Stroll through this picturesque yachting marina and along its pedestrianized river inlet, a place where seafaring, heritage, arts and culture come together.
If you love the water and art browsing, make a beeline for the Town Basin Marina when you arrive in Whangarei. Browse the shops, restaurants, cafés and docks of the Whangarei Marina, watch boats come and go, then follow the Town Basin Art Trail along the waterfront to be immersed in creativity and culture.
This waterfront development is Whangarei’s most idyllic pocket, with bobbing sailing boats in the turquoise South Pacific waters and art museums and outdoor modern and Māori sculptures dotting the emerald lawns of the wider harbor.
The Town Basin, known as Te Ahipupurangi-a-ihenga by Māori, has been frequented by waka (canoes) as long as anyone can remember. The present-day marina is right beside the largest pā site in the country, a strategic hilltop settlement that allowed New Zealand’s first people to spot new arrivals. The Town Basin’s sheltered location was also valued by British settlers, who shipped ancient kauri trees from here. These days, the marina is favored by visiting Kiwi and international boatspeople and other tourists.
Visit the prominent Whangarei Art Museum, Te Manawa Toi, which showcases both old and contemporary art works and provides a chronology of the region’s history as seen through artists’ eyes. Art lovers should also visit The Bach Basin Arts and Craft House, the Burning Issues Gallery, Reyburn House Art Gallery and SPIKE Art Gallery to see paintings, glass blowing demonstrations and pottery.
You don’t have to be an art lover to appreciate the Town Basin Art Trail, which is fun for young and old because you can interact with and sit on or hang off the sculptures. If you’re visiting with children, also don’t miss Claphams National Clock Museum with is rare and quirky time pieces and the Town Basin playground next to Reyburn House.
To get to the Town Basin Marina by car, follow the brown signs to Town Basin, Quayside, Whangarei. It’s a 2-hour drive north from Auckland and 1 hour south from the Bay of Islands. If you arrive by boat, enter the marina on the rising tide and stick to the outside curves of the river. The bridge before the marina works on an "opening-on-demand" basis and access is swift. The marina has up to 280 berths available for international sailors.