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Kiwi Towns

What’s so great about Riverhead, what to see and best things to do

  • 2 minutes


Waitemata harbour sets the scene for a ferry ride to a historic pub riverside

Riverhead there are plenty of things to do. A historic waterway with a picturesque tavern is a great place to laze away the day. Catch the ferry from Auckland on the Riverhead Cruiser from Auckland City and enjoy a leisurely cruise to the Riverhead Tavern. Inlets, busy marine traffic, fluttering sails and the gorgeous Waitemata Harbour makes for a scenic ferry ride. Relax at the tavern and before arriving at the tavern for a few hours of delish food and drinks before jumping on the boat for a party ride back to the city.

Riverhead Ferry, Auckland, New Zealand @riverheadferry
@Riverhead Ferry

What to do in Riverhead, highlights

  • Riverhead Ferry, the fun starts on the ferry with closeups of action on the Waitemata harbour
  • Leisurely brunch / meal in a historic setting
  • Riverhead Forest offers visitors a chance to unwind and buckle up their cycling credentials exploring the forest trails

Apart from the heritage Riverhead Tavern visitors can choose to dine at the Halleratu Brewery. The venue is a family friendly destination for lunch or dinner. Live music and playground create a relaxing atmosphere for a family Sunday brunch.

Riverhead Forest

A postage sized forest enclave (4846 hectares), state owned land, managed by a forestry company is a gem. Recreational activities are encouraged by Carter Holt Harvey Forests (cutting rights) providing visitors with cycling tracks, walking trails and green spaces among the dense patchwork of farms, sub-divisions of Albany and Orewa.

Where to take the best selfie in Riverhead

  • Backdrop of Auckland city as you depart on the ferry
  • Ferry docking on Riverhead wharf
  • Your Riverhead Tavern meal

Riverhead social media

Riverhead community

Riverhead Ferry, Auckland, New Zealand @Riverhead Ferry
@Riverhead Ferry

Smoking is good for your health advertising, the story of tobacco has a stake in Riverhead with the production of toasted tobacco.  Te Ara online resource narrates the story of Riverhead and tobacco. “The text includes the lines: ‘The only toasted tobacco on the New Zealand market, No cough, no bite; does not injure heart, lungs, or throat. Medical authorities recommend it.”


What to do with kids in Riverhead

Primarily a day trip for adults where it’s about relaxing in a historic pub. There is the nearby Riverhead Forest for mountain bike enthusiasts.

Riverhead fame

  • Riverhead had 15 minutes of fame with cameos in movies such as Bridge to Terabithia, Crooked Earth and television shows, Outrageous Fortune.
  • Yelavich Transport, Origins of a major freight company are in Riverhead. In 1947 Ante Jelavic, wife Mary Srhoj and 8 children purchased the first truck..
Memorial commemorating Tainui canoes arriving in Waitemata Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand
Memorial commemorating Tainui canoes arriving in Waitemata Harbour, Auckland, NZ

Who turned up and named Riverhead

Logic named the place, it was the end of the line for shipping. The Rangitopuni River is not navigable from this point. Riverhead is located at the upper navigation limit of the Waitemata harbour. The pub has been in continuous operation for over 150 years. The town was the centre for kauri gum digging and milling timber. At one time Riverhead supported a flour mill and a paper mill. In the twentieth century tobacco was grown and processed. The Riverhead State Forest was planted on 5,000 ha of poor gum land from 1929 to 1933. Owned today by Carter Holt Harvey, the forest is popular for its biking trails.

What keeps Riverhead ticking?

Visitors, with a small permanent population who commute to nearby Kumeu for employment. Riverhead is a lifestyle choice which visitors can readily relate to the charms of rural living on the edge of urban Auckland.

Population in Riverhead

3,330 (2020)

Best time to visit Riverhead

Year round

Getting to Riverhead

Riverhead Tavern Cruise

Weather in Riverhead

Riverhead, Auckland, New Zealand Today, Tonight & Tomorrow’s Weather Forecast

Judgement on Riverhead

  • Perfect day trip from Auckland

Every town adds to the richness of things to do and see. For more details about the region check Auckland & Auckland Region nearby attractions and events.


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