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Warkworth travel, road trip, what to do and see — guide

  • 3 minutes

Auckland, North Island

Warkworth is an intriguing mixture of attractions from a heritage museum adjoining a magical kauri reserve to galleries, great eateries and the nearby Matakana wine trail. Explore a place with an abandoned industrial cement works that played a significant role in World War II and enjoy a leisurely lunch in the many cafes on Warkworth’s main street. Warkworth is worth a detour off state highway one. Slow down and explore the Matankana region.

For other trips and holiday inspiration check out Auckland Road Trips.

Steamboats moored on Mahurangi River, Warkworth, Auckland Region, North Island, New Zealand
Steamboats moored on Mahurangi River, Warkworth, North Island, New Zealand

Warkworth 8 top sights & attractions

  • Relax by riverside cafes and watch the ducks dive under moored boats
  • Follow the heritage trail along the Mahurangi River, once an important inland port
  • Pop into the Matakana Village Farmer (Warkworth market is currently not open)
  • Trawl through vintage shops, galleries on Warkworth’s main street
  • Enjoy the ambiance of Bridgehouse Hotel, the oldest surviving commercial hotel
  • Visit Warkworth settlers museum and kids will love opening the door of the toilet to find a women (dummy) sitting on the privy). Plus the World War II original US Army huts are fun.
  • Walk through a petitie reserve Parry Kauir Park with its massive kauri towering into the sky
  • Enjoy the historic walking trail through huge totara and matai of Kowhai Park, past the 1884 lime kilns that were once part of the Wilson Cement Works
Warkworth museum shop, New Zealand
Warkworth museum shop, North Island, New Zealand


Warkworth offers visitors plenty of things to do. Warkworth, wrapped around the Mahurangi River is where an urban buzz meets regional New Zealand town with a bustling main street, ducks along its river banks and a gateway to vineyards, artisan crafts, Goat Island marine reserve and regional parks are nearby attractions.

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Warkworth Cement Works, massive industrial site, Auckland
Warkworth museum early 20th century life, New Zealand
Rural landscape panoroma Warkworth, north of Auckland, North Island, New Zealand NZ
Parry Kauri fern underside, New Zealand
Parry Kauri fern, North Island, New Zealand

Parry kauri reserve Warkworth

Parry Kauri forest reserve is a special nook we am not sure if we want to write about. The reserve is a quiet place with ancient Kauri and Totara trees within view of the car park. You could be very lazy, not get out of the car and simply look at the magnificent kauri (approximately 800 years old) from your vehicle.

As New Zealand kauri is under threat from a very nasty disease called kauri dieback (usually fatal) the kiwi icon has its own guardians instructing people how to avoid transmitting the disease to trees not yet affected. Parry Kauri reserve has a guardian, with a comfortable chair, sitting by the tree making sure visitors respect the trees.

Get out of the car …

… read more about Parry Kauri Reserve

Warkworth abondoned Cement Works are worth a visit

Atmospheric abandoned buildings provide a tangible link with the past. The cement works definitely fit this bill with their sheer size. And the small lake glimmering with depth just adds to the ghostly past. The importance of the river as a transport hub is clearly illustrated with the location of the cement works. After your visit to the reserve the cement works is approximately 15 minutes drive from Parry Reserve.

Warkworth Cement Works in stark relief, near Auckland, NZ
Warkworth Wilsons Cement, North Island, New Zealand

Warkworth is not located in Northland, rather it is part of the northern region of Auckland. Warkworth (Māori: Puhinui) is a town on the Northland Peninsula in the upper North Island of New Zealand.

Warkworth cement works historic photo circa 1900's North Island NZ
Warkworth Cement Works, North Island, New Zealand

Warkworth is 64 km from Auckland making the town a great day trip destination.

Warkworth’s main street is charming, a mixture of new and Victorian elegance. The beautifully restored Warkworth Town Hall is now a music lovers destination for concerts and live theatre.


Warkworth’s iconic Norfolk pine on the main street.

Warkworth is part of the Matakana coast communities of Goat Island, Matakana and Leigh. Weekend markets in both Warkworth and well known Matakana are regular Auckland hot spots especially in the summer months.

Warkworth is well positioned for visitors enjoying North Auckland parks and beaches. North Auckland regional parks is where Auckland locals go for the summer. There are several glorious regional parks as well as sheltered sandy beaches for a summer fix away from the crowds. From the donkeys of Algiers Bay to Snells Beach esplanade and mangrove boardwalks to walks through bush to quiet beaches where the crowds are few and far between. From Mahurangi Peninsula to Tawharanui Peninsula and beyond are a series of eastern facing sandy shallow beaches that have been welcoming visitors for over a hundred years.

Goat Island Marine Reserve near Leigh Auckland, North Island New Zealand
Goat Island Marine Reserve near Leigh Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Mansion House, Kawau Island, Auckland
Mansion House, Kawau Island, Auckland, North Island, New Zealand

Goat Island and Kawau Island are in the vicinity. Enjoy exploring Sandspit beach. Sandspit beach is an estuary beach fed by the Matakana River. It is an area known for its sea birds. The small beach settlement cafe and visitor centre provide a place to gather for cruises to Kawau Island or onto the Hauraki Gulf on fishing trips.

Yes, Warkworth has its own weekend market. However check beforehand opening hours as the market has been closed for some periods previously. The Warkworth Country Market is managed by the team operating the Mangawhai Tavern Market. The Warkworth market is located in the local A&P Showgrounds. Open on the 4th Sunday of the month with opening hours being 9.30am through to 2pm.

Warkworth is a short detour off state highway one as it travels north to Northland and the regional hub of Whangarei; 60 km from central Auckland.

Warkworth is 100km south of Whangarei and one of the gateway communities to the Matakana Coast Wine trail which is home to boutique wineries and galleries.

Warkworth is an excellent option for visitors exploring the Matakana wine trail.

The distance between the two towns is less than 10 km.

Where is Warkworth?

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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