Top things to do

Top Choice Beach in Mangawhai

Mangawhai Heads

Mangawhai's main claim to fame is the surf beach at the northern head of its large estuary. The large beach-side car park fills up quickly in peak season.
Top Choice Cafe in Mangawhai


Despite the name, Mangawhai's best eatery is nowhere near the sands. Situated in the heart of the village, Dune is half bar, half cafe – with sunny outdoor tables arrayed around both. The food is excellent, includin…
Top Choice Cafe in Mangawhai


Polished concrete floors and a living wall set a quietly stylish scene for a daytime cafe and night-time bistro. Evening meals are sophisticated and deftly constructed, featuring the likes of fresh fish, Scotch fill…
Top Choice Cafe in Whangarei District

Cafe Bianca

Beyond the rough wooden exterior is a corrugated-iron-lined speakeasy where staff dressed as flappers deliver cooked breakfasts, gourmet burgers and seafood chowder to bemused road-weary patrons seated at Edwardian …
Museum in Whangarei

Clapham’s National Clock Museum

This charming collection of 1600 ticking, gonging and cuckooing timepieces is more interesting than you'd imagine. There are all manner of kooky and kitschy items displayed alongside the more august specimens, such …
Bistro in Whangarei


Located upstairs in the Onerahi Yacht Club, around 10km from central Whangarei, TopSail serves superlative French-style bistro classics and lots of fresh Northland seafood and NZ produce such as Fiordland venison. I…
Cave in Whangarei

Abbey Caves

Abbey Caves is an undeveloped network of three caverns full of glowworms and limestone formations, 6km east of town. Grab a torch, strong shoes, a mate for safety and prepare to get wet. The surrounding reserve is a…
Pizza in Waipu & Bream Bay

McLeod's Pizza Barn

The flavour combinations may seem almost as odd as a Scots-named pizzeria, but the crispy-based pizzas are delicious. Try the Gumdigger, with smoked salmon, asparagus, blue-vein cheese and pesto, and wash it down wi…
Pub in Mangawhai

Mangawhai Tavern

One of the country's oldest pubs – established in 1865, but twice burnt down since then – the tavern's harbourside location is a top spot for an afternoon beer. There's live music most Saturday nights and Sunday aft…
Museum in Mangawhai

Mangawhai Museum

One of regional New Zealand's best museums, this spectacular building on the main road linking Mangawhai village to Mangawhai Heads is packed with interesting displays on the area's history and environment. Check ou…