A day in Whangarei and a mission to find something to entertain 3 children and 2 adults while not blowing the budget – here’s our 3 things to do in Whangarei with children.
Last weekend we headed up to Northland with the 3 kids in tow to go camping in Pataua. Before we checked in though we had a few hours (on account of James waking us all at 5am to miss the traffic) to explore Whangarei. Some googling and a few referrals later we had a list of places to explore…
#1 Whangarei Falls
At 8am there’s not a huge amount to do anywhere so our first stop had to be something that was open at this time of day. Free was always going to be a winner, as was anywhere that I could take photos. With 3 fractious children after an early morning start and 2 and a half hours in the back seat with all the bags it also had to be relatively low effort.
Whangarei Falls ticked all these boxes.
Not only open, but it was relatively busy at 8am with a steady stream of visitors traversing the paths.
Absolutely free and also heaps of photo opportunities with vantage points from the top of the falls and down the bottom of the falls. Don’t take your best camera without a raincoat (seriously, you can get these for cameras – I even have one for shoots in the rain!) as the spray from the waterfall is pretty intense.
A quick, well cared for path down to the falls this was well within the ability of even the littlest legs in our family and the powerful falls and bridges were enough of a reward to make the walk worthwhile for all.
We didn’t spend a huge amount of time here – probably around half an hour but there are lots of grassy area’s for picnics, hand stands or tag if you are planning on staying longer. Definitely one of those things that you should stop in and see if you are heading to or through Whangarei.
#2 Adventure Forest
A 10 minute drive out of Whangarei, Adventure Forest is like living in the movie Hook (you know the one where they live in the trees and have all crazy ways of getting around).
Incredibly picturesque Tree Adventures boasts 10 courses to suit every age and stage. On the web site they say to allow 2 – 3 hours but we ended up in the trees for 3 and a half hours (far longer than we planned on staying) and it barely felt like it at all. It certainly made us feel better about the $27 entry fee for each of the kids.
The courses themselves were just the right amount of challenging – easy to start with getting up to really hard by the end. Your end course is determined by how high you can reach and is definitely at the upper end of what kids can comfortably do (but hey, challenge is what its all about). When they reach this level they are probably going to want to have yours up there too – which still gives you a chance to get photos at the start when they are still close enough to see.
We had James on the ground to help with clipping and unclipping and I went up the trees with the girls. We only went up to their height levels so it wasn’t particularly hard but letting go on those flying foxes is certainly the furtherest I’ve been out of my comfort zone for a long time.
All up – beautiful location and a chance to spend real quality family time together (to help with this there is no phone coverage) while doing something active and fun.
This was our big spend in Whangarei but given it was the only thing we spent money on over the day the money all evened out.
Here’s a link to find out more about them here.
When I think of Whangarei beaches weren’t what came top of mind. After a weekend at the most amazing beach I think I have ever been to (Pataua South) I don’t think I could ever not think of beaches when I think of Whangarei.
Just a 30 minute drive out of the city you will find the most amazing beaches. We only went to a couple but there are so many more to explore. There is such a variety too – from wild surf beaches to calm estuaries – all within 5 minutes of each other.
I would love to take a couple of weeks just making my way from beach to beach.
We’re a little bit in love with Whangarei and can’t wait for our next visit up there….