Whangarei is full of natural beauty, with an abundance of picturesque parks, gardens and waterfalls. We’ve prepared a comprehensive guide to our city’s great outdoors, so navigate the sections below to read about our gardens, parks & waterfalls.
Being in the north of the country Whangarei offers a warm subtropical climate and complex diversity of soil types. This makes Whangarei an ideal home for a diverse range of plant species. This special combination is seen in the gardens and unique plants seen across the city. Two of the most popular gardens in Whangarei are Whangarei Quarry Gardens and Botanica Whangarei.
A community garden project created and operated by volunteers on what used to be a dilapidated quarry site. This 20 year project, a labour of love, is home to 6 uniquely themed botanical gardens. Each garden has its own diverse array of plants, and is well maintained.
A visit is an opportunity to learn about the incredible history and beauty of the flora, fauna from New Zealand and beyond.
One of our favourite features of the gardens are the artistic sculptures peppered throughout. Created by famous local artists, they reflect themes of culture, nature, and our place within it.
While the Gardens are free, to support the maintenance and growth of the gardens, the team do accept donations and also offer a $20 membership card which offers a number of awesome benefits.
If walking is a challenge, or you simply want a bit more guided experience, the staff offer one hour guided tours. Taking up to 5 people in an electric golf cart, this option allows you to tour the gardens in comfort, learning about the history and plants of the gardens.
Botanica Whangarei is a multi-garden complex, open and free to the public. Featuring a colourful and diverse array of plants from across the world, the gardens offer an opportunity to explore exotic plants.
The 1 acre complex began in 1970 as a single snow conservatory. However, with the help of the Whangarei District Council and various community groups a fernery, cactus house, and japanese garden were added. To explore the garden fully requires 1.5 hours. This garden links to Calfer Park (More details below).
There are a number of beautiful parks dotted throughout Whangarei City. These open green spaces are great for picnics and relaxing with the family, and definitely worth exploring.
Cafler Park in the heart of the city is a serene nature space at the core of the city. Throughout the year there are varieties of colourful roses and flower gardens, amongst large mature trees. Sit in their shade and listen to the sound of the Waiarohia River running along its boundary.
Across the river you will find a bridge. This leads to Botanica (Listed above). This makes the park a great way to enjoy a day relaxing in nature.
The 4.2 km Hatea Loop Walkway is primarily a walk, however it also offers a number of great spots to stop and relax. Along the way visit the BMX Park, Childrens Playground (Designed for accessibility, or simply find a grassy spot to sit and picnic by the Hatea river. This walkway will show you a lot of what makes Whangarei so awesome.
This popular park central to Whangarei features a children’s playground, war memorial and spectacular hillside floral garden. There is plenty of space for picnics and games, as well as a man made waterfall.
Originally part of the estate of Robert Mair this large park connects to the Hatea Loop and Mt Parihaka. The facilities provided include a children’s playground, toilets, and BBQ’s. The river which runs through the park is home to wildlife including eels, ducks and sprats. These have proven to entertain local children for generations. Feed the ducks who call this park home, and enjoy a walk up to Mt Parihaka’s Summit.
Several rivers and waterways run through Whangarei. This creates some of the most amazing waterfalls in the world, here are some of the most popular (and some hidden gems).
One of our most loved and popular landmarks, the beautiful and iconic Whangārei Falls is at the top of our list! Looping around the falls, the track here is well maintained and should be accessible to the whole family. Take in the native New Zealand bush surrounded by tōtara, mānuka, tī kōuka, ponga, and nīkau palms. Make sure you look out for native wood pigeons, tūī and riroriro overhead and in the trees.
The waterfall itself is 26.3m high. Find your way to the viewing platforms for an awesome bird’s-eye view of the falls and the forest below. There are garden spaces both at the top and base of the waterfall, perfect for picnicking with the family.
Situated on the Ahuroa River, Piroa falls is a spectacular waterfall (despite its size). The falls are 35 minutes from Whangarei and a short 200m walk from Waipu Gorge Road. The waterfall is a great spot to hang around with several swimming holes along the walk, and a deeper pool at the base of the falls.
30 minutes from Whangarei, you’ll find Wairua Falls. These falls are easily accessible and can be seen from the carpark. During the summer the falls can dry up, so make sure you check before heading out that way.
The lesser known Paranui Falls are equidistant to Whangarei Falls for those in the city. They are a bit smaller, but stunning no less. When visiting make sure you bring appropriate footwear and have good balance, as the track has many large roots, and accessing the falls requires crossing slippery rocks.
A hidden gem near the Whangarei CBD. Tucked away in the bush the waterfall feeds a stream which runs through Raumanga Valley. Follow the easy going track from Tarewa Park towards the cascading falls. During the summer the falls serve as a great picnic spot, you’ll see several smaller falls that are worth photographing.
We're proud of Whangarei's attractions, and would love to share them with you. If you're keen to get out there and into it there's no better place to stay than our very own Whangarei Central Holiday Park. Our expert team and facilities are perfect for setting you up for any other adventure our region has to offer. We offer a bed for every budget.
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