Car Rental Whangarei Airport
Whenever you were thinking of taking a holiday, right now is a great time to visit wonderful Whangarei. This vibrant sub-tropical destination has been described as the gateway to ‘the winterless north’ and enjoys a pleasant climate and sunshine for most of the year. Also known for its warm hospitality, Whangarei Harbour has long been an anchorage for seafarers, and still today the international marina welcomes yachts and boats from all around the world. Watch life on the water from a relaxing vantage point at a quayside cafe. The city itself is nestled around the Hatea River, and the Whangarei waterfront is the perfect place to experience the charms of its laidback lifestyle. Al fresco eateries, bars, galleries and markets have all infused this picturesque riverside precinct with colour and charm.
Blessed with a bounty of attractions, it’s not surprising that Whangarei has its fair share of fans. The region of Northland is famed for its beaches, bays, mountains, caves, islands, waterfalls and forests. With the help of a hire car, your stay in Whangarei will open New Zealand’s northernmost treasures in the most exciting way. Snorkelling, diving, kayaking, hiking, caving, surfing, swimming, walking and biking are some of the activities that can get you closer to Whangarei’s natural beauty. Combining a blend of adventure with a fascinating arts scene and rich heritage, Whangarei is a must for your Kiwi odyssey.
Whangarei Airport sits on its namesake Harbour just a short drive from the city centre and 20-minutes from Whangarei Heads. Frequent flights are available from both Wellington and Auckland. It couldn’t be easier to dive into a piece of paradise, just a half-hour away from New Zealand’s most bustling city. So why not take the opportunity to discover the delights of Whangarei and Northland, and enjoy an action-filled, carefree escapade.
Whangarei’s best features and what lies beyond – all in your hire car
An ideal way to get familiar with the lay of the land is to experience the Whangarei district from up high. Drive or hike through bushland to the top of Mount Parihaka, an extinct volcanic dome many millions of years old. Not only is the vista well worth the walk, Parihaka is also a significant cultural site. New Zealand’s largest pā (fortified Māori village) can be accessed by trail from the summit. For another angle, head to Mount Manaia on Whangarei Heads where the views from 420-metres up are magnificent. The full breathtaking panorama stretches across the harbour and bays, and beyond to the Pacific Ocean.
If you prefer to stay closer to sea level, jump in the car and experience a beautiful coastal drive, tracing the edge of the harbour before curving towards stunning Ocean Beach. Snorkelling and kayaking are some of the popular pursuits. The road trip north from here to the golden sands of the Tutukaka coast makes for an unforgettable adventure. The Poor Knights Islands marine reserve is home to amazing aquatic treasures, including islands with giant caves formed by an ancient volcano – so get your diving gear on. Take another great drive in the opposite direction to the spectacular arc of Bream Bay to Waipu and explore the clear waters and swathes of soft sands. You can swim, surf, fish, kayak and cave here, plus enjoy cliff walks offering exquisite coastal views, or stroll to forest-framed cascades.
The Bream Head Scenic Reserve is another haven for walkers. There are several outstanding trails that stretch the breadth of the peninsula – covering farmland, forest and rugged outcrops, ending at white sandy beaches. Te Whara, the main track, is an ancient Māori trail at least 700 years-old, that heads from Urquharts Bay to oceanside.
The Māori culture remains strong here in Whangarei. The name itself translates as ‘the gathering place of whales’ (in fact, just offshore, orca and dolphins can be seen all along the coast). To gain insights and to experience a Māori reception firsthand, take a special tour that invites you into the home of your host; eat, make bread together, and learn traditional songs and myths. Also recommended is a visit to Wairau Māori Art Gallery – New Zealand’s first dedicated showcase of contemporary Māori arts housed in the Hundertwasser Art Centre on Whangarei’s waterfront.
Your hire car will ensure you’ve got Whangarei’s top things to do covered
One of the highlights of the Whangarei district is its many majestic waterfalls. The most famous of these is the Whangarei Falls Otuihau. Arguably the most photogenic in New Zealand, it really shouldn’t be missed! Otuihau also has spiritual significance to the Māori and was a place of food gathering. From the fall’s base flows the Hatea River. So, from the town basin, simply follow the riverside walkway up to AH Reed Memorial Park, passing through splendid groves of giant ancient kauri trees, till you arrive at the source of this magnificent waterfall.
A few more attractions to put on your Whangarei holiday to-do list: the Whangarei Quarry Gardens, for its abundance of exotic and native subtropical plants; Kiwi North, for housing kiwi and tuatara, and being an exceptional natural history museum; the Abbey Caves, for their caverns twinkling with glow-worms; and the Hatea Loop, for its striking sculpture trail and walkway through pleasure boats, markets and mangroves.
And before you leave, book a ride on the Delicious Whangarei Tour; slip into the flavours of the district and maybe take a moreish slice of Whangarei home with you. You’ll spend a delectable day meeting local producers and tasting your way through cheese, chocolate, honey, wine and all the best artisan goods of the region. What better way to end your visit!