Whangaroa's history goes back to Maori settlement, a mission station, kauri gum digging, and a prodigious boom time when kauri logs were brought from the surrounding hills in enormous quantities, settlements and mills flourished, and busy shipbuilding yards operated around the harbour. Between 1850 and 1909 these shipyards produced over 100 ships – schooners, brigantines and ketches – which sailed the high seas and ended up in all corners of the globe.
Those days are past, but unspoilt beauty remains to delight the traveller. The harbour itself is the jewel in a crown of beautiful bays that encircle Whangaroa's coastline. There are still substantial areas of native bush within the district. The small townships and settlements keep their sense of history, and some of their original buildings remain to carry whispers of the past into the 21st century. Whangaroa remains a magnet for the game fisherman. Pristine white sand beaches and clear water create a ideal getaway in summer time for holiday makers. Whangaroa community website
40 minutes drive north of the Bay of Islands and 20 minutes south of Doubtless Bay, its location on the Twin Coast Discovery Highway makes the Whangaroa district an ideal stopover for travellers searching for that something different, that speaks of authentic Northland, unspoilt and unique.
- Beach and surf. The Whangaroa district has some of New Zealand's most picturesque white sand beaches, which are ideal for swimming, snorkeling and surfing, along with just lazing around. Matauri Bay, Tauranga Bay and Taupo Bay have family campgrounds and are popular spots in summer.
- Climb Taratara Rock. Drive a few minutes up State Highway 10 and you'll see Taratara Rock on your left. Can be accessed on Otangaroa Road and Taratara Road off SH 10.
- Wairakau Stream Track. Two-hour, 5.6-km hike (one way) from Campbell Rd, Totara North, to Lane Cove Hut.
- 1 Madhatters Donna's cafe, 17 Leigh St, Kaeo. Daily 8:30AM–3PM.
- 2 Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club Cafe and Bistro, 573 Whangaroa Rd, Whangaroa, ☎ . Daily noon–8:30PM.
- 1 La Grange, 91 Old Hospital Rd, Whangaroa. An open-plan chalet.
- 2 Marlin Hotel, Whangaroa Rd, Whangaroa. On the waterfront. Has a restaurant.
- 3 Pacific Harbour Lodge, 8 Lewer Rd, Whangaroa.
- 4 Tauranga Bay Holiday Park, 51 Tauranga Bay Rd. Cabins and campsites beside the beach.
- 5 Waimanu Lodge, 76A Old Hospital Rd, Whangaroa.
- 6 Whangaroa Lodge Motel, 8 Old Church Rd, Whangaroa. Studio self-catering apartments. From $135.
- The Hokianga (70 minutes drive from Kaeo)
- Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands to the south
- Taipa-Mangonui to the north-west