The Whangarei Heads area is a 6,000 hectare peninsula nestled between sheltered bays of Whangarei Harbour on the western side, and the white sands and cliff-faces on the Pacific Ocean on the eastern side. Lying between stunning coastal fringes, the diverse natural landscape rises to 20 million year old volcanic peaks dominated by towering Mt Manaia and the Bream Head ridge, reaching over 400 metres. Dotted with villages, lifestyle blocks and larger farms, the drive takes you past the Pohutukawa lined and indented shores of this wonderful waterway (the largest enclosed harbour on New Zealand’s east coast), and travels more or less 42 minutes or 36 km, south east to the 5km long Ocean Beach and 30 minutes, or approx. 30km, east to Pataua from Whangarei CBD.
This natural wonderland is recognised as being of national significance due to the richness of fish, forest and bird life, including one of only five Kiwi sanctuaries in New Zealand. The breath-taking nature of Whangarei Heads, with its' spectacular coastal landscape and sub-tropical climate is undoubtedly a ‘hidden gem’ in 'Winterless' Northland, and is increasingly recognised as a special Tourist Destination. Expansive ocean beaches, and sheltered coves provide friendly swimming, and picnicking spots. Two marine reserves and clear waters make the area a water lovers playground for wind surfing, fishing, scuba diving, kayaking, snorkelling and surfing. There are many boat ramps along both coasts to take fishermen to their nearest fishing grounds or for sailors and kayakers out on to the water. Walking tracks along the waters edge or up to the mountain tops are well noted in the area and afford views north south along Northland’s coastline. Noted walking tracks include Mt Manaia, Bream Head, Smugglers Cove, and Mt Aubrey. The Pines Golf Club services the area, and the various community halls and businesses invite residence and guests to enjoy squash, bowls, yoga, badminton plus the area rugby team. The Whangarei Heads is well known for the artists from all parts of the world, with the annual Art Trail held over Easter and Art Collaboration NZ held biennially
Whangarei Heads contains a range of local amenities. Taurikura village has a local store, tennis courts, community hall, boat ramps and nearby is The Deck Cafe and Restaurant, and Manaia Social Club and Decile 8 Whangarei Heads Primary School and library. McLeod Bay is a hamlet that provides a mixture of permanent residents and holiday homes. Ten minutes further towards Whangarei City lies Parua Bay Village with a large community Hall and fields, a Decile Nine primary school, kindergarten, day care, 4 Square Grocery store, beauty parlour, automotive service centres, Gas bottle fills, Doctors clinic, liquor store, and café. Otherwise a greater range of amenities is available in central Whangarei or neighbouring suburbs.
The family friendly Parua Bay Tavern, with a history as a dairy factory, provides good food and is the centre for locals and guests to the area. Newday Cafe in Parua Bay and The Deck at McLeod Bay provide good coffee and food that would match any top rated food outlet in the country. The Whangarei Heads Area has a unique cosmopolitan feel which is created by the areas diverse offering of great food, wild life, and the many various international cultures.
The Scots, who were part of the Waipu settlers, arrived at the Whangarei Heads in the 1850s, (and after living over 30 years in Nova Scotia). There was very little Maori settlement in the area, although the numerous middens in the area, give evidence of a large population in early years.
Whangarei Heads is only a two and half hour drive from Auckland or less than a half hour flight from Auckland Domestic airport to Whangarei Airport at Onerahi. The “Heads” is an easy reach for holidaymakers or international tourists.
The Whangarei Heads are is in inclusive community and offer many activities,
please come and enjoy.
To view many of the accommodation and activities in the area, please view
There are wonderful walks here at Whangarei Heads, mostly on land owned by The Department of Conservation (DOC), the Bream Head Scenic Reserve or Whangarei District Council . Most are also part of Te Araroa, the walk which stretches the full length of New Zealand -from North Cape, North Island to the Bluff, South Island. Many are bush walks with great sea views in places, and will take a few hours. You can choose to walk any of them, enjoy the wonderful scenery, and it will not cost you a cent. All of the walks referred to are provided free of charge for walkers.
An easy 20 minute walk straight over the saddle from the car park to a fabulous beach.
Bream Head/ Te Whara Track
A reasonable level of fitness, skill and experience is needed to walk the main tracks at Bream Head. 5 hours + of hard steep tramping with links to several other tracks. (7.5kms)
Pataua Island Track
A short walk that skirts the Pataua estuary and goes to a lovely beach. The walk is flat and easy
Reotahi Point Walk
A 30 minute walk from Reotahi Beach to Little Munro Bay
Mt Aubrey Track
1.5 – 2 hours loop track which goes over Mt Aubrey and includes the Reotahi point Walk
Kauri Mountain Track
1.5 hours. Walking from the north side gives great coastal views, from the south side you walk in lovely kauri bush (3kms)
Taiharuru Estuary Walk
A low tide only walk, 2 hours. (7kms)