Whangarei Heads is situated just 30 mins from Whangarei city and is easy to spot as it’s the most iconic view of the district.
A cluster of volcanic remnants, its jagged peaks rise high above the forested slopes that are home to wood pigeons, bats, skinks, geckos, the threatened flax snail and more. Mount Manaia stands at 420 metres tall and is about a one hour ascent up to the summit which offers magnificent 360 degree views including Bream Bay, Whangarei Harbour and Northland coast.
185km from Auckland CBD Beaches nearby Decent reception No cafes, grab snacks in Whangarei
From Auckland central take the SH16/North Western motorway and turn left at the Te Atatu exit. At the first roundabout take the second exit onto Edmonton Rd, follow this to another roundabout. Turn right at the first, left at the second and then take the second exit at the third roundabout (effectively going straight through). Keep following the road straight ahead as it takes you down Henderson Valley Rd. From here, follow the signs to Piha Rd, following Forest Hill Rd, Scenic Drive and Piha Road.
Drive down Piha Rd until about 5 minutes in you’ll see the sign for Anawhata Road on the right. From here on it’s a narrow, gravel road for about 20 minutes through dense forest. You’ll know you're close once you’re hit with the stunning views overlooking the coast of North Piha. There is a small parking lot at the top of your climb down with a spectacular view of your destination. A 20-30 min walk (depending on how keen you are) downhill through the bush will take you to the beach.
There is a secret spot that you can find off the beaten track with 3 cascading rock pools high above the beach. Taking your kids to this particular spot is not recommended due to open cliff faces but if you’re up for an adventure it’s definitely worth finding.