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Mangawhai Heads 10 things to do

  • 3 minutes

Northland, New zealand

Best bits, amazing places

Mangawhai & Mangawhai Heads

Unwrap a scenic corner of Auckland where the choices lie between surging ocean beaches to a tranquil estuary harbour, a sand spit, dramatic dunes and vibrant village community. Mangawhai is a favoured holiday destination for Auckland residents. Ceramics, painting, sculpture, foodie treats such as Bennetts Chocolates and local wineries add depth and favour for visitors. Even the buildings have got into the act with architectural designs from the Mangawhai Tavern and early Bach designs to the Mangawhai Museum. The Bennetts Chocolate is also an interesting building. The name Mangawhai refers to the ‘stream of the stingray.’ References to the stingray can be observed in the local building design.


Mangawhai’s town slogan is: “A little out of the way. A lot out of the ordinary.”

  1. Sip a glass of wine at local wineries and savour the taste of locally produced olive oil.
  • Millars Vineyard is tucked into the foothills of the Brynderwyn range and surrounded by attractive rural views of vineyards and olive groves you will find this small family owned and operated boutique vineyard offering a production of 600 cases per vintage. There is a cellar door and enjoy a game of petanque in the sunny courtyard. Summer hours only.
  • Echo Valley Olives has gate sales in the summer season. The olive oil is marketed at the local markets as well as Whangarei.
  • Te Whai Bay Wines nestled in the Brynderwyn range in the Mangawhai wine region. The vineyard is in a valley described as Northland’s Tuscanny. The cellar door is open in the weekend and summer holidays, Platters are offered as well as the option of private event hire options available.
  1. Play a round of golf at the 18 hole links Mangawhai Golf Club at Mangawhai Heads. With large greens, open fairways & full clubhouse facilities. There is an extensive range of clubs for hire including carts and a fully equipped Pro shop. The sandy base ensures wet weather does not affect course conditions.
  2. Water sports from kayaking the estuary or learning to surf. The Mangawhai estuary  is a safe way to enjoy a day on the water. The speed/ski lane is perfect for towing the kids behind the boat or jet ski with a top speed of 5 knots only between the yellow speed markers. Aotearoa Surf School in Te Arai will happily help you and you can also hire kayaks and SUPs at the Mangawhai Heads Holiday Park which is conveniently located beachside to the estuary and harbour.
  1. Browse Saturday market and meet local artists and food producers. The market is an excellent place for local produce, much of it is organic.
  • Mangawhai Saturday Market is every Saturday and held in the library hall in Mangawhai Village. The Mangawhai Beach & Country Market is held from mid-October to Easter on Sunday mornings from 9am – 1pm in the Domain, Mangawhai Heads.
  • Annual Mangawhai Community Gala is held in the Mangawhai Domain in the first few days of January. The gala has entertainment, rides and about 200 market stalls, food, dog shows and much more for all ages.
  • Mangawhai Beach School Agricultural Gala Day is a well known local event in October. It is a classic rural gala with lamb and calf judging, cake stalls, raffles, food stalls and crafts for sale.
@Mangawhai Tavern Market
@Mangawhai Tavern Market
  1. Climb Mangawhai lookout point, up the spiral staircase where views encompass the golf course, the heads, sand dunes and surrounding rolling countryside. The look point is a short walk from the Mangawhai Visitor Information Centre.
Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway @DOC / Fraser Clements
Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway @DOC / Fraser Clements
  1. Mangawhai Cliff top walk is a must do outdoors exploration with its views extending from Bream Head in the north to Tawharanui Peninsula in the south. The walk manages to include a walk on the beach, takes you up onto the ridgeline and follows the cliffs and then explores the rocky shoreline. Mangawhai is home to a lively, enthusiastic walking club whose walking weekend has become a popular event. Mangawhai Walking Weekend is usually scheduled late March. Thirty walks over two days are on offer in the district of Mangawhai  prepared and planned by 80 guides for your enjoyment. Additionally local artists also prepare especially for the Art Trail that is also held in Mangawhai over this weekend. Check DOC resource for up to date information.
  1. Foodie chocolate treat at Bennetts where visitors observe hand crafted chocolate creation and get to sample some as well. The beautiful honey coloured complex is home to a great cafe where you resist the urge to open your newly acquired Bennetts chocolates.
  2. Sand board down sand dunes. The sand dunes in Mangawhai are quite impressive. Sand dunes encourage kids to roll, run down, use their boogie boards to skate down or simply tumble down. There are shaded trees nearby for an impromptu picnic. As the area is managed by the Department of Conservation, make sure the vulnerable bird life is not disturbed.
  1. Fishing, spend time catching your dinner with shoals of Kahawai and snapper to be located in the estuary itself or surf cast from Ocean Beach. Bring your boat or try one of the many professional charters operating from Mangawhai to explore what the sea has to offer. Check out what the local Mangawhai Boating and Fishing Club tips are for the area.
  2. Take time and find out about the history of Mangawhai in the striking modern Mangawhai Museum. There is a cafe onsite and the village market is based around the museum on Saturday. The museum is largely focused on European settler history and the changes wrought in the estuary harbour.


Explore Wellsford and the hidden attractions of Auckland province’s northern most town.

  1. LAKE TOMARATA is a recreational reserve managed by Auckland Regional Council. There are public toilets, picnic tables, and a concrete boat ramp. There are a number of informal walking trails used by horses and people. The lake is suitable for water sports from swimming, kayaking and water skiing. There is a campsite (non-powered).

Lake Tomarata is part of the Te Arai regional lakes. It is the only known location of the peat-forming wire rush in Auckland and the only lake in this region with direct road access, toilets, concrete boat ramp and bbq’s.

  1. The popular surfing beach of Te Arai Point Beach (also known as Forestry Beach) southern section of Te Arai beach with its brilliant white sands, wild waves and isolation is magnificent.
  2. Te Hana Te Ao Marama Maori Cultural Centre. Step 300 years back in time with a memorable guided tour of a replica village and fortified pa. Across the road, visit The Arts Factory and stand in awe at the giant sculptures, carved from 25,000 to 40,000 year-old kauri logs salvaged from swamps around the upper North Island. Many of the carvings made here are now held in private and corporate collections around the world.
Te Arai Point beach, Auckland, New Zealand
Te Arai Point beach
Albertland Heritage Museum, Auckland, New Zealand @Albertlandmuseum
Albertland Heritage Museum @Albertlandmuseum
  1. Albertland Heritage Museum chronicles the story of the Albertland Non-conformist Society of the 1860s. There is an extensive collection of family archives, records, photographs, memorabilia and artefacts. Albertland Heritage Museum is managed by volunteers. Check opening hours beforehand to avoid disappointment

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