Orewa Activities and Attractions You Can’t Miss!
Just 25 minutes north from Auckland city, the stunning beachside boutique town of Orewa is the idyllic lunch/shopping/ice cream stop when making your way between Auckland and sunny Northland. Orewa has a range of landscapes to enjoy via walking and cycling trails with a wealth of scenic viewing places, many of which encapsulate the pristine 3km-long Orewa Beach. The town itself is packed with shops and cafes making it a great spot to relax, do some boutique shopping, and dine al fresco at one of the many cafes. What’s more, you’ll find most facilities you’ll need for a road trip north, as Orewa has free high-speed wifi throughout the town, as well as picnic tables, toilets, beach showers and more.
Find out what you could be getting up to in this town of something for everyone – families, solo travellers, teens and couples – in this list of things to do in Orewa.
1. Relax on Orewa Beach
Let’s start with the most obvious thing to do when you arrive in Orewa and see that long inviting stretch of beach: go to Orewa Beach! There’s 3km of sandy shores to enjoy lined with Regal and Norfolk pines planted by the father of the world-famous mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary. Plus, it’s one of the safest swimming beaches in the Auckland region. So go for a dip, a stroll, a picnic or hire watersports equipment to try out windsurfing, paddleboarding and more.
2. Discover the Restaurant Scene
Orewa has a surprisingly thriving and diverse hospitality scene for such a quaint town, a highlight being the buzzing and boutique al fresco dining precinct. In fact, there are more than 52 eateries which are all locally owned and operated! Whether it’s ice cream, coffee and cake, or fine dining, Orewa has cafes and restaurants to suit all styles and tastes. Check out some of the delightful cafes on the Orewa Beach website.
3. Do Some Boutique Shopping
Orewa has a fantastic boutique shopping scene with clothing, sports and accessory shops offering everything from beachwear to activewear to formal wear – who needs to go to Auckland Central? What’s more, those who love a bargain, upscaling or vintage style will love the six popular and bustling secondhand clothing shops in Orewa. Check out the shops’ addresses and opening hours on the Orewa Beach website.
4. Walk or Cycle the Orewa Estuary (Te Ara Tahuna Walk and Cycleway)
One of the most popular walking/biking trails in the Orewa area is the Te Ara Tahuna Walk and Cycleway following the edge of the Orewa estuary. The whole trail is 7.7km long, sealed and ideal for all levels of fitness. There are bikes available to rent from the two local bike shops in town. Additionally, there are more than 20 signposted and picturesque walkways from Orewa to the far end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. Maps and track descriptions can be found in the Orewa Beach Brochure here.
5. Take on Some Watersports
Orewa Beach is the ideal beach for watersports all year round. You’ll find the shores bustling with swimmers and beachgoers in summer, while watersports fanatics harness the elements in the cooler months. Whether you prefer a peaceful kayaking or paddleboarding trip on the estuary or high-energy high-speed kitesurfing experience, there’s something to suit all water-lovers. Speaking of paddleboarding, for information on more paddleboarding experiences throughout the country, see our 10 Best Places to SUP in New Zealand.
6. Check Out the Art Galleries
Get inspired at the two art galleries of Orewa. The Estuary Arts Centre features regular exhibitions from world-class artists of all genres, as well as art, pottery, mosaic and 3D art classes. You might also want to take advantage of their cafe and gift shop. Another option is the Marshall Gallery, which incorporates a stunning art gallery and boutique homeware store. If you can’t get enough of Orewa’s art scenery, do an art trail from Orewa by travelling to galleries and sculpture trails in Warkworth and Snells Beach and up to Matakana.
7. Stay in Memorable Accommodation
Once you arrive in Orewa, you can’t help but want to stick around for longer, which is easily done with the selection of motels and backpacker lodges within a five-minute walk of the town centre and beach. Plus, Orewa has an ever-growing number of holiday homes and Airbnb options, many with sea views and within easy reach of facilities and services. For instance, the Nautilus Ramada provides a one-stop holiday option in the heart of the town with a pool, gymnasium, ocean views and restaurants at the foot of the building, while the Orewa Beach Holiday Park is absolute beachfront with fabulous cabins and glamping tents. Check out more accommodation options on the Orewa Airbnb page (and don’t forget your free $50 Airbnb credit on us)!
8. Check out the Orewa Markets and Events
Being flat and beside a stunning beach, Orewa can’t help but be a perfect location for events and markets – of which there are many to choose from year-round. The town has a comprehensive schedule of free community events from November to April suitable for all ages and cultures. Regular year-round markets feature local stallholders showcasing a huge range of locally made crafts, clothes, gifts and produce, which include the weekly farmers market on Sundays, 8am to 12.30pm, and the Orewa Artisan Market on the second and last Sunday of each month from 8.30am to 1pm.
9. Visit the Shakespear and Wenderholm Regional Parks
At the tip of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Shakespear Regional Park has a number of walks taking you to sheltered bays, through bush remnants, to clifftop lookouts and through farmland. The park offers sweeping views across the coast and the Hauraki Gulf. Alternatively, the Wenderholm Regional Park sits at the mouth of the picturesque Puhoi River surrounded by forested headlands. Stroll through hectares of greenery surrounded by beaches, scenery, walkways and stunning views or relax, paddle, kayak, swim, snorkel or SUP – there’s ample space for everyone. Note that all regional parks are designated as sanctuaries for wildlife, so no fishing is permitted.
10. Go on an Amazing Day Trip
There are multiple day trip possibilities well within an hour’s easy drive of Orewa, including golfing at Gulf Harbour, sculpture trails, wine trails, hiking in regional parks, cycling, indoor skiing and more! One of our favourite types of day trips is catching the Fullers ferry across the adjacent Hauraki Gulf to the islands of Tiritiri Matangi for birds and flora and fauna, Kawau Island for history and crystal clear waters, Waiheke Island for wine trails and stunning beaches, or challenge yourself and climb the largest of Auckland’s 48 volcanic cones – the majestic Rangitoto Island. Find out more about these islands in our The 10 Best Islands in Auckland to Visit. However, if you want to stick to dry land, take a road trip to the west coast, about a 45-minute drive from Orewa, to the black sand surf beaches of Muriwai, Piha and more as listed in Where to Find Black Sand Beaches in Auckland.