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Insider’s Guide to Whangarei

Insider’s Guide to Whangarei

As the Winterless North enjoys another month of balmy weather, Whangarei is the place to discover New Zealand’s sometimes overlooked secrets.

Insider’s Guide to Whangarei



Winner of various hospitality awards and barista championships, Northland’s Nectar café is the go-to place for your caffeine and brunch fix. The menu covers mainstream food but there’s an emphasis on healthy options to cater to special-dietary needs, such as gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, vegan and vegetarian dishes. Everything is made on site, the coffee is L’affare fair trade, and the atmosphere is relaxed.


Brauhaus Frings bar always has four brews from its on-site micro-brewery on tap – usually lager, draught, old ale or pilsner – and it’s only too happy to let you decide which suits your taste. For something different, try its alcoholic ginger beer or apple cider, best washed down with live music and wood-fired pizzas out on the deck.



Onerahi Yacht Club is perched on the tip of a peninsula 15 minutes drive from the city centre. Upstairs, with panoramic views over Whangarei Harbour, you will find TopSail. Its ever-changing menu revolves around fresh Northland seafood and New Zealand game.


Built in 1896, Lupton Lodge has been transformed into a stylish boutique hotel. A 10-minute drive north of the city, the lodge offers an array of rooms, suites and converted two-storey barns. Gourmet breakfasts and restaurant-style dinners are available; there’s also a guest lounge, pool, deck and lush gardens.


This is where it all began: missionary Samuel Marsden planted the colony’s first vines in the North in 1819. In the 19th century, more vineyards were established, thanks to Northland’s ideal climate. Nowadays, the region boasts 20 wineries offering chardonnay, pinot gris and syrah, among other varieties.


Inside an abandoned quarry in the city’s western hills, the Quarry Arts Centre provides a venue for artists to create and exhibit their works. Art lovers can share the experience in a tranquil setting. There’s a shop, gallery and café on site.


Robin Ginders and Nigel Towler founded Northland Autos in 1991. Their partnership continues to flourish, and the passion for cars and customer satisfaction is what keeps them going. The recent addition of Peugeot to Northland Autos has created a new enthusiasm for bringing state-of-the-art motoring to their region. Northland is home to beautiful beaches, great fishing, cycleways and everything to do with the outdoors, so when Nigel and Robin – once avid boaties – take a break, it’s campervanning.

Northland Autos. 0800 438 7043


TEST DRIVE TODAY Peugeot 308 Allure

A stunning example of European motoring, Peugeot’s 308 Allure is powered by a torquey 2-litre diesel engine perfect for powering up Northland’s hills and around its twisty roads. It’s practical, too, with GPS, reversing camera, parking sensors, cruise control, traction control, Bluetooth and 9.7-inch touchscreen. It’s soundproofed for an undisturbed ride, and the redesigned exterior makes for a stylish car that will look the part in any driveway. Call Northland Autos, 0800 438 7043, to arrange your test drive, or visit

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