On the other side of the peninsula, Ocean Beach is well known to surfers. Photo / Whangarei District Council
Take a look at WhangÄrei Heads, its unique features and must do activities with Jo Woollacott, Yoga Teacher and Owner of a Holistic Yoga Retreat, WHY Retreat in WhangÄrei Heads
I find that visitors are always surprised by the beauty and diversity of the landscapes of WhangÄrei Heads and often vow to return to give themselves more time to explore all that the region has to offer.
Your first glimpse of the scenery and sparkling harbor of WhangÄrei Heads is at the top of the Brynderwyns, heading north from Auckland, or better yet, from the air when you land at WhangÄrei Airport.
Trek Mount Manaia and the The Te Whara Trail, with their otherworldly volcanic spiers, are arguably the best-known highlights of this scenic region, and many lesser-known trails are suitable for all fitness levels.
If the beaches are your place to be, pack a picnic and head to Smugglers’ cove, named for the promise of the cave treasure. This protected curve of white sand is accessible by the Smugglers Bay Loop Trail, where you can indulge in WWII history at the cannon sites and take in the stunning views down to Coromandel and Great Barrier Island from Busby Head, located at the entrance to the harbor.
On the other side of the peninsula, Ocean beach is well known to surfers and connects an unbroken stretch of secluded beach at Kauri Mountain with the Te Whara Ridge for Te Araroa trail hikers.
Keep your eyes and ears open as you explore WhangÄrei Heads; you are bound to spot one of the many native birds that live here. The kiwi and other species have been reintroduced by Backyard kiwi, with the help of an active local community keeping the area free from predators.
You can also explore underwater on one of the free diving days organized at the WhangÄrei Port Marine Reserve. For something completely different, join Jump off a cliff adventure group for an abseiling experience and enjoy a breathtaking view from the top of a mountain.
Despite its remote location, Heads is only a 30-minute drive from WhangÄrei and offers plenty of B&B-style accommodation options, from a DoC hut to the fishing handle and mine WHY a yoga retreat, where your stay includes vegetarian food, yoga, meditation and guided hikes.
Plan now for the next one WhangÄrei leads the Easter Arts Trail. This annual event showcases the eclectic collection of artists who live in the area. Many offer their work for sale from their homes all year round to keep a lasting memory of your visit.
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