Things to do in Whangarei

Breakaway Retreat is a great place to sit back, relax and enjoy the views or take the kayaks out for a paddle along the Whangarei Heads coast. Enjoy this very private retreat that’s only a short stroll down the front lawn to the beach. If you want a more active break, here are a few of things to do in and around Whangarei Heads while staying at Breakaway Retreat.

Things to Do:
  • Take the 2 kayaks out for a paddle outside Breakaway Retreat or a kayaking tour along the Whangarei Head’s coast line.
  • Swimming at your doorstep. Enjoy a swim at Breakaway Retreat along our secluded beach, which has mature pohutukawa trees if you need some shade. You can also swim at one of the many beaches around Whangarei Heads including: Mcleod Bay, Taurikura, Urquharts Bay, Reotahi, Ocean Beach, and Smugglers Cove. You may be lucky enough to swim with Dolphins that are regular visitors to Whangarei Heads between August and November. Orca Whales also frequent the area during this period.
  • Go fishing on the rocks, in the kayak or in your boat. There are many good fishing spots in the Whangarei Harbour and even outside Breakaway Retreat. There is also a wide variety of shell fish in the area, including kina, tua tua, mussels, and cockles.
  • Boating in Whangarei Harbour. There are several boat ramps in the area for launching your boat, which can be parked outside Breakaway Retreat for easy access during your stay.
  • There are many great diving spots in Whangarei Heads. If you are not a diver, you can also go snorkelling outside Breakaway Retreat or at the Whangarei Heads marine reserve, only 5 minutes drive away. Diving trips to the Poor Knights Islands via Tutukaka can also be arranged for you at Breakaway Retreat.
  • Breakaway Retreat waterfront is a great place to go sailing. windsurfing, waterskiing and wake boarding. Small sailing boats and windsurfing can be set up at nearby Mcleod Bay or at Breakaway Retreat.
  • Go Surfing, boogie boarding or body surfing at Ocean Beach (Surf Beach) or take a long walk along this white sandy beach.
  • There are many walking tracks in the area, including Mt Manaia, Mt Aubrey and Bream Head coast walk way reserve. A guided or unguided tour of the tracks can be arranged at Breakaway Retreat. For further details on the walks in Whangarei and Whangarei Heads area check out our blog, click here.
  • Play a round or two of golf at The Pines Golf Club, only a 10 minutes drive from Breakaway Retreat. An easy walking, picturesque and challenging course located at Parua Bay.
  • Play Tennis at the tennis courts located at Taurikura.
  • Glenbervie Adventure Forest.  Enter the most exciting forest in Northland.  Climb on amazing circuits rigged from tree to tree.  Grab a rope, jump, roll or swing in the air to reach the next platform, its awesome!  Heaps of fun for everyone.  The circuits are designed for all ages, with two courses for smaller kids.  Come along with your friends or family and share a great adventure.
  • Explore arts and crafts in the area by using the arts and crafts trail available at Breakaway Retreat.
  • Have a coffee or latte at our local cafés. There are a number of cafés, takeaways and restaurants in the Whangarei Heads area.
  • The Poor Knights Islands, named by Jacques Cousteau as one of the world’s top 10 dive spots, is located 13km off the North Island coast of New Zealand. Breakaway Retreat guest house is only a 45 minute drive to Tutukaka, where you can take one of many scuba diving, snorkelling and sightseeing trips to the see the Poor Knights Islands. For further details click here.
  • Whangarei Falls, known as the most photogenic waterfall in New Zealand, dropping 25 metres into a beautiful bush-fringed pool. Located centrally at Tikipunga, 5km north east of the city.
  • Motukiore Island in the middle of Parua Bay is accessible from the Manganese Pt end. At low tide the walkway around the beach leads to a well preserved Maori Pa.
  • Fernery, Conservatory & Cacti House. Featured here are over 80 varieties of NZ's native ferns, including some rare and endangered species, displayed in natural surroundings with waterfall and ponds. Check out the Cactus House for an awesome prickly experience!
  • Quarry Gardens. Visit a subtropical paradise in North Island, New Zealand. An old overgrown Whangarei quarry has been transformed into a sub-tropical garden through the hard work of community volunteers. The gardens have a network of walking and cycling paths which navigate streams and waterfalls.
  • The Claphams Clock Museum at the Town Basin. This world famous collection is the largest in the southern hemisphere (around 1400). TheKauri Clock Factory at Otaika, Whangarei.
  • Reyburn House and the Whangarei Art Museum which are open daily and feature ever changing exhibitions of local and national artists, plus travelling exhibitions. There are many more private galleries featuring the work of local national and international artists.
  • Whangarei Kiwi House, Museum & Heritage Park. Nocturnal Kiwi House with live kiwi, morepork and native gecko. Also, a museum with Maori taonga and early settler collections, plus park with historic buildings and vintage vehicles and machinery.
  • Take day trips to Bay of Islands, Paihia, Russell, Waitangi, Tutukaka, Waipoua from your accommodation at Breakaway Retreat  Whangarei Heads is the gateway to the Bay of Islands, we are only 1 hour drive to Paihia.
  • The Kauri Museum, Church Road, Matakohe, south of Dargaville is well worth visiting.
  • The Kauri forest at Waipoua. The kauri is the giant of the New Zealand native forest; here the largest trees are over 1,000 years old. Look for Tane Mahuta (God of the Forest), the largest known kauri in New Zealand, and Te Matua Ngahere (Father of the Forest), by volume the second-biggest known tree in the country.
  • For the children visit Serendipity Farm Park & Nosebag Café, Whau Valley Road. Children can feed 20 different animals. Hold rabbits and guinea pigs. Feeds its ducks and hens. All animals will feed from the hand.
  • Explore around Breakaway Retreat waterfront. There are lots of rocks pools to explore, pohutukawa to climb on, sand to build sand castles, safe swimming area, a swing. There is also a playground in Mcleod Bay. For the older children, there a few large rocks to dive off, and a safe area for them to use the kayaks.  Breakaway Retreat is a family friendly place to stay.  If you are looking for a self contained holiday house by the water look no further.  No roads to cross, no need to drive to the beach.
  • Zion Wildlife Gardens – set up by "The Lion Man" Craig Busch. Get up close to magnificent and rare white tigers and endangered Barbary Lion sin a tranquil country setting. Take a tour of the park or a close encounter with the lion clubs.
  • Theatre. The Whangarei Theatre Company has its own Riverbank Theatre, while the Repertory Society hosts their shows at their Octagon Theatre. Both offer regular top class live shows. Dinner is an optional extra with the shows and adds to an excellent evening of entertainment.
  • Cafés, Restaurant and Night Life. Whangarei offers an excellent selection of restaurants and cafés to suit all variety of tastes and budget, as well as all the main chain restaurants and fast food outlets. There is a good selection of night time entertainment with the bars and nightclubs providing DJ's or bands to suit varying tastes in atmosphere and music.
  • Shopping The central shopping area is centered around The Strand, Quality Street, and the attractive Cameron Street Mall, a popular meeting place with seating and sub tropical trees and plants, also features a creative copper tree and the districts history which is uniquely told in a time-line of copper plates. Specialist boutiques to nationwide department stores all feature.
  • Cinema Complex. SkyCity Cinema showing all the latest movies.

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