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WorldNew ZealandWhangarei
Port of Entry
35°43.42′S, 174°19.53′E Chart icon.png

Warm in welcome and climate, Whangarei (pronounced "fong-a-ray"), New Zealand is a vibrant, modern city at the centre of a district known for its superb beaches, lush green countryside, and quality of life. The city of 45,000 people lies nestled amid rain-forest clad hills at the western end of a large, picturesque and bountiful harbour. Along the upper reaches of this harbour are a range of facilities for seafarers that are second to none. At the upper most marina, which locals call The Town Basin, you can walk off your boat and be downtown in five minutes. There are few places in the world which cater for cruising yachts in this way, Banks, chandlers, libraries, laundromats, doctors, cinemas, bars, restaurants, and most other modern day conveniences are within strolling distance. At the same time, a full range of marine services is available. Whether you are a complete do-it-yourself cruising operation or "turn-key" cruisers, Whangarei has you covered. Most boatyards are happy for owners to participate in maintenance projects, while several offer a secure service of either boat minding or refitting while owners are absent. More and more visiting yachties are choosing the option of having work completed in the city while they explore the rest of New Zealand.

Whangarei has a strong tradition of boat building and shipping. In pre-European times Maori plied the waters in canoes stone adzed from massive trees felled in the surrounding hills. Next on the scene were the boat builders who arrived with early European settlers. The huge harbour with ample nearby timber supplies was a natural site for building the dinghies and small sailing ships that were the only form of transport between many of the early coastal settlements. In its more recent history Whangarei has added to its reputation for wooden boat work by embracing the use of modern high-tech materials as these have been developed. When you step ashore in the port of Whangarei today you will find contemporary build and repair facilities for vessels ranging from super yachts and war ships to sailing dinghies and inflatables.

The greater Whangarei district, population 66,700, extends from Langs Beach in the south to Bland Bay in the north. This coastline boasts some of the finest beaches in the country, and, as if placed on the map just for cruising yachts, the district is conveniently located on the outer fringe of the magnificent Hauraki Gulf and within an easy day’s sail from the acclaimed Bay of Islands. In short, Whangarei is at the epicenter of the North Island’s famed east coast cruising grounds. In fact the name Whangarei translates from the Maori language as "Cherished Harbour". Just a few miles outside the harbour entrance are the Hen and Chickens Islands and a few more miles to the north is the picturesque Tutukaka Coast, where a safe marina nestles behind a big entrance rock less than a kilometre from the open Pacific. Distant view of the Hen and Chicks Islands taken from Kauri Mountain beach just North of Whangarei.

Only 20 minutes from Whangarei city by road , Tutukaka offers a laid back option for boat owners wanting to do minor works or provisioning or just enjoy a more country atmosphere. Close to good fishing, spectacular coastal walks and surf beaches, Tutukaka also has a selection of cafes and bars. The Tutukaka marina is home port to a small fleet of dive and fishing charter boats. Twelve miles offshore the Poor Knights Islands marine reserve is rated as one of the world’s top dive locations. These islands offer scores of different dives in clear oceanic water, where a warmer Pacific current nudges near sheer underwater cliffs nurturing an amazing array of colourful marine life. The fishing charters include line fishing and big game action, with striped marlin a special target during the summer months and freshly caught snapper a culinary delight year round. View of Ngunguru Estuary. Ngunguru is just south of Tutukaka Harbour.

Just a two hour drive, or a 40 minute flight, north of Auckland, the Whangarei district enjoys an average of 2,000 hours of sunshine a year. With an annual rainfall of 1555 mm this results in a near sub-tropical climate in which to enjoy the stunning beaches, incredible coastal scenery, and wide variety of aquatic adventures, all within a 30 minute drive of the city centre. In the heart of the city, Quayside at the Town Basin is a delightful waterside cluster. Modern landscaping and contemporary "colonial" architecture, a marina and parts of the original wharf where sailing ships once tied up, set the tone for this popular gathering place in the Pacific for yachties of all nationalities. Visitors and locals mingle, socialise and do business in the unique atmosphere; a variety of cafes, restaurants, museums, art galleries and speciality shops line the waterfront.

For those who enjoy the outdoors there are four superb golf courses within ten minutes of the city, and colourful urban parks offer leisurely walks. Rural and coastal reserves open up unspoiled rain forest and ocean vistas to hikers and bikers of all levels.

For those with children, or just a thirst for learning, Whangarei has a number of excellent schools, from kindergarten to High School levels and also boasts a Polytechnic covering a wide range of subjects, up to and including degrees in nursing and education. Other aspects of Whangarei life worth considering include an active live theatre group, a small concert venue at Forum North that regularly features visiting musicians and artists, a heated indoor swimming pool close to the Town Basin and a modern children’s playground close to the Marina.


Land Information NZ
NZ5219 -- Approaches to Marsden Point
NZ5214 -- Marsden Point
NZ5215 -- Whangarei Harbour


Whangarei is the warmest and the northernmost city in New Zealand. Summer days occasionally exceed 30°C, and there is plentiful rainfall spread relatively evenly over the year.

See also New Zealand. Whangarei is at the northern edge of the Colville weather zone, nearly into the Brett weather zone.

Sources for weather information:


Popular passages/routes, timing, etc.




Add any navigation notes such approaches, dangers etc here. If this section does not apply remove it.


Whangarei is a port of entry and exit for overseas vessels.

The Customs, Immigration and MAF (Quarantine) are known to be very pleasant and helpful.

Customs officer Bruce Cooper - Email

1. Fax or email an Advance Notice of Arrival (small craft) before leaving your last foreign port
Fax to +64 9 359 6692, Email
You can download the form here: Forms

There is also a list of where you can get the customs information pack on their web site.

The Inward Report (small craft) can be sent electronically via email or if you have it completed when you meet customs if will speed up the clearance process.

2. At least 48 hours before arrival you must contact NZ customs with your estimated time and place of arrival through one of these methods:

  • Call Taupo Maritime Radio (ZLM) on SSB 4125, 6215, 8291 or 12290 Kbz
  • Call Russell Radio on SSB 4445, 6516 or 13103 Kbz to report for you
  • Email

3. Approaching Whangarei, arrange Customs clearance through Whangarei Harbour Radio VHF Ch 16 or 19. They will direct you to the Customs and Quaranteen area. Do not anchor in New Zealand waters before clearing customs!

For entrance details also see New Zealand.


Marinas & Yacht Clubs


List details of all safe anchorages in the area.

Yacht Repairs and Services

Marine Stores & Repairs

  • Doyle Sails Northland - new/repairs Sails & Marine Canvas specialists. Tel. 09 4302801, Email


  • Dockland 5
  • Riverside Drive Marina
  • Norsand
  • Friendship Yachts
  • Riverside Boat works

Fuel, Water, & Electricity

Marsden Cove Marina
Drinkable tap water though chlorinated.
A NZ/Aus electrical warrant of fitness is required.

Tourism and Things to do Ashore


List places of interest, tours, etc.

Grocery & Supply Stores

  • Pak'n'save Supermarket - cheapest around
  • Countdown Supermarket
  • New World Supermarket


  • over 40 restaurants in town: Indian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Steakhouse, Seafood, Pizza, Tapas, Kiwi style.....


Yes. Recommend Netstop. Also see Internet in New Zealand.

Motorbike & Car Rentals

Garbage Disposal



Transportation (local and/or international)


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)



See New Zealand.


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SailorSmiley.gifContributors to this page

Names: Lighthouse, Oceanswatch, Wiksun, Whangarei Marina, Haiqu, Delatbabel

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