I live on the Tutukaka Coast, just 25 km east of Whangarei. ( Whangarei is the major city of the subtropical North of New Zealand, called Northland. Its main attractions include the remarkable number and diversity of its beaches, its parks and gardens,
and the Town Basin waterfront).
This beautiful piece of coastline, called the Tutukaka Coast, provides everything from safe estuary swimming (Ngunguru) to a world-class surf beach ( Sandy Bay). Our beaches are clean and uncrowded, and surrounded by
beautiful native bush and the magnificent pohutukawa trees ( photo, right), our very own native Christmas tree. Ideal for everyone into boating or marine life, shell collecting, family holidays, diving or surfing. In fact anything to do with the sea!
Tutukaka is well known worldwide for its deep-sea fishing and for the fantastic diving at the Poor Knights marine reserve ( and on two shipwrecks). In fact, it is considered to be one of the Top 10 Dive Spots in the world!
Ngunguru, pictured (left) at dusk, is the first beach you come to when you drive out to the Tutukaka Coast from Whangarei city. It is a small community with a diverse mix of residents living along the Ngunguru River and out to its river mouth ( seen
A favorite launching spot for small boats, it also features a beautiful sandspit, home to many nesting birds. The river is excellent for kayaking, sailing and swimming. ( With small children, beware of the sometimes strong current at the
school end of the beach). On the other side of the sandspit you can experience the open ocean, with its wave action and delightful seafood, particularly the tuatua.
For the tourist, Ngunguru offers a small but comprehensive supermarket, gift stores, sports hall, golf course, kayak hire, tennis courts, school, church, doctors and cafes. Accommodation is wide-ranging, from motels to private holiday homes, and there are
places to rest in your campervan.
For those interested in the history of the region, or who would like to explore the Ngunguru river at a leisurely pace, I highly recommend Captain Percy's River Cruise.
And don't forget to come visit us at www.shopenzed.com . We're at 10 Shoebridge Cres, Ngunguru. ( ph 09-4344659)
Just a three minute drive over the hill from Ngunguru, Tutukaka is rapidly becoming a hot tourist spot. A 4-star hotel, Oceans Resort, was completed early 2005, complementing the existing campgrounds, motels, and B&Bs. Tutukaka is also the
launching spot for deep-sea fishing boats and dive boats. You can try your hand at fishing for a marlin, just like Zane Grey, or don scuba gear or snorkel to view superb marine life, in the Poor Knights Reserve.
The Poor Knights islands are situated 23km off the Tutukaka Coast. The islands are a rugged area of caves and cliffs, but more importantly, they are a wildlife reserve both on land and under the sea.
Dive! Tutukaka has their base at Tutukaka. They can take you out to the Poor Knights to dive or snorkel, or you can take the Cave Rider high speed jet boat to see the biggest sea cave in the world! Other dive and fishing charters also operate
from Tutukaka Marina.
For a slower pace, hire a kayak at Tutukaka ( and at Ngunguru) and go exploring.
Not into the sea? That's OK! You might like to take a walk along one of the many tracks dotted around the Tutukaka Coast, play golf, tennis, bowls or petanque at the Ngunguru Sports Complex, or just sit in a cafe at Tutukaka or Ngunguru, and soak up
For great eating out, try:
Salt Air Cafe ( Ngunguru) - cute little cafe with exceptional food and great coffee.
Marina Pizzeria ( Tutukaka) - rated one of the top pizzerias in the whole of New Zealand, it has a friendly atmosphere, great seating on the edge of the Marina, and a broad menu ( not just pizzas).
Schnapper Rock ( Tutukaka) - one of the icons of the Tutukaka Coast, a licensed restaurant and bar, featuring Pacific style food
Greens Restaurant ( Ngunguru) - situated in the Ngunguru Sports Complex, Greens menu is all about good food at a reasonable price.
Knights Restaurant and Bar (Tutukaka) - fine dining at the Oceans Resort restaurant
Moochas Bistro ( Tutukaka) - well priced family bistro food inside the Tutukaka Game Fishing Club.
Havana Cabana (Sandy Bay) - a colourful caravan nestled in banana palms by the sea at Sandy Bay, serving classic Cuban specialties, authentically prepared with imported ingredients.
Isn't it gorgeous? And this photo is Matapouri at Christmas, the busiest time on the Tutukaka Coast.
Matapouri is a great beach for families. Launch your boat, do some waterskiing, have fun in the surf on your boogie board or surfski, go kayaking, walk the long beach....there is something for everyone! Beautiful white sand, and just walk down to the
end of the beach, thru a gap in the hills, and you are suddenly at a black pebble beach. Turn to your left, and take the beautiful cliff-top walk over to Whale Bay. Or turn right, explore the rocks, and you might just find the Mermaid Pools, a well-kept secret.
TAWAPOU COASTAL NATIVES (Nursery): Just a short distance and on the other side of the road from the Farm Park, is Tawapou Coastal Natives. The selection is huge, and you can purchase their hardy natives direct from the nursery.
RUSSELL FRANSHAM SUBTROPICALS: If you fancy having a subtropical orchard or garden, take a trip to see Russell Fransham, in Clements Rd, Matapouri. He has an extensive range of subtropicals and olives for you to buy. I've purchased several
subtropicals from Russell, and been more than happy with all of them.
A store at Matapouri supplies all your basic grocery needs plus the essential icecreams and takeaways.
Over the hill from Matapouri, carry on to visit these 3 beautiful bays. Whale Bay is exquisite, accessible only by a short walking track. Sandy Bay is a great beach for surfing. From there, you can carry on north, as the road will bring you out at
Hikurangi, north of Whangarei.
Where to stay