What others have said about Whangaroa

Whangaroa harbour is one of those places you just have to see for yourself.


 Enjoy these comments about the beauty and splendour of New Zealands most scenic harbour.


Whangaroa    houseboat video


western arm




lane- Cove



Ross Lyons: local fisherman 2004

"If you can't catch a fish in Whangaroa, then you can't fish."

Early colonial Europeans comments on Whangaroa.



Travels in New Zealand , Ernest Dieffenbach M.D. 1843

The entrance to the harbour is formed by towering perpendicular rocks and is only 150 yards broad. Pohutukawa trees and others overhang these black walls and form a very picturesque contrast with them. The entrance looks as if solid rocks have been rent asunder by an earthquake, and the steep opposite sides have undergone a continued friction before they parted. Deep fissures penetrate the coast, and high cubical masses are piled one above another in-shore to the height of several hundred feet.

The harbour itself is very spacious and deep, possesses anchorage for the largest fleet, and is sheltered from all winds. As a harbour it ranks with the best in New Zealand and the beauty of its scenery is nowhere surpassed.



stitch waahi bay

Lieutenant Richard Cruise, February 1820 aboard the Dromedary

A singular and beautifully romantic place. Near the Northern head is a large perforated rock like a deep gothic archway. The seas roll through it and canoes find it a safe passage in Moderate weather. The entrance is not more than half a mile wide and impossible to detect from any distance at sea, but on both sides it is deep quite close in. Within is one of the finest harbours in the world. The largest fleet could ride there, sheltered from every wind. The interior is lined with richly wooded hills





Narrative of a voyage toNew Zealand performed in the years 1814 & 1815, in company with the Rev. Samuel Marsden.    J.L.Travers

About six o’clock we found ourselves directly in front of the harbour of Wangeroa , the scene of the fatal tragedy of the Boyd. This harbour, though small, is said to be very good; the entrance is narrow, but the interior is completely land locked, so that vessels may ride there in perfect safety. The pencil of the artist would there find a matchless scope for the exercise of its powers; and a pen more capable than mine of doing justice to the sublime scenes which nature presents in this quarter, would not be ill-employed in pourtraying them…….The coast in this part possesses more inviting attractions than I have anywhere else witnessed.







Liz  Van der Laarse "In the quiet folds of Whangaroa".   

There is a sense of peace in the Wairakau Inlet. In the mangrove fringed estuary, the tide creeps over the mud to old coastal trees and on the steep volcanic cliffs bush tumbles around towering rock. It's a place where Maori once lived off the land and sea, combining many of the elements that speak of Northland.


The tide laps right up to the old farm gateway as the track now enters the bush growing beside the shore. An old wire fence and flax bushes separate us from the mangroves. Nikau palms grace tumbled chunks of cliff and a dark stream. Its source is Wairere, a waterfall dropping from the canyon-like cliffs to our right.


Read the full article here



 Kauri grove


A Brief Biological Sketch of the late Richard Cunningham, Colonial botanist in New South Wales . Hooker W.J. Companion to the Botanical magazine Vol 2 1836

With confidence , therefore in, and aided by these grateful people, Richard Cunningham commenced his botanical labours on the hills, around the harbour and v alley of Whangaroa. In the woods he first beheld the only palm yet known to exist in New Zealand Areca sapida (Soland), and there he gathered specimens of a new species of Santalaceae, which he termed from the natives, Mida .

Deep in the glens or ravines, where great shade and perpetual moisture reign, he held with delight the richness of  the filices of these regions, of which he gathered many a specimen.

In these seclude dells, which are never warmed by a genial solar ray, he found several beautiful Epilobia, and in the rocky beds of small brooks, and growing below the surface of those rapid gurgling streams, was observed that charming little plant of Orchidae.

The skirts of these woods were overhung with those species of Clematis, which had been detected by Sir Joseph Banks, in the first voyage of Cook, blending with two kinds of rubus, remarkable for the elongated clusters in which their fruits are disposed.

On the shores of the Harbour, almost within range of flood-tide, it afforded our Botanist great gratification to cull from the trunks of Pohutukawa   an orchideous epiphyte, richly in flower,  and has named it Dendrobium Cunninghamii.



Captain Alexander Berry , City of Edinburgh , 1810

(Captain Berry was the first european to visit Whangaroa after the sacking of the Boyd and was responsible for rescuing the 4 survivors .)

Wang Airoar is formed as follows:-first, a large outer bay, with an island at its entrance; in the bottom of this bay is seen a narrow opening, which appears terminated at a distance of a quarter of a mile; but upon entering it, it is seen to expand into two large basins, at least as secure as any of the docks on the banks of the Thames, and capable of containing (I think) the whole British navy. We found the wreck of The Boyd in shoal water, at the top of the harbour, a most melancholy picture of wanton mischief.




Peach- Island- Ohauroro



Turner j.G. "The pioneer missionary life of the Rev. Nathaniel Turner" London 1872.

Nathaniel Turner was a Welseyan Missionary at what is now Kaeo. 1826.

The largest fleet might ride securely sheltered from any wind. Close to the western shore is a series of huge volcanic rocks of immense height and most fantastic shapes. An insulated rock, three hundred feet high and excessively steep, is the site of the principle pa.




Rev W. White sailing towards Ohauroro Island aboard the Schooner, ‘St. Michael’ in June 1823 commented “… as the morning mist cleared, the scenery was the most Grand, Majestic, Romantic and pleasing that I had ever seen.”