It’s worth hanging around Whangarei to explore the surrounding area, particularly to the east and north of the town where craggy, weathered remains of ancient volcanoes abut the sea. Southeast of the town, Whangarei Heads is the district’s volcanic heartland where dramatic walks follow the coast to calm harbour beaches and windswept coastal strands; a kayak trip is a great way to get the best views of a landscape built from often-violent activity. To the northeast, Tutukaka acts as the base for dive trips to the undersea wonderland around the Poor Knights Islands.

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