma Street and Molesworth Drive.

Mangawhai Museum© Mangawhai Museum

7. Pick up Some Cheese from the Kaiwaka Cheese Shop

The Kaiwaka Cheese Shop stocks both local and imported cheese that would make any cheese-lover happy. Offering a wider range than what’s usually available in New Zealand supermarkets, don’t miss the opportunity to treat yourself!

Location: 1957 State Highway 1 (10 minutes drive from Mangawhai).©

8. Try Some Chocolate at Bennetts

If there weren’t enough places to sample mouth-watering cuisine in Mangawhai, here’s one more to add to the list. Bennetts of Mangawhai is a chocolatier company with a cafe, chocolate shop and they even host chocolate workshops for the kids.

Location: 52 Moir Street.©

9. Bike to the Wineries and Olive Orchards

Hire a bike from one of the two operators in town and do your own self-guided bike tour of Mangawhai! Popular highlights at the local wineries, such as Millars Vineyard and Te Whai Bay Wines, as well as the olive orchards Toru Waiwai Olive Grove and Echo Valley Olives.

Location: Bike hire is available with Wined Out Bike Tours and Bike Mangawhai.©

10. Play Golf

Visitors are welcome to play at the all-weather course at the Mangawhai Golf Club. Test your skills on this links-style championship course set among natural parkland. Hire some gear from the golf shop and spend a great day outdoors! For more places to play, check out 21 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand.

Location: Molesworth Drive.

Pixabay© pixabay


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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