A visit to Whangaroa is not complete without a trip on the harbour – dotted with uninhabited islands and surrounded by protected forests containing endemic native species, the scenery of Whangaroa remains undisturbed and unique. Towering cliffs and rock formations protrude through steep, forested shores and are reflected in tranquil waters.
Harbour tours, fishing charter boats, sailing and sea kayaks are some of the many ways to discover the harbour’s myriad sheltered and secluded bays. These bays also provide perfect all weather anchorages for visiting pleasure craft. The deep waters off the Northland coast are renowned for their big game fish. Whangaroa is well known as the "Marlin Capital of New Zealand".
Whangaroa's scenery is awe-inspiring. Explore the region by road or by walking track to gain spectacular views of the dramatic landscape. On the coast, pristine beaches offer a choice of relaxed ocean swimming or invigorating surfing spots. Inland are groves of ancient, majestic Kauri trees.
With its sub-tropical summers, warm winters, relaxed pace and friendly locals, Whangaroa offers the ideal destination for a family holiday or romantic getaway.
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Driving in Whangaroa County
If you’re visiting the northeast of New Zealand on a self-drive holiday you’ll find a wealth of beautiful beaches, lush forests, and interesting attractions and landmarks in Whangaroa County. If you’re not familiar with driving in New Zealand you’ll need to know a few rules so you don’t inadvertently break the law and get a fine, or worse, cause an accident.
The main things you need to know are:
- New Zealanders drive on the left
- Using a hand-held mobile phone to call, text or access services while driving or stationary at traffic lights is illegal.
- Our speeds and distances are posted in kilometres per hour and kilometres. 100km/h is around 60mph and is our open road speed limit. The urban limit is 50km/h. Many of our roads, though, are very winding so allow for your average speed to be 70-80km/h
- If your licence is in English you can drive in New Zealand for up to a year. However, if your licence is not in English you will need to get an International Driving Permit or an authorised translation to English to accompany your licence.
- Children up to age 7 must be in an approved child seat and all occupants must wear seat belts.
- The blood alcohol limit is 0.05%, but we recommend that you don’t drink at all if you drive.
Many of our road signs and markings are different. You can take a free Road Code quiz at this website, and NZTA produces a booklet called What’s Different About Driving in New Zealand, which you can download here.
If you are not used to driving on the left hand side of the road you will need to pay special attention to give way (yield) rules, lane markings, indication rules and particularly what to do on roundabouts where you will be going clockwise, not anticlockwise. You may also come across narrow gravel roads, so take care and keep to the left.
We hope you enjoy your stay in Whangaroa, and whether you’re heading to the pristine pink sands of Wainui Bay, to take a walk in the Puketi Forest, or visiting one of the many historic regional towns and coastal settlements, stay safe and alert on the roads.
Prepared for whangaroa.co.nz by Darren Cottingham, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1 Dec 2014.