Whangarei Heads is east of Whangarei in Northland. From my home in Waipu I look across to Whangarei Heads – It is a magical place, and for the last 20 years I have camped there with friends. It is a peninsula – you don’t go through there to get anywhere else – so only those who want to go are there. We camp on private land – an organic dairy farm near Ocean Beach. It is relatively deserted even at the height of summer. It is a perfect place for a water based holiday.
It’s a great holiday – cheap, easy, relaxing and there is so much to explore at Whangarei Heads. There is the harbour – Urquarts Bay at full tide with a light or easterly wind is magic. Crystal clear waters – we swim, kayak, or simply laze around. In a southerly, we head for Ocean Beach and the surf with our boogie boards.
For dinner we walk up Proctors beach at low tide for mussels
Bream Head is a fabulous nature reserve – with walks from an hour to 7 hours – our every year favourite is Smugglers Cove.
Part of the Bream Head Coastal Walkway, Smugglers Cove is a perfect curve of white sand, with rock outcrops at either end which are perfect for snorkelling. It is ringed by Pohutukawa and has to be one of the most perfect beaches in New Zealand.
To get there drive to Whangarei Heads – follow the signs to the last harbour beach of Urquarts Bay. Park in the area at the end of the Bay. From there you have two choices.
Take a picnic and enjoy – we certainly did!
Mt Manaia and Mt Aubrey
One regular summer excursion at camp is to climb Mt Manaia. This mountain is a distinctive icon of the area, a sacred mountain to local Maori, and also has a memorial to the Nova Scotian settlers who spread out from their base at Waipu in the mid 18th Century.
It is a challenging climb up, but with the reward of fabulous views over the entire Whangarei District.
Mt Aubrey is another nearby walkway – through kiwi bush reserve then around through several bays, a marine reserve and back to the car.
I visited Clare and Mark of Bream Head Coastal walks – Northland’s first three-day private (unguided) walk. This is an amazing trip and great way to explore the area.