Whangarei Travel Information and History
Whangarei, with a population of just under 50,000, is the largest and most progressive city north of Auckland.
In fact it is the only city north of Auckland.
A low-rise and very suburban city, it is built on the inner reaches of a large harbour entered by the narrow channel between Busby Head and Marsden Point.
These names, by the way, are famous in New Zealand history. James Busby was in 1832 appointed British Resident and took up office at the Bay of Islands; Samuel Marsden was the Christian missionary who, in 1814, first preached the Gospel in New Zealand.
Whangarei Harbour is one of the deepest, sheltered and most beautiful harbours in New Zealand as a result of considerable cost and is now Northland's principal outlet for most of the exports of that province.
The main wharves are at Onerahi, a few miles east of the city, and here also is the airport. Still nearer the harbour entrance is Parua Bay, headquarters of the deep-sea fishing fleet, which operates in the off-shore waters around the Hen and Chickens Islands.
At Marsden Point wharfage was built to accommodate the huge ocean-going tankers bringing the crude material to New Zealand's only oil refinery, thus adding greatly to the importance and to the prosperity of Whangarei.
There are still many areas of forest that have escaped axe and fire, the precursors of agricultural development.
Some of the striking features of the scenery are indestructible works of nature-pinnacles of varying size and fantastic shapes sculptured by wind and rain out of the limestone rock.
The award winning town basin has an excellent variety of cafes, restaurants, art galleries and shops and is a great place to have a snack while viewing the luxury yachts from around the world, moored there.
The visitor to Whangarei also has the choice of a wide variety of excursions to beauty spots, including several beautiful beaches within 30 minutes drive of the city, such as Tutukaka Harbour, Woolleys Bay, Sandy Bay, and the hot springs at Kamo.
The winding 35 km drive to the heads is well worth the effort and offers the chance to explore the bays and coves along the way, and to walk the two hour climb to the top of Mt Manaia.
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Whangarei Travel Information