8 Luxury Activities in Whangarei© David Kirkland - Northland Inc
8 Luxury Activities in Whangarei

10 Best Luxury Experiences in Whangarei

© David Kirkland – Northland Inc
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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Premium Tours and Experiences in Whangarei

Looking for something extra special in Whangarei? Perhaps for a special occasion or “just because”? The northernmost city in New Zealand provides an unforgettable stay with some of New Zealand’s best scuba diving on its doorstep, as well as luxurious farmstays, horse trekking on serene private beaches, enlightening Māori tours, and, well, we hardly need to spoil it all. Check out the list of luxury experiences in Whangarei below to discover more of Whangarei’s upscale tours and activities.

1. Dive or Cruise in the Famous Poor Knights Islands

A renowned diving spot, the Poor Knights Islands is just off the shores of Tutukaka. Cruise around these ancient volcanic islands with towering arches and large sea caves in between dives to discover colourful and diverse marine life thanks to the warm currents swept here from the Coral Sea. The Poor Knights Islands can be experienced through scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding with Dive! Tutukaka. Alternatively, snorkelling tours and scenic cruises around the islands with Fish Tutukaka and Perfect Day. For more ways to experience the area, check out the 10 Best Things to Do in Tutukaka.

Location: Tutukaka, approximately 28 km (18 mi) from Whangarei city centre.

8 Luxury Activities in Whangarei© David Kirkland - Northland Inc

2. Immerse in the Māori Culture on a Small-Group Tour

Connect with the indigenous culture of Whangarei through an authentic Maori tour with Tu Tika Tours. The Harding family offer two-hour and five-hour tours including transport to and from their family home. The full experience includes a traditional Māori welcoming ceremony, morning tea with traditional Māori cuisine, a weaving class, a singing lesson, a tour of Whangarei’s top sights and hidden gems, a Māori cooking lesson and more! Be prepared for an enlightening, personal and fun-filled experience.

Location: Pick-ups are included from the local area.

8 Luxury Activities in Whangarei© Tu Tika Tours - Viator

3. Golf in Paradise

Experience the great outdoors of Whangarei in a unique way at one of the serene golf courses in and around the city. The Waipu Golf Club is a superbly-maintained 18-hole course that features breathtaking views of islands, ocean and Bream Bay Beach. The Pines Golf Club is a short drive from the city in the Whangarei Heads, boasting sweeping views along with an interesting array of challenges. Northland Golf Club is a comprehensive club with lessons, a driving range and excellent food. And, of course, there’s always the Whangarei Golf Club; your inner-city parkland green on Mt Denby.

Location: Waipu Golf Club – 3229 State Highway 1, Waipu. The Pines Golf Club – 750 Whangarei Heads Road, Onerahi. Northland Golf Club – 160A Pipiwai Road, Kamo. Whangarei Golf Club – Par Lane, Tikipunga.

8 Luxury Activities in Whangarei© Pixabay

4. Ride the Beaches and Mountaintops on Horseback

Whangarei and its surrounding coast and farmland are arguably best explored on horseback. While you have plenty of options for horse trekking between Tuidale Stables and Coastal Riding Whangarei Heads, one of the premium experiences for experienced to intermediate riders is the “Ocean Valley to Hidden Heights” with Sandy Bay Glamping & Horse Tours on the Tutukaka Coast. The tour includes a climb up high farm tracks with commanding views of the Pacific Ocean and a picnic lunch at a private beach where you’ll have the opportunity to take the horses for a swim.

Location: Tuidale Stables – 51 Uretiti Road, Waipu. Sandy Bay Glamping & Horse Tours – 5 Mcauslin Road, Sandy Bay. Coastal Riding Whangarei Heads – 47 Harambee Road, Taiharuru.

8 Luxury Activities in Whangarei© NZPocketGuide.com

5. Enjoy a Guided Tour of the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery

Don’t just experience Whangarei’s premier attraction, delve deeper into the art, stories and history of the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery with a guided tour. The one-hour tour immerses visitors in the life, art and legacy of the famous local artist, visiting all three exhibitions of this whimsical art gallery. Tours are available from 11 am, Thursday to Sunday.

Location: 81 Dent Street, Whangarei city centre.

8 Best Luxury Experiences in Whangarei© Northland Inc

6. See the Sights of Whangarei on a Guided Tour

Don’t miss a thing in Whangarei by experiencing the city with a local. Whangarei Tours offers private tours which are fully customisable to your desired timeframe, destinations and what you’re interested in. The down-to-earth experience allows visitors to ask questions and learn about unique aspects of Whangarei and Northland. Tours are also available in German.

Location: Meeting point to be arranged with the operator.

8 Best Luxury Experiences in Whangarei© NZPocketGuide.com

7. Indulge in Fine Dining

Discover the real flavours and hospitality of New Zealand dining at Whangarei’s premium restaurants. When you think of fine dining in Whangarei, TopSail is the first go-to and for good reason. The eatery perched on the coast of Whangarei Heads offers contemporary New Zealand cuisine on impeccably presented plates. For something more down to earth yet still able to impress, Split Bar & Restaurant in the city mixes refreshing cocktails, as well as fresh local seafood, beef, lamb, wine and beers. Of course, there’s much more to choose from, and we list the highlights in The Food Guide to Whangarei: Places to Eat & Food Tours.

Location: TopSail – 206 Beach Road, Onerahi. Split Bar & Restaurant – 15 Rathbone Street.

8 Luxury Activities in Whangarei© David Kirkland - Northland Inc

8. Catch “Red Fish” on a Private Fishing Charter

Try your luck at catching some of the “red fish” of the Whangarei waters, including granddaddy hapuku, pink maomao, red pigfish, crayfish and more on a private fishing charter. Oakura Bay Fish, Dive & Cruise offers a range of small-boat fishing charters ranging from a two-hour “Learn to Fish” trip to a 10-hour “Serious! Full-day Fishing Adventure”. Weather permitting, trips also include cruises to the Hole in the Rock or the Poor Knights Islands. There are also Bream Bay Charters in Bream Bay and Cronin Fishing Charters at Whangarei Heads for more options nearby.

Location: a-Oakura Bay Fish, Dive & Cruise – 207 Oakura Beach Road, RD4 Hikurangi. Bream Bay Charters – 58 Rauiri Drive, Marsden Cove. Cronin Fishing Charters – 71 Ritchie Road, Parua Bay. All are approximately 24-50 km (15-31 mi) from Whangarei city centre.

8 Luxury Activities in Whangarei© NZPocketGuide.com

9. Do a Golf Cart Tour of the Whangarei Quarry Gardens

A derelict quarry transformed into a subtropical oasis, the Whangarei Quarry Gardens is the ultimate story of restoration. While most visit these gardens and its cafe and art gallery independently, garden volunteers offer guided walking and even golf cart tours for a minimum of five people. Learn about the interesting history and plants of this unique park on a one-hour guided experience with passionate and knowledgeable guides.

Location: 37A Russell Road, Kensington, Whangarei, approximately 4 km (2 mi) from Whangarei city centre just off State Highway 1.

8 Best Luxury Experiences in Whangarei© NZPocketGuide.com

10. Explore the Coast by Kayak

Paddle somewhere stunning like the Whangarei Harbour, the Tutukaka Coast or even the Poor Knights Islands; there are plenty of options in Whangarei! While not classically “luxurious”, Pacific Coast Kayaks offers a seemingly never-ending menu of small-group and often private kayak tours ranging from half-day adventures to overnight expeditions. See how these tours compare to the 10 Best Spots for Sea Kayaking in New Zealand.

Location: 70 Beach Road, Onerahi, approximately 8 km (5 mi) from Whangarei city centre.

8 Best Luxury Experiences in Whangarei© Northland Inc

[CLOSED] Enjoy a Farm Experience and Get Pampered at Helena Bay Lodge

Stay at the luxurious Helena Bay Lodge on the Tutukaka Coast and you’ll have access to an exciting array of experiences. Choose the way you spend your time here, whether it’s exploring more than 324ha (800 acres) of rolling coastal farmland on Polaris 4WD Rangers, testing your shooting skills on the clay bird shooting range, feeding the farm animals on a farm and garden tour or something else. The luxury lodge even has its own spa which is all the more heavenly after a day of adventuring.

Location: Helena Bay, 42 km (26 mi) north of Whangarei city centre.

More About Whangarei

That’s it for the best luxury experiences in Whangarei. For more advice on planning your visit, be sure to check out The Luxury Guide to Whangarei, as well as these:

Finally, find even more tips to make your luxury getaway exceptional in The Luxury Travel Guide to New Zealand.


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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