Sprawling around the waters of Mangawhai Harbour, this small township lies on the spectacular east coast of the North Island. It boasts magnificent coastal walks and idyllic beaches, as well as one of the best museums in the region.
Things to do in Mangawhai
Spot migrating whales along the Mangawhai Cliff Walk, which extends from Bream Head to the Tāwharanui Peninsula. Hike past ancient pōhutukawa trees and atop sheer cliffs as you take in the sweeping coastal views all the way to Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel Peninsula.
Learn about life around the harbour at the Mangawhai Museum, where the roof is designed in the shape of a stingray to reflect the meaning of the town’s name. Discover stories of World War II shipwrecks, lost gold bullion and the plight of the fairy tern, as well as the struggles that the local community has faced throughout the centuries.
Drive north to the Waipu Pancake Rocks, which are accessed along a scenic walking trail from Waipu Cove. Marvel at the geological layering that resembles stacked pancakes while taking in the views of Whangarei Heads and the Hen and Chicken islands.
Learn to surf at the break known as “Forestry”, which lies adjacent to a pristine white sandy beach at Te Arai Point. It’s accessed along a picturesque road through the rural landscapes of Wellsford, with both surfboards and paddleboards available for rent at local surf schools.
Getting around Mangawhai
Mangawhai is around 1.5 hours’ drive from Auckland and two hours from Auckland International Airport. Having your own vehicle is the best way of getting around Mangawhai and accessing its surrounding sights.