Whangarei's main street (high street) is Cameron Street. The western end of it has been pedestrianised and is actually a quite pleasant area. So many cities have lost their souls to malls and 'mega-centres' populated by overbearing hanger-like chain stores. Whangarei's high street has all the big retail stores in human sized premises and surrounded by leafy environs.
What to buy: If you're camping in central Northland, you'll find everything you need in Whangarei.
Here at the Quayside Town Basin, you will find many gorgeous souvenirs to remind you of your visit or to take home as gifts for your friends and family. At Country and Nautical Trenz you can pick up things like, key rings, shot glasses, natural wood photo albums, magnets, t shirts, pens, wine glasses, carved bone or paua (abalone) pendants and the list of things just goes on and on and on. This is definately the shop that you will find something to satisfy your souvenir-ish and not so souvenir-ish desires.
The Kauri Shop is another store you might like to take a look in. If you like native timber, then you will be able to get good quality items from here as well as quality bone carving pendants and pounamu (jade) pendants.
Burning issues is a must see if you like blown glass and the likes. Some very beautiful pieces in this shop. The public are welcome to go to the rear of the building and watch some of the things that are produced by the glass blowing artists. This place also sells some very nice jewellery - not your average style jewellery either, very unique and unusual pieces can be found here.
Aside from shopping at the Town Basin, there are also cafes/restaurants, museums, art galleries, great views of the harbour, many boats from international waters as well as local, a childrens playground and plenty of ducks that love being fed any crusts off your bread, or your maybe even your whole sandwich if your that generous. The local people (myself included) take our children there during the summer and give the ducks all our left over bread. Dont be afraid to ask one of the locals who have a handful of bread if your child/children could have a piece to feed them too. The locals are all very friendly and obliging.
What to buy: Bone carvings (pendants and/or earrings). The pendants are worn by both men and women!! Mud soap, which comes from our geothermic areas of NZ. Honey soap, kiwifruit & cream soap, lanolin soap.......these are all great products of New Zealand. Also moisturisers and lip balms made with the same ingredients. Wool products such as slippers to keep your feet nice and warm during a cold winters night. Photo albums made of native timbers. Paua (abalone) jewellery.
What to pay: Depending on what you are buying you could pay as little as $2 or well over $100.
This shop has everything you need (or want) under 1 big roof. When I say under 1 big roof, i mean it. The Whangarei branch of The Warehouse is the biggest in Australasia!! Here you can buy clothing (including some NZ apparel, for example "Rugby League Jerseys, America's Cup Jackets" etc). You can buy anything from books to toys, bathroom and kitchenware to cosmetics and toiletries. DVD's, videos, CD's, computer games, shoes, stationary, jewellery and the list goes on and on. The best thing about this place is the price. Everything is very affordable.
What to buy: I would say to shop for anything that is going to remind you of your holiday here in Whangarei. It makes it a little difficult considering The Warehouse is a huge department store, but its still going to be a fun experience. Within this store is also a cafe, an ice cream parlour (make sure you try hokey pokey ice cream. yummy), a hair salon, a travel agency and a photography studio.
What to pay: Things in this store vary in price. You can pay as little as 47c for childrens books, $2.99 for CD's etc, or as much as $200 for some of the jewellery. It's entirely up to you how much you spend and how much you can afford. Definately worth checking out for a bargain anyway.