Kaitaia is a gateway town in the Northern Island approximately 160 km (99 miles) from Whangarei, New Zealand. It is often regarded as the capital of the Far North and an important pit spot for a road trip to the Northland. Besides being rich in European, Dalmatian and Maori cultures, the town is a major service center of the Northland. Be it restaurants, shopping centers, security agencies, financial institutions or medical centers, Kaitaia has all your needs covered. Nonetheless, there is much more you can do here than stock up on food and other essentials. For instance, you can go on a food expedition, camping, sightseeing, bowling, tramping, biking and on a bus tour to nearby attractions. Check out this article for these interesting things to do in Kaitaia, New Zealand.
1. Enjoy Kaitaia cuisines at Mussel Rock Café & Bar
Mussel rock café & bar is a great food establishment located along the 75th commerce street, Kaitaia. It offers a wide range of local delicacies including Mussel Fritter, steamed mussels, fish burger, chicken satay with aioli, fish goujons served with tartare, cheeseburgers, fish fingers and chips to mention but a few. The food at this joint will leave you mesmerized. You will be served sizable, non-greasy chunks of mussel meat that have been deep-fried and topped with aioli. At the bar, you will be offered different beers, ciders, wines, and cocktails to wash down the food in a relaxing atmosphere. Lastly, Mussel Rock Café has a few specials for children, which makes it an ideal place for families to relax and enjoy meals.
Mussel Rock Café & Bar
Address: 75 Commerce Street Kaitaia
Website: Mussel Rock Café & Bar
Opening hours: Mon: 9am - 6pm; Tue - Wed: 9am - 8pm; Thu - Sat: 9am - 1am (closed on Sun)
2. Go camping at Wagener holiday park
Dubbed Houhora due to its natural beauty, Wagener Holiday Park has remained a favorite camping ground for many people since the 1900s. Currently, it is recognized in the Northland as the perfect holiday park and camping ground for individuals and families due to its unbeatable offers. For instance, as an extra, Houhora runs a special program comprising of sandcastles, movies and face painting for children during the busy summer holidays. The cabin complex is equipped with the necessary facilities including a kitchen, picnic tables, washroom block, and barbeque oven to cater to different needs. What’s more, the cabins are specially designed with picturesque harbor views overlooking the rising morning sun.
Wagener Holiday Park
Address: 214 Houhora Heads Road, Houhora Heads Kaitaia 0484
Website: Wagener Holiday Park
Opening hours: 6am - 6pm (daily)
Price: 18 USD
3. Visit Te Ahu Museum for cultural enlightenment
A trip to Kaitaia is never complete without a visit to the legendary Te Ahu multi-functional center. At the museum, you will encounter treasures and taonga that tell different stories about the history of the Northland, particularly the Tai Tokerau region. Some of its treasures include the pounamu, ancient carvings and the 500-year-old remains of the long-extinct Polynesian dog named Kuri. In terms of writings, the museum holds a vast collection of journals, diaries, maps, newspapers, and photographs to illuminate and quench your curiosity on the history of the Far North District. The archives are open on weekdays for casual visitors but researchers must book an appointment before they visit.
Te Ahu Museum
Address: Corner Matthews Ave and South Road, Kaitaia
Website: Te Ahu Museum
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8.30am - 4.30pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
4. Check out the displays at Mathew's Vintage Museum
Matthews Vintage Collection...on way to Taipa, opposite Aurere beachPosted by I was Born, Bred or Lived in Wonderful Kaitaia on Friday, 24 October 2014
Mathew’s Vintage Museum is also a home for Northland’s hidden treasures. The facility holds virtually everything from household, pioneering and traditional farming appliances to a large collection of vintage cars, fire trucks, tractors and other machinery used in New Zealand in the early 1900s. The car collection comprises of Chevrolets, Nashs and the Singer Roadster. The collection also consists of a variety of stationary engines including Wolseleys, Listers, Andersons, Bamford, and Tangye. Come and relax in this serene setting as you enjoy the hospitality of the host and beautiful views of ostriches, peacocks, sheep, and other friendly farm animals. Indeed, Mathew Vintage Collection is a treasure of ancient history and a perfect destination for family outings in the Northland.
Mathew's Vintage Museum
Address: 4365 State Highway 10, Kaitaia 0486
Website: Mathew’s Vintage Museum
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
5. Go sightseeing along the Herekino Forest Track
The start of the 15 km Herekino Forest Track, south of passes through forest that is home to many rare and threatened...Posted by Janice Dunn on Monday, 10 August 2015
Herekino Forest Track is an approximately 15 km (9.3-mile) path passing through a forest that is inhabited by many rare species of animals, such as the brown kiwi, kauri snail, and the long-tailed bat. Although the track has some steep sections in the first part of its course, the breathtaking scenery of flora and fauna makes the escapade worthwhile. Along the path, you will see spectacular kauri stands and a mixture of podocarps and hardwood trees with an understorey of ferns and shrubs. You will also witness the beautiful sceneries of the Karikari, Aupouri Peninsula, Ranganu Harbor, and the doubtless bay.
Herekino Forest Track
Address: Herekino Forest 0481, New Zealand
Website: Herekino Forest Track
6. Enjoy bowling at Far North RSA
Bowling is a major tourist attraction in Kaitaia. One of the best bowling clubs in the region is the RSA. Although the club is known mostly for its bowling sessions, it offers other fun activities such as pool game, snooker and the game of darts. Here, you will also access other key amenities like a restaurant, bar and pokies machines. The club does not have membership restriction and everyone is eligible to join regardless of age and gender. Ideally, RSA is welcoming to new members and visitors looking for a friendly and safe place to enjoy a social day or night out with friends and family.
Far North RSA
Address: 12 Matthews Ave, Kaitaia 0481
Website: Far North Kaitaia RSA
Opening hours: 24 hrs (daily)
7. Take a bus tour with Dune Rider Unique Tours
Renowned for beautiful sunsets and some of the best left-hand surf breaks globally, Ninety-mile beach is a never-ending paradise and a must-visit in the Far North. The sandy beach together with the Te Paki dunes is a major tourist destination. The most convenient way to appreciate the beauty of this area is to take a scenic bus tour from Kaitaia with Petricevich Dune Rider. A major highlight of this journey is the drive through the magnificent Te Paki Dunes and the chance to climb up and boogie board down the quicksands. Here, you will learn the history of the region and the magnificent west coast of the ninety-mile beach. For instance, a visit to the iconic Cape Reinga Lighthouse gives an opportunity to enjoy the vast views steeped in Maori traditions; the lighthouse is suitable for both children and adults.
Dune Rider Unique Tours
Address: 36 Wireless Rd Kaitaia
Website: Cape Reinga Tours
Opening hours: 8.45am - 4pm (daily)
Price: 70 USD
8. Taste different wines at Okahu Estate Vineyard & Winery
Sorry we are now closed for our winter break . Reopening Labour Weekend! But remember we can ship your favourite Okahu or Shipwreck Bay wine to you anywhere in NZ . Just text or call me on 0274 358388 MontyPosted by Okahu Estate on Sunday, 29 October 2017
New Zealand is acclaimed for its distinctive, premium wines. Explore Kaitaia’s vineyards and wineries on foot or take a brief tour and enjoy spectacular sceneries, delicious food and fine wine that the region has to offer. A good place to start your tour will be at the Okahu Estate, the pioneers of winemaking and an award-winning vineyard & winery in the Far North. The estate boasts a picturesque vineyard where you can relax and enjoy a variety of exquisite wines including Chambourcin, Pinotage, Syrah, Viognier, and the Okahu Desserte. Wine tasting in this winery is free but you can buy takeaway to share with friends and relatives.
Okahu Estate Vineyard & Winery
Address: R.D., 1/520 Okahu Rd, Kaitaia 0481
Website: Okahu Estate
Opening hours: Thu - Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed from Mon - Wed)
9. Explore the subtropical paradise of Serafina's Park and Gardens
If you are enthusiastic about gardening, you should visit Serafina’s park and garden in Kaitaia. An area that was once a paddock, it has been transformed into a subtropical paradise comprising of shrubs, trees and a wide range of flowers. Here, you can get a pristine bouquet of rose, tulip, lily, and gladiolus flowers for different occasions, including dates, weddings, birthdays and funerals. The hosts are very hospitable; they can either let you stroll in the garden if you are knowledgeable or walk you around for those seeking enlightenment in gardening. Photos around the garden are permitted and you can capture gorgeous garden photos for special events, especially weddings.
Serafina's Park & Gardens
Website: Serafina’s Park & Gardens
10. Watch a movie at Te Ahu Cinema
Te Ahu Centre is a multifunctional community facility with a cinema, museum, I-SITE information center, and café rolled up in a single magnificent building. A trip to Kaitaia without visiting this spectacular center will forever leave an empty space in your memories of the Northern Island. Besides the cultural center, you can also enjoy some quality movie time alone or with family. The cinema broadcasts a huge collection of hit films from riveting dramas to extremely amusing comedies. Tickets are only available at the cinema kiosk and although you cannot purchase them online, you can still book a seat via phonecall or mail.
Te Ahu Cinema
Address: Corner of State Highway 1 and Mathews Avenue, Kaitaia 0410
Website: Te Ahu Cinema
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8.30am - 5.30pm (closed on Sun)
Price: 13 USD
11. Take a stroll on Kaitaia Walkway
Today we walked the Kaitaia Walkway to the Kauri GrovePosted by Tom Farrell on Wednesday, 19 October 2016
Kaitaia walkway is a 4 km (2.5-mile) track dug during the early 20th century to connect Kaitaia and diggers valley. Take a stroll through the lovely Kauri groves and enjoy scenic views, nature, and other local attractions. For instance, you will encounter pieces of Kauri backs with cute shapes and patterns strewn on the forest floor. The weather of this area is not predictable and for that reason, you should be equipped with comfortable camp shoes and warm and waterproof clothing. The forest boasts lush canopies of broadleaf and podocarp trees that provide cooling shade in the hot weather. Dog access is restricted unless you have a permit from the department of conservation for security purposes or recreational hunting.
Address: 25 Matthews Ave Kaitaia
Fern ridge is a holiday cabin situated deep in the native canopy of the Mangamukas. The range is an important reserve for kauri trees and wildlife, which provide guests with a tranquil wilderness retreat and a perfect getaway from busy urban life. The remote location of fern ridge is ideal for honeymoon getaways or a couple’s adventure. The cabin has an open-plan living, a fully furnished kitchen, a cozy log fire and two elegant bedrooms with ensuite facilities. There is also an outdoor bath and the cabin’s doors open out to fascinating native bushes and coastal sceneries. For reservation, the full payment is required and one must commit to a minimum stay of two nights.
Fern Ridge Hideaway romantic log house for couples
13. Camp in Raetea North Side
Raetea North Side Campsite is another must-visit area in Kaitaia. The campsite is situated along state highway 1. It is an ideal place for picnic or resting during long journeys. In addition, the facility is set in the lowland coastal forests where you can view and listen to the beautiful melodies of native bird species especially the kukupa and parakeet. You can also swim in the crystal clear water and have a picnic along the river banks. However, you should always be vigilant of variations in the strength of the river currents during heavy rains. Stay in this campsite and enjoy the tranquility of camping at the foot of Raetea Forest.
Raetea North Side
Address: South-east of Kaitaia along SH1 at Mangataiore
Website: Raetea North Side
14. Have a mouthwatering dish at The Gecko Cafe
A very popular choice here at the gecko cafe is our open steak sandwhich - toasted european loaf with garlic and olive...Posted by The Gecko Cafe on Thursday, 25 June 2015
The morning queues at gecko cafe are clear evidence that the joint has some of the best dishes and drinks in Kaitaia. Gecko serves the best coffee in town derived from coffee beans that have been freshly roasted in the café. The main menu is yummy: it includes pork ribs, roast duck, tandoori chicken, spicy beef burrito, and stuffed chicken roast. You can also indulge in some spicy beef burgers, Satay chicken ciabatta, and curry cumin chickpea. At gecko cafe, you will also find a variety of delicacies for kids from crispy waffles to tasty pasta and burger salads.
The Gecko Cafe
Address: 71 Commerce St, Kaitaia 0410
Website: The Gecko Cafe
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 7am - 3pm; Sat: 8am - 2pm (closed on Sun)
15. Admire the picturesque views at Cape Reinga
You can’t claim to have seen it all without visiting Cape Reinga, the northernmost part of New Zealand. Cape Reinga is famous for its picturesque lighthouse and magnificent coastal sceneries. Here, you will enjoy breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea waves colliding in the vicinity. There are also a number of campsites that are accessible on foot or by boat. The closest shops are in Kaitaia so be sure to pack the different items you may need including food, water, sunscreen, and pest repellent. You can get here by Harrison’s Cape Runner which provides daily trips from Kaitaia at relatively low rates. The upside is that this is a comprehensive tour with several stops at the Ninety-Mile Beach, Te Paki Stream and Aupouri Forest.
Address: Cape Reinga 0484
Website: Cape Reinga
Opening hours: 24hrs (daily)
A slice of paradise in Kaitaia
In conclusion, Kaitaia is an area blessed with a variety of tourist attractions and activities to suit different tastes, ages, and budgets. From overwhelming adventures to relaxing outing, you can never be bored at Kaitaia. Visit this town on your next vacation and create priceless memories engaging in fun activities and exploring beautiful sceneries of Kaitaia.
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