Mangawhai Heads

Nestled on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s North Island, Mangawhai Heads is a coastal gem that beckons travelers with its pristine beaches, scenic beauty, and a laid-back atmosphere. Whether you seek relaxation, outdoor adventure, or a taste of the local culture, this charming destination has something for everyone. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore 15 enchanting things to do in Mangawhai Heads that will make your visit truly memorable.

1. Discovering Mangawhai Heads: An Overview

Coastal Bliss: Mangawhai Heads is a coastal paradise, boasting a stunning coastline that stretches as far as the eye can see. Its golden sandy beaches, clear blue waters, and rugged cliffs create a picturesque setting for relaxation and exploration.

A Surfer’s Paradise: Surfers flock to Mangawhai Heads for its consistent waves and excellent breaks. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a novice looking to catch your first wave, you’ll find the perfect spot to ride the swell.

A Haven for Birdwatchers: Mangawhai Heads is home to an array of bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. Keep your binoculars handy, as you may spot rare and native birds in their natural habitat.

2. Beach Bliss in Mangawhai Heads

Mangawhai Surf Beach: Mangawhai Surf Beach is a popular spot for sunbathing, swimming, and, of course, surfing. The long sandy shore is perfect for leisurely walks and beachcombing.

Mangawhai Estuary Beach: The estuary beach is a calm and sheltered spot, ideal for families with children. Bring a picnic and enjoy a day of swimming, paddleboarding, and building sandcastles.

Te Arai Beach: Just a short drive from Mangawhai Heads, Te Arai Beach is a hidden gem with golden sands and excellent surf conditions. It’s a peaceful escape from the crowds.

Pakiri Beach: A Hidden Gem: Pakiri Beach, a bit farther to the south, is known for its stunning coastline and horseback riding opportunities. Take a horse trek along the shore for a unique beach experience.

3. Outdoor Adventures

Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway: Embark on the Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway for breathtaking coastal views. This scenic hike takes you along the clifftops, offering spectacular vistas of the ocean and surrounding landscapes.

Kayaking in the Estuary: Rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the tranquil waters of the Mangawhai Estuary. It’s a great way to get up close to the area’s rich birdlife and unique coastal ecosystems.

Horse Riding on the Beach: Discover the beauty of Mangawhai’s beaches on horseback. Guided horse treks are available, allowing you to enjoy the coastal scenery from a different perspective.

Mountain Biking Trails: Mountain biking enthusiasts will find a variety of trails to explore in the surrounding areas. The diverse terrain caters to riders of all skill levels.

4. Golfing Paradise

Mangawhai Golf Club: Tee off at the Mangawhai Golf Club, known for its stunning fairways and coastal views. The course offers a challenging yet enjoyable round of golf in a picturesque setting.

Tara Iti Golf Club: For golf aficionados seeking an exclusive experience, the Tara Iti Golf Club is renowned for its world-class course, dunescape, and impeccable design.

5. Wine and Dine

Bennetts of Mangawhai: Indulge in a culinary experience at Bennetts of Mangawhai, a charming café known for its artisan chocolates, delicious coffee, and delectable treats.

The Dune Restaurant and Bar: Savor contemporary New Zealand cuisine with a view at The Dune Restaurant and Bar. Their menu features locally sourced ingredients and a wide selection of wines.

Mangawhai Tavern: For a casual dining experience, head to the Mangawhai Tavern. Enjoy pub classics, live music, and a friendly atmosphere.

6. Mangawhai’s Art Scene

Art Trails and Galleries: Explore Mangawhai’s thriving art scene by visiting local galleries and studios. You’ll find a diverse range of artworks, from paintings and sculptures to ceramics and jewelry.

7. Mangawhai Markets

Mangawhai Tavern Market: Visit the Mangawhai Tavern Market, held every Saturday, for a taste of local produce, crafts, and artisan goods. It’s a great opportunity to meet local makers and growers.

Mangawhai Domain Market: The Mangawhai Domain Market, held on Sundays, offers a delightful mix of fresh produce, crafts, and vintage finds. It’s a relaxed and family-friendly market.

8. Fishing and Boating

Fishing Charters: Join a fishing charter for a day of angling adventures. Mangawhai’s waters are teeming with fish, making it an excellent spot for recreational fishing.

Mangawhai Fishing and Boat Club: The Mangawhai Fishing and Boat Club hosts events and competitions for fishing enthusiasts. Even if you’re not an angler, the club offers a welcoming atmosphere and scenic views.

9. Birdwatching and Wildlife

Mangawhai Wildlife Refuge: Explore the Mangawhai Wildlife Refuge to observe native birdlife and the diverse flora and fauna of the estuary. Birdwatchers will be in their element here.

Birdwatching Hotspots: Keep an eye out for native and migratory birds in Mangawhai’s coastal areas and wetlands. Bring your binoculars and a field guide to identify the different species.

10. Surfing and Water Sports

Surfing Lessons: If you’re new to surfing, take advantage of the local surf schools offering lessons and equipment hire. Catch your first wave or improve your skills with experienced instructors.

Paddleboarding: Paddleboarding is a popular water activity in Mangawhai Heads. Glide along the estuary or test your balance in the ocean waves for a refreshing adventure.

Kitesurfing: Experience the thrill of kitesurfing in the ocean’s breeze. The strong winds and waves of Mangawhai Heads make it an ideal spot for this exciting water sport.

11. Mangawhai’s Historic Sites

The Pioneer Village: Step back in time at the Pioneer Village, where you can explore historic buildings and artifacts, providing insights into the region’s history.

St. Andrews Anglican Church: Visit the picturesque St. Andrews Anglican Church, a local landmark known for its charming architecture and peaceful surroundings.

12. Camping and Accommodation

Mangawhai Heads Holiday Park: Enjoy the ultimate beachfront camping experience at Mangawhai Heads Holiday Park. The park offers powered and non-powered sites, as well as cabins, making it suitable for all types of travelers.

Holiday Homes and Baches: Many holiday homes and baches (cottages) are available for rent in Mangawhai Heads. These accommodations provide a comfortable and private retreat for families and groups.

13. Family-Friendly Fun

Mini Golf at Mangawhai Activity Zone: Have a blast at the Mangawhai Activity Zone, which features a mini-golf course, a playground, and a maze—a perfect spot for family-friendly entertainment.

Mangawhai Adventure Park: For an adrenaline rush, head to the Mangawhai Adventure Park, offering activities such as ziplining and tree climbing, suitable for all ages.

14. Mangawhai’s Fishing Heritage

Visit the Local Wharf: Take a leisurely stroll along the local wharf to soak in the seaside ambiance. It’s a great spot for fishing, watching the boats go by, or simply enjoying the coastal views.

15. Practical Tips for Exploring Mangawhai Heads

Getting There: Mangawhai Heads is approximately a 1.5-hour drive from Auckland. You can also reach it by bus or shuttle service.

Weather and Best Time to Visit: Mangawhai Heads enjoys a mild coastal climate, making it a year-round destination. However, the summer months (December to February) are ideal for beach activities.

Accommodation Options: Consider booking accommodation in advance, especially during peak holiday seasons, to secure your preferred choice.

Safety and Conservation: Respect the natural environment and wildlife in Mangawhai Heads. Follow local safety guidelines when engaging in water sports or outdoor activities.

Conclusion: Embrace the Coastal Magic of Mangawhai Heads

Mangawhai Heads is a coastal haven where nature’s beauty, outdoor adventures, and a warm community spirit converge. Whether you’re basking on the beach, hiking along the cliffs, or savoring local cuisine, this destination offers a perfect blend of relaxation and excitement.

As you explore the enchanting landscapes and vibrant culture of Mangawhai Heads, you’ll discover a place where time slows down, where every sunset is a masterpiece, and where the coastal magic leaves an indelible mark on your heart. Embrace the allure of Mangawhai Heads and make unforgettable memories in this coastal paradise.