5 Best Things to Do in Whangaroa© Northland Inc
5 Best Things to Do in Whangaroa

10 Best Things to Do in Whangaroa

© Northland Inc
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Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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The Whangaroa Harbour: Northland’s Hidden Gem

The Whangaroa Harbour is a true hidden gem in the Northland region. Arguably, it’s one of the most stunning coasts you will find on the North Island with its fiord-like cliffs plunging into the ocean. What’s more, the Whangaroa Harbour is only 45 minutes north of the Bay of Islands, yet so many travellers miss it! The best ways to see the majestic Whangaroa Harbour is by foot on one of the many hiking trails, or by sea, whether it’s a guided cruise or a fishing tour. Make sure you discover this place for yourself and do the things to do in Whangaroa that we list right here.

1. Walk the Kaiaraara Rocks (Duke’s Nose) Track

This 45-minute one-way hike starts behind the Lane Cove Hut (see below) and climbs to some spectacular views overlooking the Whangaroa Harbour – a must-do if you have the time! Make your way to Kaiaraara Rocks (The Duke’s Nose) which has some metal wires at the end of the trail to help you climb the rocks.

Location: Via the Lane Cove Track (see below) or by boat to the Lane Cove Hut.

5 Best Things to Do in Whangaroa© Northland Inc

2. See Amazing Views from the St Paul’s Rock Track

A more accessible from the Whangaroa township, the St Paul’s Rock Track is a worthwhile walk in the Northland region. Climb through the native bush for about 30 minutes to reach the volcanic plug of the mountain – known as St Paul’s Rock – and take in the sensational views of the Whangaroa Harbour.

Location: Car park at the end of Hospital Road, Whangaroa.

5 Epic Things to Do in Whangaroa© Gadfium on Wikipedia

3. Fish for Marlin

Whangaroa proudly boasts being the “Marlin Capital of New Zealand” so if you’re into fishing, don’t miss the opportunity to get out on the water. There is an ever-changing offering of fishing charters available in the harbour that will have all the gear (and know-how) that you need. Plan more fishing for your trip in New Zealand with The Complete Guide to Fishing in New Zealand.

Location: Whangaroa Harbour.

5 Best Things to Do in Whangaroa© NZPocketGuide.com

4. Hike the Wairakau Stream/Lane Cove Track

For another amazing hiking track in the Whangaroa Harbour, take the Wairakau Stream Track. This 2-hour one-way hike is full of adventure with two stream crossings, possibly muddy sections after rain, and rocky terrain. The track emerges at Lane Cove and the Lane Cove Hut where you can stay overnight if booked online in advance. This walk can be linked with the Duke’s Nose Track (see above).

Location: On Totara North Road, turn onto Campbell Road where the walk starts around 400 m (437 yards) down the road. You will need to park on the grassy verge, as there is no parking area.

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5. Tour the Whangaroa Harbour by Boat

Capture the fiord-like cliffs and eroded volcanic landscape from the water by taking a Whangaroa Harbour cruise. There are a couple of operators at the Whangaroa Marina, including Whangaroa Harbour Adventures, who can take you on guided cruises to explore beautiful bays and beaches, as well as tell you about the fascinating geology of the area. There are also water taxi services that can transport you to and from the hikes mentioned above.

Location: Whangaroa Marina, Whangaroa.

5 Best Things to Do in Whangaroa© Northland Inc

6. Tee Off in Paradise

There are two ends of the spectrum when it comes to golf in Whangaroa; a prestigious world-renowned championship golf course or a charming local club. The Kauri Cliffs Golf Course at Matauri Bay often features in world rankings, as well as our own 20 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand. For something more down to earth, Whangaroa Gold Club welcomes visitors to their 18-hole course amidst native and exotic trees and park-like grounds.

Location: Kauri Cliffs – 139 Tepene Tablelands Road, Matauri Bay. Whangaroa Golf Club – 1745 State Highway 10, Whangaroa.

5 Best Things to Do in Whangaroa© Jacob Sjoman - Tourism New Zealand

7. Enjoy the Clifftop Mahinepua Peninsula Track

If the walks in Whangaroa weren’t enough, just north of the village is another rambler’s paradise, the Mahinepua Peninsula. Bask in coastal and Pacific Ocean views on the Mahinepua Peninsula Track, which extends 3 km (1.9 mi) over ridgetops taking around 1 hour to complete one way. This also includes a loop track three-quarters of the way through that encompasses views of offshore islands.

Location: Whangaroa Marina, Whangaroa.

5 Best Things to Do in Whangaroa© Unsplash

8. Do Some Beach Hopping

Just north of Whangaroa is a wealth of beaches for sunbathing, beachcombing, swimming, relaxing or whatever it is you like to do at the beach. Head north on Wainui Road to find access to Tauranga Bay and Butterfly Bay with a holiday park, Mahinepua Bay, Dolphin Bay, Piapia Bay and Te Ngaere Bay. You’re spoiled for choice!

Location: All named beaches can be accessed off Wainui Road, north of Whangaroa.

5 Best Things to Do in Whangaroa© Northland Inc

9. Walk Among Kauri in the Puketi Forest

While the coast kind of takes the limelight in Whangaroa, there are inland treasures to discover too. Approximately 35 minutes south of Whangaroa is the majestic Puketi Forest renowned for its magnificent kauri – the largest species of tree in New Zealand. A popular walk that’s suitable for families and wheelchair users is the Manginangina Kauri Walk, a 15-minute boardwalk loop that showcases enormous kauri trees. We also like the Puketi Nature Trail, which is similar but takes an hour to complete. For something longer, try the 4-hour Pirau Ridge Track. What’s more, guided nature tours of the forest and little-known sites are available with Puketi Adventures, offering insightful and unique experiences of this mesmerising forest.

Location: The Manginangina Kauri Walk is approximately 27 km (17 mi) from Whangaroa via Waiare Road. Yellow and green Department of Conservation (DOC) signs point out other walks in the Puketi Forest.

5 Best Things to Do in Whangaroa© NZPocketGuide.com

10. Visit Mangonui and Doubtless Bay

Just a 30-minute drive west of Whangaroa, Mangonui town is steeped in history evident through its old-worldly buildings housing shops, accommodations, cafes and more, including the “World-Famous” Mangonui Fish Shop. The town is also the gateway to Doubtless Bay and its scattering of charming coastal villages, vineyards and beaches. See the 15 Best Things to Do in Mangonui, Doubtless Bay for activity inspiration.

Location: Whangaroa Marina, Whangaroa.

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More Things to Do Near Whangaroa

That’s it for our list of things to do in Whangaroa. Once you’ve ticked these Whangaroa activities off your list, add to your itinerary the following towns:

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

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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