When I told people I was going to stop off at Whangarei, the most common question was, ‘why?’
According to many Kiwis, and other backpackers, there was no reason to go there on my way north – but many said this about Invercargill and Stewart Island, and that proved to be an experience I’m glad to have had.
I planned for one night, as there was really only one thing I wanted to see – however, I think there’s enough in the are for two or three days of exploring – and more if you have a car.
Walking to Whangarei Falls
The Whangarei Falls are a bit of a walk from the CBD, and there are a few ways to get there. You can drive or walk, with two main routes. You can walk along the road, or you can follow the Hatea River for a scenic and relaxing nature trail.
I took the latter, and it took around 90-minutes to get from my hostel to the Whangarei Falls Scenic Reserve, and I took a walk around the waterfall and got some amazing shots.
While impressive, if there had been some recent rainfall there would have been a more impactful rush of water cascading over the top. That said, it was pretty impressive and a nice reward for a sunny evening’s walk.
A diversion to Mount Parihaka lookout
I took the same route back but, about halfway, I reached a fork in the path.
It led up a hill to a lookout over Whangarei, the Mount Parihaka lookout. Now, you all know me by now – I just can’t seem to resist a hill – especially on a hot day!
So, up I climbed. Within ten minutes, I once again questioned my decisions as I dripped with sweat. It felt like the steps and inclines would never end, but then I was rewarded with this.
It’s views like this, with the sun dropping lower in the sky, that make such climbs worth it. If I had more time, I probably wouldn’t have done these two things together, but at least the walk down was easy enough!
And that was it. A short but sweet visit to Whangarei, and on to Paihia in the morning.