Amazing white sandy beaches, stunning ocean views, native bush, waterfalls, walkways, limestone formations and rolling countryside – all in a 2 hour trip round trip from Lupton Lodge (Glenbervie, Whangarei). If you are short on time this loop takes around 2 hours to self-drive but works best as a fantastic day trip (or several day trips!) when you explore the beaches and enjoy some of the activities along the way.
Note: this self-drive tour of the Tutukaka Coast can be travelled in either direction.
Tutukaka Coast Loop (rejoins SH1 at Hikurangi)
Lupton Lodge to Ngunguru (10 minutes drive)
Ngunguru Pottery on your left before you reach Ngunguru village. Ngunguru has a cafe, fish & chips takeaway shop, dairy, beauty salon and 9 hole golf course. Stroll along the waterfront with an ice cream or walk around the coast to Whangaumu Bay (Wellingtons Bay) when the tide is low. A 20 minute walkway through the mangrove trees starts at the small library near the start of the village. The best beach in Ngnnguru is past the school at the end of the village. Park opposite the school and walk across the shallow part of the estuary to the low dunes for a white sandy beach.
Ngunguru to Tutukaka Marina (5 minutes drive)
Following the coast northwards the road winds up a hill and inland. Towards the top of the hill on the right is an observation area where you can look out on the Poor Knights Islands across the sea.
Schnappa Rock is in iconic favourite with it’s thatch roof and Pacific decor. Further along the marina the Deep Sea Angling Club has a huge deck overlooking the marina where you can get a drink or a bit to eat. The final building in the marina houses Marina Pizzeria, with a covered seating over the water or a deck with tables at the waterside. During the daytime they also offer coffee and a yummy selection of cakes.
Wander among the boats at the Tutukaka Marina, watch people fishing off the wharf, have a swim at the beach at the end of the marina or just sit back with a coffee or a glass of wine and enjoy the ambience.
Another point of interest is Tutukaka Surf Experience, where you can hire a surf board or book in for surfing lessons.
diving or snorkeling/sightseeing boat trips to the Poor Knights Islands. A range of boat trips depart from the Tutukaka Marina daily with a variety of options available to meet your individual requirements.
Tutukaka Marina to Matapouri & Whale Bay (10 minutes drive)
Tutukaka Lighthouse walkway. Further along Matapouri road, Tawapou Coastal Natives sub-tropical plant nursery is worth a stop along the way if you are interested in New Zealand fauna or a drink in their garden over summer.
coastal walkway to Whale Bay. At the Northern end of the beach follow the pathway that leads through some grass and between trees with silver possum protectors on them. This track is a loop which takes around 1.5 hours to complete including some time at Whale Bay.
Whale Bay is a stunning tree lined bay with clear blue water and no road access. It’s great for picnics, swimming or just having a look.
Whale Bay to Hikurangi (30 minutes drive)
Further on from Whale Bay is Woolleys Bay and then Sandy Bay (surf beach). Both these beaches offer white sand and are great for swimming. After Sandy Bay the road then winds inland towards Hikurangi where you join up with SH1.
Hikurangi to Lupton Lodge (25 minutes drive)
Whangarei Falls on your right. You can either view the spectacular falls from above, walk to the bottom for a better view or spend an hour doing the round-trip bush walk to the AH Reed Kauri Walk. On your way back to Lupton Lodge along Ngunguru Road stop in at Glenbervie Pottery for stunning local artwork and crockery.