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- 10 May 2021, 3 nights
- 2 Guests
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Whangarei is New Zealand’s northernmost city, known locally as the Far North. It’s an area characterised by atmospheric caves, thick forests and towering mountains with ocean views. Beach lovers can find bliss on its sandy shores, while adventure seekers can find thrills under water in the region’s diving hotspots, like its marine reserve. At its core, you’ll find a pretty, chilled-out harbour town that showcases the area’s heritage through its museums, arts galleries and artisan markets.
You can find Whangarei hostels in the city centre or towards the region’s waterfalls. Stay in a quirky 1960s renovated police station, or in a rustic lodge surrounded by greenery and valley views. If you’re after some chill-out time, pick a Whangarei hostel with a swimming pool and hot tub. You can meet other travellers from all across the globe in the hostel’s communal kitchens, leafy terraces or over a barbecue night. Expect free Wi-Fi in all hostels, and extras like caving gear hire and DVD lounges in some.
Whangarei’s shops, restaurants and galleries are centred around its harbour. It’s also where you’ll find the Whangarei Growers' Market with local produce stalls, coffee vendors and live music every Saturday. Across the harbour is Limestone Island, a forest haven full of native fauna. On the outskirts of town are the reserves of Parihaka, home to forests and Mount Parihaka – an ancient volcano. The area also covers several beaches along the Tutukaka coast.
While in town wander along the Hatea Walkway to take in views of the marina and artist's Māori stone sculptures. If you’re into art, don't miss the Reyburn House Art Gallery and Whangarei Art Museum. Take a hike through A. H. Reed Kauri Park for its treetop forest trails, before heading a little further to the Whangarei Falls. The Abbey Caves, full of stalagmites and sparkling glow worms, are less than an hour’s trek from Whangarei. Towards the coast, Bream Bay is a surfer’s paradise, while Poor Knights Islands have marine life, coral and caves for diving adventures.
Whangarei Airport is only 6km southeast of the city centre and has flights from Auckland. You can also get the bus into town from here, as well as from other cities like Waipu, Paihia and Kerikeri. When you arrive, you’ll find that the city is mostly flat and easy to stroll around. To head out to the suburbs, you can hop on the local bus or hire a bike from the town centre.