About Whangarei

WARM IN WELCOME & CLIMATE   Why should you sail in? Watch the video! 

Whangarei is a vibrant harbour city at the centre of a district famous for beautiful beaches, lush green countryside and a relaxed lifestyle.  The city (population 53,000) lies in the protected upper reaches of a picturesque harbour, nestled amid forest-clad hills.  Whangarei harbour is situated on the north-western fringe of the Hauraki Gulf, within a day's sail from either the Bay of Islands or Auckland.

Traditionally a gathering place for Maori tribes, Whangarei is now world-famous as a meeting place for the international cruising boat community.

Whangarei offers a unique combination of attractions including:

  • One of the world's best locations for a wide range of high quality, value-for-money marine services and supplies
  • Excellent protection in affordable, international standard marinas and numerous delightful bays
  • A great base in New Zealand, with beautiful scenery; great beaches; fishing; hiking and many other outdoor pursuits, as well as schools and healthcare
  • All the amenities of 'home': from major retail outlets and supermarkets to boutiques and farmers' markets; from fine dining and cafes to fast food outlets, as well as an active arts and cultural scene.

These are all easily accessible in a safe, friendly, small-town atmosphere, where cruising yachties are warmly welcomed and recognised as a valued part of our community and our economy.

Whangarei is justifiably the market leader for cruising yacht refits in New Zealand.  Our marine craftspeople take old-fashioned pride in the quality of their work and a Kiwi 'can do' attitude, while providing a range of cutting-edge expertise and services at competitive prices.

Whangarei is an ideal destination for cruisers wanting to avoid the cyclone season and take the opportunity to repair or refit their boat.  Well-protected boat storage, both in and out of the water, is readily available.  New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, is also only a 30 minute flight or two hour drive south.




Whangarei has three marinas within the harbour offering cruising skippers a choice of berths.  MARSDEN COVE MARINA hosts New Zealand's most convenient Port of Entry Customs clearance facility, with easy, all-tide access to a protected Quarantine dock and well-appointed, international standard marina.  Located just inside the Whangarei Harbour entrance, Marsden Cove is just 28nm further from Suva, Fiji than Opua.  It offers both ready access to the ocean and the main highway south to Auckland, as well as a variety of retail shops, duty free fuel, restuarant and services in an attractive setting.  THE WHANGAREI MARINA in the TOWN BASIN, along with neighbouring RIVERSIDE DRIVE MARINA, are located in the heart of Whangarei City, approximately 11 nautical miles inland from the harbour entrance.  It offers convenient access to the city shops, grocery stores, amenities, marine services, and is very popular with cruising skippers and crew who wish to remain moored for longer periods.  Pontoon berths up to 30 meters and pile moorings are available.




Whangarei harbour is home to some of New Zealand's most highly-regarded boat builders and marine servicing companies.  Exceptionally high-quality craftsmanship and professional project management comoplement a comprehensive range of professional marine services.  

When you step ashore in Whangarei you will find contemporary build and repair facilities for vessels ranging from dinghies to superyachts. In fact, more than half of the cruising yachts that arrive in New Zealand choose Whangarei as their re-fit destination.

Services provided include rigging, plumbing, carpentry, electronics, painting, electrical, metalworking and mechanical/engine work, as wellas parts and materials for those who want to do their own work.

In addition to world-class refitting and repair facilities, our marine businesses have built outstanding and innovative yachts and our craftspeople are in high demand throughout New Zealand.

Whangarei boasts considerable competitive advantages for refitting. Low overheads and very reasonable charge rates allow our companies to remain highly competitive with other refit and rebuild destinations. In addition to servicing monohulls, our local boatyards and marinas have become catamaran specialists, offering the most cost-effective haulout options in the country for boats up to a 12- metre beam, and a large number of spacious and affordable cat berths.

While it’s one of the best places in the southern hemisphere to have work done, Whangarei is also a great place to live while the work is being completed. For those who wish to store their boats while they return home or to go touring, Whangarei offers wellprotected storage both in and out of the water, as well as good air and road connections to Auckland International Airport.




The harbour marinas are at the heart of the city and there is always a vibrant social scene where you can make new friends and reconnect withold ones. The colonial style waterfront at the Town Basin Marina houses galleries and speciality shops; cafés, restaurants, the new Art Museum, art park, heritage walkway and a playground. A wide range of amenities is only minutes away, often within easy walking distance.

With access to both coast and country, Whangarei’s award-winning restaurants and cafes are able to use fresh local seafood and produce from the surrounding farming and horticultural areas. Locally grown produce – including artisan cheeses and small goods, organic meat and vegetables - is available at the famous Whangarei Farmers/Growers market every Saturday morning. The city also has many good supermarkets, chain restaurants and fast food outlets.

For evening entertainment, there is a choice of bars with live music, cinemas, shows, and a variety of events staged throughout the year, including welcome and farewell events for visiting yachties.

Maori cultural traditions are remembered and honoured and remain an everyday part of life for many people in the district. You’ll also meet with descendants of New Zealand’s earliest European pioneers and people from around the globe whose families have made this area their home.

This diversity is reflected in Whangarei’s thriving arts culture. Well-known painters, sculptors, artisans and craftspeople hold open studios, art classes and exhibit their work in specialty shops, at artisan fairs or at one of the many local galleries. Whangarei has a number of museums showing a diverse array of displays from New Zealand’s largest clock collection to living historyat Kiwi House.

Whangarei’s awarding-winning library has a comprehensive loan collection of books, as well as the latest magazines, newspapers, music CDs and movie DVDs. It also offers internet access, photocopying and a host of educational opportunities, as well as a café where you can read as you sip an espresso.

For outdoor recreation, the city presents lovely gardens, parks, walkways, cycle tracks and playgrounds, including several skate parks. Whangarei has a full complement of recreation facilities - several golf clubs, heated pool, gyms, yoga and pilates studios and sports fields.

Within two or three minutes’ walk of the Town Marinas there are tranquil walks through native forest with outstanding views of the harbour. Further afield there are more challenging hikes up dramatically-sculpted mountain peaks looking out over the coastline and offshore islands.




Beautiful islands are dotted along Whangarei’s coastline, some offering good overnight anchorages for cruising boats. These include the highly-acclaimed divers’ paradise, the Poor Knights, and the towering Hen and Chicken Islands. The coastline also boasts some of the most attractive coves and beaches in the country. Ranked 3rd in the world with National Geographic.

Whangarei’s sub-tropical climate means water sports and paddle boarding rate highly on the local community’s agenda and include diving, surfing, kayaking, kite-boarding and great fishing.

Road trips and tours will lead you to discover the beauty of the district’s countryside, with fertile farming and horticultural land interspersed with native bush and exotic forest plantations. Townships throughout the Whangarei District offer local galleries, museums, wineries, eateries, parks, tours and special events.

Accommodation throughout the district ranges from camping grounds through family-run B&Bs to first class waterside accommodation.




The Whangarei Marine Group was set up to promote, streamline and improve the services available to international yachts visiting our unique city. Membership is open to all Whangarei marine businesses with a proven track record of quality work and service in Whangarei. Our members offer a comprehensive range of top quality and easily accessible services. They agree to abide by the Group’s code of conduct, which ensures a high standard of work and customer satisfaction.

Whangarei has a strong tradition of boat building and servicing the marine industry. Among the Marine Group’s members are many long-established businesses. Some are small family affairs where the person doing the work is also the owner, while others have developed into large companies. The theme running through them all is a commitment to quality and their customers: the visiting sailors.

If you need information or help finding services you can contact any of our members, whose details are provided on this website.

Using the information we provide on our website owners and crew of yachts cruising in the South Pacific can either plan and make bookings for major refits well ahead, or if they need more urgent work done, they can have their needs rapidly assessed.

The logic is simple: without the visiting yachts Whangarei would not have such a vibrant and diverse marine industry. Local boaties and sailors, many of whom work in the marine industries, also benefit from these high quality services, as does the community at large, who enjoy hosting such an interesting range of visitors.

Many of our clients are repeat customers or have heard about our city’s reputation from others sailing the South Pacific. We are client-focused businesses, who know that if we provide exceptional customer services and workmanship, then you will be our best advertisers.


The Whangarei Marine Group is proud to host annual welcome and farewell events to show our appreciation of the social, cultural and economic vitality the international cruising boat community brings and shares with our district. The events are highly anticipated and well attended by our visiting yachties. It is a chance to experience the districts unique cultural heritage, enjoy good food and beverages and meet the locals and fellow cruising yachties. We aim to make your stay in the Whangarei District as comfortable and entertaining as possible while you utilise the wide range of marine services thatare available. The diversity of capabilities within our district ensures that all your requirements can be met to make your stay with us memorable for all the right reasons.

Why should you sail in? Watch the video!