What to do
Other page links: Art in Bream Bay Where to Eat
Waipu’s Scottish Heritage
Waipu Museum The best small museum in New Zealand – Discover Waipu’s rich heritage and Scottish/Nova Scotian origins.
Waipu Heritage Trail Established in 2002, this trail will take you back to the early Scottish settlement of Waipu, visiting landmarks and buildings marked by distinctive limestone pillars.
Waipu Cemetery - Hamon Rd, off Cove Rd, a beautiful spot to view the river, explore the old graves, or swim.
Waipu Caledonian Society Information about the annual Highland Games held in Waipu over the New Year period. Features the traditions, heritage and culture of the Scottish and Nova Scotian settlers in New Zealand
Outdoors Adventures in Bream Bay
The Beaches: the only decision is which one – a safe deserted stretch, a clothes optional beach, a long beach to walk on, the popular surf beach of Waipu Cove and Ruakaka (surf patrol in the summer), the white sands of Lang’s Cove, the surf at Mangawhai or Te Arai point…..
Waipu Golf Club: Visitors welcome at this course with easy walking, fast and true greens and testing layout. All year round course with magnificent view of Bream Bay.
Waipu Caves Walking Track Length 2 km Time 1 hour each way From Ormiston Road the signposted track climbs a leading ridge through farmland dotted with native trees and offering excellent views. The track then passes through a scenic reserve down to the valley and cave area where there is a good picnic spot.
Explore the Waipu caves: 16 kms nw of Waipu. There are 300m of explored passageways. The main cave is 175m in length an contains one of the longest stalagmites in NZ. There is plenty of headroom, impressive limestone formations and glow-worms inside the cave. But take care as the surface is wet and slippery. You need good footwear and a torch and compass if venturing into the cave.
Nordic Walking NZ - Barbara Faust teaches Nordic Walking. I am a great fan and avid Nordic walker myself – have a one to one lesson when you are staying in Waipu.
Piroa Falls Walkway – 13 kms up the unsealed Waipu Gorge Road South of Waipu. A 10 minute walk from the road takes you to these beautiful falls where you can swim and picnic. This is signposted on SH 1 from the northern foot of the Brynderwyn hills. This beautiful winding mountain road takes you through to Maungaturoto, and is an excellent alternative route to visit the world renowned Kauri Museum at Matakohe. More on Piroa Falls
Tanekaha Forest Track onto the Brynderwyn Ridge from Mangawhai
- Pancake Rocks, Waipu
Waipu Coastal Trail A short track South of Waipu Cove
Cross the stream on the southern end of the beach, follow the path through the gate, and take the upper track. Follow this for about 15-20 mins and you come to an impressive pancake rock structure fringed by ancient Potutukawa trees. This track crosses some private land, so please leave only footprints. The track continues along the coast – follow the signs. Thanks to Alan McKenzie and the Waipu Lions Club for the work in opening up this fabulous coastal trail. MORE ON THIS
Mangawhai cliffs Walk Length 5 km Time 2-3 hours return This is a beach and clifftop walkway. The beginning is signposted at the Mangawhai Heads surf club. The route heads north along the beach for about 30 minutes before crossing a fence into paddocks. The walkway continues along the clifftops for about an hour offering excellent views to the Hen and Chickens and Little Barrier islands. At low tide you can return along the bottom of the cliffs. Otherwise you must return the way you have come.
The Brynderwyn Walkway This is a well known tramp from the summit of SH1 to Waipu Cove. It takes 7 hours and is only recommended for serious trampers. Massey Rd cuts this walkway about half way, so one option is to walk from the top of Massey Rd to Waipu Cove.
Water Based Adventures:
Kayaking and Bird Watching in Ruakaka Wildlife Reserve
Princes St, Ruakaka you can rent a kayak at high tide to explore the estuary, or at low tide go on a bird watching trip with Simon who will help you to identify the amazing birdlife that frequents the area. Phone Simon 09 432 8668
Waipu Wildlife Reserve: at the end of Johnson Point Rd – explore at low tide
RidgeBack Fishing Charters – dive or fish the off shore islands, or just cruise and find an empty beach with your friends with Gordon free phone NZ 0800 347 467
Bream Bay Charters provide personalised tours to fish or dolpins and whalewatch in luxury, comfort and style – for groups of 5-6. Ph 09 432 7484
Bay Fishing Charters: operating from Marsden Cove and Whangarei “We can take up to 20 people for a fishing trip, 10 people for an overnight trip and 40 people for a harbour, BBQ or sight seeing cruise.”
Explore the Marsden Cove Marina development on the doorstep of Whangarei Harbour.
Indoor things to do in Bream Bay
Visit the Oil Refinery Visitors Centre Open 7 days a week 10-5pm, this visitors centre is signposted from the Port Marsden Hwy. The Oil Refining Industry is both fascinating and complex, and the working model at the Centre helps to bring the story alive. “There are many parts to what we do and some surprising aspects along the way, such as the fact that we supply elemental sulphur to the fertiliser industry and carbon dioxide to the carbonated beverages industry.”
Visit the Waipu Museum and explore Waipu’s unique story
A great day trip: Drive to Langs Beach – Mangawhai Heads – Mangawhai Village – Kaiwaka – Bream Bay, explore the shops and galleries along the way
This fabulous headland Bream Bay looks out on is Whangarei Heads. From Waipu to Ocean Beach is about 1.5 hr drive.¬† It is one of the most amazing picturesque drives in NZ – winding around the Whangarei Harbour and out to the beach.¬† A great place to explore, and walk the Bream Head tracks, Mt Manaia and Mt Aubrey.¬† Local Website for more info
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