The Whangarei Museum, Kiwi House, Heritage Park and Clarke Homestead are situated 3 minutes drive from downtown on state highway 14.
The Museum features relics of our European history and a fine collection of our Maori Artefacts.
At the Kiwi House you will have the opportunity to see our native nocturnal and endangered bird "the kiwi" which is more often than not, a rare sight to find in the wild.
Heritage Park boasts a number of events all year around, more so in the summer months with their "Live Days" which are held regularly providing a unique opportunity for an insight into the way life once was.
The Clarke homestead was built in 1885 and remains a uniqu example of an origional, unrestored homestead.
It is open daily from 10am to 4pm
The Zion Wildlife Gardens are a relatively new thing to Whangarei. The park relocated to the Whangarei area from the far north in 2003. This is your best chance to get up close and personal with big cats. Here you will find 12 rare Barbary Lions and 4 Royal White Tigers. Also an Orange Bengal Tiger and cub and 2 Serval Cats. Both the Barbary Lions and the Royal White Tigers are extremely rare and are labelled "extinct" in the wild.
Zion Wildlife Gardens offers guided and private tours for groups and individuals every day of the week. Bookings are essential. Private tours are $150 per person and a minimum of 2 people are required. You will have exclusive escorted access to the park and animals and interaction with some of the big cats. NOTE: children under 16 years of age are not permitted to participate in the private tours. General admission into the park is Adult: $25, Children 2-12yrs: $15, Family Rate (2 adults &3 children): $80, Children under 2yrs are free. There is a giftshop on site also.
There are a few other animals including free ranging deer and Foxy the baboon. The park is still under construction as they are planning to extend their family of animals, but it is definately open for business.
The photo I have put on here is when I went to visit the lion cubs Aslan & Narnia. I got to cuddle both of them and play with them. These babies are now 18 months old.
I highly recommend going to the Whangarei Falls as its well worth a look. During the summer time there is regularly an abseiling team there with the opportunity to scale down these falls. Many a nice photo can be taken here from both above the falls and below it. There is a 15 - 20 minute trail that starts you at the top, takes you down over a bridge at the bottom (be prepared to get a little wet from the spray of the falls) and then back up the other side again. Also during the summer it tends to be quite a busy little spot both popular with locals and tourists alike. You will find many of the local people swimming here in the warmer months. So bring a towel if you feel like a dip in the water. There are public toilets and pay barbeque facilities here. There are also a few picnic tables or alternatively a nice shady spot under a tree will suffice for a picnic lunch. There is a small convenience store 10 minutes walk away from this location. This waterfall in particular is known as the most photogenic in New Zealand. It drops 25 metres into a beautiful bush-fringed pool below. Be sure to bring your camera and enjoy your visit!!
Plenty to choose from on the east coast from Whangarei. Matapouri and Whale Bay being particular favourites of mine. But these places can become crowded (when I mean crowded I mean not more than 30 people!) so head to Ocean Beach or just north of Whananaki - which are just as lovely!
Whargarei Falls, on the Hatea River, have a drop of 26 metres to a large pool. There is a loop walk to the bottom of the falls and the picnic area established in the 1890's (or earlier).
These falls are 26 m high and you can do a very nice walk around it. You can also hop into the water at the top of the falls.
whangarei has a beatiful harbour with white sand beaches, safe for swimming, great for fishing, shell fish etc. photo with the new zealand oil refinery in the background
drive around the beatiful harbour, the whangarei falls, visit the surrounding beaches, fishing trips, deep sea fishing, great shopping. visit the oil refinery, which is about 25 km away