There is so much to see in this beautiful area of Northlands. I booked a months stay in rural Mangawhai with my toddler and I left wishing for more time.
Hit the beach: The surf beach at Mangawhai Heads is majestic. You will be dwarfed by the cliffs and the great expanse of beach and awestruck by the beauty – a great place for the kids to run wild and free. The beauty of the heads is that if the wind is up on one side, it will be protected on the other and each side is uniquely stunning. Picnic Bay is great for little ones, with a calm graduated ‘beach’ with lovely clear water.
Check out the playgrounds: The MAZ (Mangawhai Activity Zone) on Molesworth Drive is one of the most impressive playgrounds in the country. There is something for everyone here, including a skatepark and flying fox. The playground at Mangawhai Domain is also impressive and a great place to kick a ball around.
Hit the shops for an easy lunch: Mangawhai Heads township has many family friendly lunch options and the kids will love the atmosphere amongst the seagulls (just don’t leave the table unattended). Enjoy some sushi, bakery treats, or splash out on some curly fries with camembert wedges and cranberry dipping sauce at Dizzy Lizzy’s.
Saturday Markets: The market atmosphere is always a hit with the kids and the weekly market held at the Mangawhai Library Hall on Moir Street is the best place to pick up your fruit and vegetables and stock up the picnic basket. The kids will love the handmade wooden toys and the beautiful handmade and upcycled girls’ clothes while you enjoy a tasty lunch. The market is open between 9am and 1pm and there is plenty of local produce for the adults to peruse, from local wine to delicious smoked salmon and cheeses.
For families with older kids, head north and discover Waipu’s award-winning museum and see the glow worms while you explore the stalagmites at the Waipu caves (torches and gumboots recommended).
Dine out on delicious fare: Enjoy the chic atmosphere at Ivy or treat yourself to flawless service and consistently excellent food at The Dune. Wood Street is the spot for pizza and craft beer enthusiasts, and their delicious tapas style dishes will also impress. The Tavern restaurants and Sandbar are other options that won’t disappoint.
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