"Northland's Capital." Whangarei by worldkiwi

Whangarei Travel Guide: 66 reviews and 86 photos

Located at the mouth of the Hatea River on Whangarei Harbour, this small city is the unofficial capital of the Northland Region. Whangarei has a superb natural setting, surrounded by bush (native forest) clad hills with the city centre beside the Hatea River estuary. Urban planning is not a strong point of New Zealand cities, but Whangarei's centre has a grid network of streets that make it easy to navigate. There are no particularly outstanding central city architectural highlights, though the river front area known as Town Basin, shows some consideration for the colonial aspect of Northland. It's a pity not more of the city centre looks like the Town Basin.
Cameron Street has been made into a pedestrian mall at it's western end and when I saw this in 2006, it looked good. There were lots of lush looking green trees and people seemed to be enjoying this public space.
The suburbs of Whangarei are interesting. Around Kensington there are some lovely old kauri villas.
I have always liked Whangarei, despite the poor press it gets down in Auckland. Sure, it's not a wealthy city, but the combination of the great natural setting, nice year round climate, and friendly people, make it one of my favourite "off the beaten trail" places in NZ.
If you are passing through, stop for lunch in the Town Basin, a bush walk up to the top of Mount Parihaka, a stroll around the Whangarei Falls in Tikipunga, or stay a couple of days and use this city as your base to explore central Northland.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great natural setting, relaxed pace, good base for exploring Northland.
  • Cons:Reputation for crime, drugs and unemployment is not a selling point.
  • In a nutshell:A city with good 'feng shui' or something... it's one of my favourites anyway.
  • Last visit to Whangarei: Jan 2006
  • Intro Updated Jan 12, 2006
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