The Luxury Travel Guide to Whangarei© Northland Inc
The Luxury Travel Guide to Whangarei

The Luxury Travel Guide to Whangarei

© Northland Inc

How to Plan a Luxury Trip to Whangarei

Escape the hustle and bustle and head north to the subtropical harbourside city of Whangarei. Tucked on the inner harbour of the scenic and coastal Whangarei Heads, Whangarei is a place to discover breathtaking scenery, indulge in fresh local cuisine and connect with the Māori culture in intimate private tours. You’ll find unique off-the-beaten-track experiences all within a short drive of the city, whether it’s a luxury farmstay or scuba diving the uncrowded waters of the Poor Knights Islands. We’ll guide you through it all in this luxury guide to Whangarei.

10 Luxury Activities in Whangarei

Get a taste of what a luxury getaway to Whangarei looks like with this list of luxury activities:

  1. Dive and cruise in the famous Poor Knights Islands
  2. Enjoy a guided tour of the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery
  3. Immerse in the Māori culture on Tu Tika Tours
  4. Test your swing at one of Whangarei’s stunning golf courses
  5. Ride from beaches to mountaintops on a horse trekking tour
  6. Indulge in fine dining at TopSail, The QUAY and more
  7. Catch a “red fish” on a private fishing charter
  8. See the sights of Whangarei with Whangarei Tours
  9. Do a golf cart tour of the Whangarei Quarry Gardens
  10. Explore the coast on a kayaking tour.

Learn more about each experience in the 10 Best Luxury Experiences in Whangarei. Or simply keep on reading…

The Luxury Guide to Whangarei©

Outdoor Luxury Experiences

Whangarei offers a wealth of experiences for that special trip of a lifetime, whether it’s diving the famous Poor Knights Islands or trekking the beautiful beaches of the Whangarei Heads on horseback.

Poor Knights Islands

Arguably one of the best diving locations in New Zealand, the Poor Knights Islands is just off the shores of Tutukaka, approximately 28 km (18 mi) from Whangarei city centre. These ancient volcanic islands not only take your breath away with their towering arches and expansive sea caves, but the marine life is colourful and diverse thanks to the warm currents swept here from the Coral Sea. Experience the Poor Knights Islands 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.

Whangarei Golf Courses

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 (Waipu) is a superbly-maintained 18-hole course that features breathtaking views of islands, ocean and Bream Bay Beach. The Pines Golf Club (Onerahi) is a short drive from the city in the Whangarei Heads, boasting sweeping views along with an interesting array of challenges. Northland Golf Club (Kamo) is a comprehensive club with lessons, a driving range and excellent food. And, of course, there’s always the Whangarei Golf Club (Tikipunga); your inner-city parkland green on Mt Denby.

Horse Riding

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 (Waipu) and Coastal Riding Whangarei Heads (Taiharuru), 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.

For more inspiration for your stay, be sure to check out the 10 Best Luxury Experiences in Whangarei.

The Luxury Travel Guide to Whangarei© Northland Inc

All-Weather Luxury Activities

It’s no secret that the weather doesn’t always play ball in New Zealand and the same can sometimes be said for Whangarei. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend the whole day back at your accommodation sipping on local wines (although, that’s also not a bad idea either).

Tu Tika Tours

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. Pick-ups are included from the local area.

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 (81 Dent Street) 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.

Again, more ideas are listed in the 10 Best Luxury Experiences in Whangarei.

The Luxury Travel Guide to Whangarei© Northland Inc

Luxury Dining in Whangarei

While Whangarei’s restaurant scene is a smorgasbord of international cuisine, some of the most premium dining experiences showcase the best of New Zealand fare.

Perched on the coast of Whangarei Heads, TopSail (206 Beach Road, Onerahi) offers contemporary New Zealand fine dining.

In the city centre and more down-to-earth yet able to impress, Split Bar & Restaurant (15 Rathbone Street) mixes up tasty cocktails, as well as fresh local seafood, beef, lamb, wine and beers.

An upscale Asian affair can be found at No.8 (8 Quayside) in the fabulous Town Basin end of town. Indulge in contemporary Asian cuisine with a vibrant menu of meat, seafood and cocktails.

For a waterfront setting and something for everyone (including vegans and gluten-free), check out The QUAY Kitchen (31 Quayside) boasting creative menus for brunch, lunch and dinner.

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.

More About Whangarei

That’s it for the luxury travel guide to Whangarei. For more about planning a special trip to Whangarei, check out the following guides:

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


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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