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Family Fun

Visiting Whangarei – Family-friendly Places to Go

North Island

Whangarei offers families and kids a mixture of adventure entertainment combined with natural public spaces. 


  • Kids will find the extraordinary principles of banished straight lines interesting as they explore the Hundertwasser Art Centre
  • The Hatea River walk has the time machine with its steel balls poised for the moment to click and clack into action.
  • Walks among kauri forest giants of AH Reed park and Whangarei waterfalls are family-friendly as well offering variety for kids and adults alike.

Nearby the Tutukaka coast and Bream Bay beaches will tempt everyone from kids to grandparents outdoors.

Whangarei Falls in winter
Whangarei Falls in Winter

1. Whangarei Falls for Kids


The walk is not arduous, in fact there are options for wheelchair accessibility. The waterfall is satisfying and impressive even for the most discerning child. The upshafts of spray from the bottom pool create a misting effect impressing kids with the sheer volume of water. The explanatory plaques explain the significance of the falls and the geology of the area.


Nearby is the Hatea River Walk into Whangarei. Check the travel pack section for further details. 


More about Whangarei Falls



There is something for everyone at AH Reed public walkways and reserve. Visitors will pass locals walking their dogs or families enjoying the extensive native forest. A highlight for kids and people of all ages is the canopy walk. Kids will enjoy being within the upper branches of massive kauri trees.


New Zealand’s iconic towering forest giants are on full display with excellent information plaques describing the process of constructing the canopy walk and the importance of the trees for the wellbeing of everyone.


More about AH Reed

AH Reed canopy walk, Whangarei public reserves, Whangarei, New Zealand.
AH Reed canopy walk, Whangarei public reserves
Hundertwasser Art Centre, Whangarei, Northland, NZ
Hundertwasser Art Centre, Whangarei

3. Hundertwasser Art Centre 


Hundertwasser Art Centre is intriguing for all age groups. The use of vibrant colours and tiling stimulates the imagination. Tens of thousands of coloured tiles and 40,000 recycled red bricks are being used on the exterior of the building and its immediate surroundings.


Hundertwasser’s dedication to sustainable housing will resonate with an younger audience, especially the toilet with its composting ethos.


More about Hundertwasser Art Centre

4. Hatea Walkway


 The Hatea walkway is a stunningly visual feast for the senses from the striking contemporary bridge to river craft giving kids, family and friends a varied landscape to enjoy. 


The Claphams Clock Museum steampunk time ball machine is fantasy come to life. Scroll through 6 Family-Friendly Walks in Whangarei and find an island to explore, Matakohe-Limestone Island. There is nothing like an island to excite the family and friends.


More about Hatea Walkway

Punga art installation Hatea River Walk Northland NZ
Punga Art Installation, Hatea River Walk
Bream Head and Whangarei Heads from the Mount Lion hiking track in Northland, New Zealand
Bream Head and Whangarei Heads from the Mount Lion Hiking Track in Northland

5. Beaches


Whangarei Heads and Pataua South

Wow, choices from quiet out of the way white sandy inlets on the Tutukaka coast. From 8 glorious beaches of Tutukaka to a local favourite spots. Whangarei Heads and Pataua South with its estuary and ocean beach options is an ideal day trip from Whangarei.


There are cafes, campgrounds and nearby walks to a beach known as ‘FrogTown’. Picnic tables, toilets and facilities make for a great beach day trip from Whangarei.


More about Tutukaka Beaches



One of New Zealand’s outstanding gardens managed and operated by volunteers. Entrance fees are koha (donations) well worth your time and donation. The garden’s visible legacy of a quarry will fascinate kids as it is not usual to have enormous blocks of concrete next to a flowering bed.


The deep quarry pond and waterfall is imposing and hints at the depth are reflected in the intense dark blue waters. There is even a playground within the quarry and a designated children’s area. A superb attraction for garden lovers, friends and family with kids in tow.



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There’s an excellent cafe for a restorative coffee and lunch with the the family


More about Quarry Gardens

Quarry Gardens, Whangarei, New Zealand
Quarry Gardens, Whangarei

Water features are not fenced. Supervision of children will be necessary.

Bream Bay coastline with TravelMax (dog), family enjoying Northland, NZ
Bream Bay Coastline with TravelMax (Dog), Northland



The adventure of horse riding on a wide expanse of sandy beach with the waves, the sun and space is holiday magic. Waipu Horse Adventures call it their happy place. Glorious settings from native bush, the Uretiti shoreline and Bream Bay estuary shallow waters encourage all abilities to relax into the experience of riding a horse. There are adventures for beginners to experienced horse riders.



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