Hotels in Whangarei, New Zealand
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Visit Whangarei: The City by the Sea
New Zealand’s northernmost and warmest city and indeed the only city in the subtropical Northland Region, Whangarei, tempts visitors with promises of beautiful beaches, gorgeous green spaces, great shopping and dining and an enticing arts scene. The city often acts as one of the last major supply stops for travellers heading to the beaches of Karikari Peninsula and Cape Reinga, the only trouble being that the abundance of things to see and do at this laid-back beach city often inspires visitors to stick around longer than planned.
An Aquatic Playground
With around 100 beaches to choose from, finding your dream spot on the sand shouldn’t prove too difficult. Ocean Beach is one of the best known and is popular with surfers. The calmer waves at Smugglers Beach make it a better choice for swimming and snorkelling although these pastimes can also be enjoyed at the likes of Kauri Mountain Beach and the Reotahi Marine Reserve. If you have little ones in tow, you’ll want to check out family-friendly spots such as McLeod Bay Beach and Taurikura Beach, both of which feature children’s playgrounds and offer up pohutukawa for some much-needed shade. Divers can charter a boat to the Poor Knights Islands off the east coast to enjoy up to 150 feet of visibility and the chance to spot Orcas at play.
Gorgeous Green Spaces
Of course, beaches are not the only natural attraction Whangarei has to offer. This vibrant city offers up a host of gorgeous green spaces too. Take things at a relatively easy pace by exploring the Whangarei Quarry Gardens, wandering along the Waimahanga Walkway, or visiting the Parihaka Scenic reserves, the latter home to an eroded volcanic cone that rises to almost 250 metres above sea level. A trip to the stunning Whangarei Falls, one of the city’s best-loved landmarks and one of six major waterfalls in the area, is also a must. Reach the falls in style by taking the 1.5-hour walk through AH Reed Memorial Kauri Park (starts at Whareora Road) or stretch yourself by setting off from the Town Basin on the three-hour Hatea River Walk.
Thriving Arts and Culture
For artsy types, a trip to Whangarei Heads is a must. This rugged peninsula is home to more than 50 resident artists, which is believed to be the country’s highest regional concentration of artists. One look at the scenery here and it’s easy to see why so many are inspired. Watch out for the Whangarei Heads Arts Trail (held annually in April). Continue your cultural journey by visiting Clapham’s National Clock Museum and the Waipu Museum, the latter considered one of the best small museums in New Zealand. Finish off by taking on the 2.6-mile Hatea Loop, a beautifully presented and fully accessible walkway that starts at the yachting marina and takes in the Te Kanano and Waka and Wave sculptures as well as the elegant Kotuitui Whitinga footbridge.
Shopping and Dining
Whangarei is a great city to indulge a craving for retail therapy and a passion for food. Kill two birds with one stone by heading to the Town Basin Marina, a hotbed of restaurants, cafes and speciality shopping and the perfect place to enjoy the city’s famous manaakitanga (hospitality). Continue to the Whangarei Growers Market, a once-weekly market held on Saturday mornings in the downtown district. Join up to 6,000 other shoppers who flock to the market to stock up on everything from traditional Northland vegetables to exotic subtropical fruits, all the while being entertained by local buskers. Be sure to squeeze in the New Zealand takeaway meal of choice, the Kiwi fish and chips, or fush and chups as it is pronounced here.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Whangarei is a hotspot for backpackers, so you’ll find a wide selection of hostels and backpacking lodges in and around the city. Those seeking a traditional stay may steer clear of a hotel and opt to bed down in a B&B or at a local farmstay. If Whasngarei is just one stop on a longer road trip, the city’s motels may fit the bill while families will likely want to take advantage of the additional amenities offered at the many coastal holiday parks dotted along the coast. Those with refined tastes will want to check out the boutique lodges, upmarket hotels, and unique holiday homes available across the city.
Price rangefrom €23to €643
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