With a warm sub-tropical climate, over 70kms. of unspoiled coastline and an abundance of safe beaches, Doubtless Bay on the Pacific Ocean is a holiday paradise and an ideal base for a holiday in the Northland of New Zealand.
Doubtless Bay is one of the oldest parts in New Zealand, dating from the early 1800s when it was a whaling base.
The Doubtless Bay area extends from Taupo Bay in the east to the Karikari Peninsula in the west. It includes the settlements of Hihi, Coopers Beach, Cable Bay, Taipa and Whatuwhiwhi, with its centre in busy Mangonui. All around the area, accommodation is varied and plentiful - from international- standard resort hotels and conference centres, to holiday parks, motels and self-contained apartments.
Mangonui Harbour and Fish Shop
You will find a great choice of eating places, among them, by reputation, New Zealand's best fish and chip shop, excellent golf courses and superb fishing, diving, surfing and bathing.
The large number of people choosing to move to this area is testimony to the excellent environment for living and working.
Across the harbour from Mangonui village, at Butler Point, is a whaling museum and historic Captain Butler's House and there is an interesting Heritage Trail which begins at the old Mangonui Courthouse (with its arts and crafts exhibition) and passes many historic buildings and sites. There are potteries at Fern Flat and Peria and Matthews Vintage Vehicle Collection at Aurere, outside Taipa.
Slightly further afield are the Ancient Kauri Kingdom and Gumdiggers Park, north of Awanui, and there is an interesting local museum in Kaitaia.
Air New Zealand Link has three daily return services from Auckland to Kerikeri (Bay of Islands) airport (approx. 45 minutes drive) using 50-seat Bombardier aircraft. Great Barrier Airlines operate three daily commuter services to Kaitaia airport (approx. 30 minutes drive). Rental cars are available at both airports.
From Auckland to Doubtless Bay there is one service every day in each direction operated by Intercity /Northliner and one operated by Naked Bus. There is usually a transfer of bus in Bay of Islands at Kerikeri or Paihia.
The main pickup and set down point is in front of Wiltons Garage & Marine in Mangonui, with additional stops in Cable Bay, Coopers Beach and Taipa on request. Tickets for Intercity/Northliner can be booked through Doubtless Bay Information Centre.
Travelling direct by State Highway 1 and State Highway 10, the journey time from Auckland airport is about four and a half hours without stops. Travelling the Twin Coast Discovery Highway - a world-class touring route leaving from, and returning to, Auckland - requires at least two days in each direction to visit the many interesting and beautiful attractions along the way:
including the Matakana vineyards, Kawau Island, Mangawhai Heads, Waipu, Tutukaka Coast, Whananaki, Kawakawa and Bay of Islands.
including the Hokianga, Kauri Coast, Kaipara Harbour, Helensville and the Kumeu vineyards and wineries.
In Maori legend, the north island of New Zealand is actually the world's largest fish. Wellington is the head, Cape Taranaki and East Cape are the fins and Northland is the tail - te Hiku o Te Ika. Many iwi (tribes) trace their ancestry back to the famous explorer Kupe, the great Polynesian navigator, who made his first landing near Taipa in A.D. 950.
Archaeological studies have revealed some of the earliest Maori settlements in this area. There was no Maori nation - Maori of Northland, as elsewhere, saw themselves as belonging to their iwi; Ngati Kahu being predominant in the Doubtless Bay area.
In 1769, Capt. James Cook sailed past the entrance to the area and recorded in his journal "doubtless a bay", hence the name. At the same time, the French ship St Jean Baptiste of François Marie de Surville was anchored within the bay. Each ship was unaware of the other.
Not long after, European traders, whalers, sealers and missionaries arrived here and Mangonui became a thriving port providing supplies, repairs and R & R for the many ships and their crews. Kauri trees grew in abundance and their trunks were sought-after for their length and diameter to serve as spars and masts.
Mangonui Courthouse and Doubtless Bay Information Centre
In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British Resident and representative Maori and the New Zealand nation was formed. Many settlers began arriving in the new nation, working the kauri timber and gum fields and farming sheep and cattle.
From quaint white churches to grand old homesteads, tiny wooden cottages to Pa (hill fort) sites carved into headlands and hill tops, the evidence of Northland as the Birthplace of the Nation is all around.
Once a bustling whaling and trading port, the scenic historic village centre is home to some truly exquisite heritage buildings - today housing mainly shops and cafes. It remains a port of entry to New Zealand with commercial operators using it as a base.
Manganui Harbour and Rangikapiti Pa
There are several fine retail shops selling everything from local arts and crafts, gifts and quality New Zealand souvenirs to locally-produced food and wine. There are numerous waterfront cafes with alfresco dining, the historic hotels and courthouse plus the 'world-famous' fish shop. Additionally, there is the Doubtless Bay Information Centre, bookshop and stationers, general store with Post Centre and Kiwibank, auto and marine service centre, several real estate agents, computer and internet facilities. High above the village waterfront is picturesque St. Andrew's Church and the primary school.
From the Mangonui wharf you can see commercial fishing boats off-loading their catch and you can even try your hand at hooking fish from the docks. Standing on the wharf, it is evident that agriculture and fishing still remain the biggest occupational groups in the area.
Around the corner from Mangonui village is Mill Bay, an artist's dream with its backdrop of the dominant Rangikapiti Pa, its yacht anchorage and other marine craft. A visit to Rangikapiti Pa will reward you with a panoramic view overlooking Mangonui Harbour on one side and the whole of Doubtless Bay on the other.
Mangonui village and harbour
A long narrow piece of land, lined with beautiful beaches and bays, reaches out into the Pacific Ocean.
Whatuwhiwhi is the major settlement with a dive centre, school, backpackers, cafe, takeaways and general store/petrol station. There is a lovely safe family beach, a holiday park and a selection of other accommodation. Nearby is the world-class Carrington Resort, championship golf course, luxury accommodation and Karikari Estate Vineyard and Winery.
Matai Bay is one of Northland's pure gems consisting of two crescent-shaped coves looking out to the Pacific Ocean. There is a D.O.C camping ground popular with fishermen and holidaymakers with its safe bathing.
Rangiputa is a small picturesque settlement which looks on to the Rangaunu Harbour with its white sands and clear blue waters. There is a variety of accommodation available.
Tokerau Beach is the longest on the peninsula and stretches for 18kms. It is a surf caster's paradise and good for digging for shellfish.
Lake Ohia is situated just off State Highway 10 with vineyard and gum fields which are surviving remnants of the original Dalmatian gum diggers.
This pretty spot combines the open ocean and the shelter of the estuary. You can launch a boat, swim, fish, surf or sail. There is often good surf and this is an excellent location to spot dolphins and orcas.
There are various shops, bakery, garage and petrol station, area school and early childhood centres, a major resort hotel and a variety of other accommodation. Nearby is the Swamp Palace (Oruru Community Hall) and two potteries.
This pretty pink-coral beach with rockpools, small lagoon, childrens' playground, dairy and a variety of accommodation, was the landing point for the first underwater telegraph cable (the red route) linking New Zealand with Australia, Canada and Norfolk Island. The telegraph station operated from 1902 to 1912. There is often good surf between the rocky areas.
The 2.5km. long beach offers safe swimming and is fringed with Pohutukawa (the New Zealand 'Christmas' tree) which offer good shade. Adjacent is the shopping centre with hairdresser, general store, butcher, pharmacy, medical centre, restaurants, childrens' playground and the bowling club. The Taumarumaru Reserve includes three historic defended pa sites. There is a wide range of accommodation available.
Coopers Beach in winter
Breathtaking at sunset, on a peninsula that wraps around Mangonui Harbour, Hihi has both a sheltered and open ocean side. Here you will find Butler House and Butler Point Whaling Museum, a holiday park and other accommodation.
Captain Butler's House at Hihi
This beautiful idyllic beach has white sand and crystal-clear waters and is one of Doubtless Bay's most popular surf spots. There is a holiday park and holiday house accommodation. Nearby is the Whangaroa Golf Club.