As soon as you step foot in Mangonui you’ll see why it’s the perfect example of a small New Zealand coastal town. Located in the heart of Doubtless Bay, this colorful and historic fishing village is a great spot to explore. From the famous Mangonui Fish Shop to the Heritage Trail, come see why this special town in Northland is so worth visiting!
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Getting to Mangonui New Zealand
Mangonui is situated in Doubtless Bay just an hour and a half from the Northern most point of New Zealand. This area of the country is truly amazing. We recommend including Mangonui in a larger road trip with the Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga.
From Auckland it is about a 4 hour drive on State Highway One, but you’d crazy to drive past coastal towns like Russell and Whananaki without stopping! However you decide to get there, make sure to spend at least one night taking in Mangonui and the beautiful Doubtless Bay.
→ New Zealand North Island Itinerary: 4 Awesome One Week Routes
Exploring the Historic Town of Mangonui
While it’s small enough to just spend an afternoon in, there’s really enough to keep you occupied for a few days in Mangonui New Zealand. The main harbor is filled with cute shops and cafes, and even a dock you can swim off in the summer at high tide. Be sure to stop into the local ice cream parlor as well as the Mangonui Fish Shop.
In the native Maori language Mangonui means “Big Shark,” which lends itself to the towns fishing history. Mangonui was originally a whaling town established by European settlers in the 1830’s. Nowadays its transitioned into a popular tourist enclave on the Northeastern coast.
Walking the Mangonui New Zealand Heritage Trail
The Mangonui Heritage Trail is the best way to get a taste of the history we described above. The walking path starts and ends at the Mangonui Courthouse and goes through 15 different sites of both Maori and European importance.
Some of our favorites include the Three Early Cottages, St. Andrew’s Church, and the Whaling Museum. The entire Mangonui Heritage Trail should not take you more than a couple hours, and is well worth seeing if you have a couple days in town!
Climbing to the Top of Rangikapiti Pa
After you’re done walking the Mangonui Heritage Trail it’s time for a bit of an incline! Rangikapiti Pa is not a difficult hike by any means, and is well worth it for the views of Doubtless Bay. From the center of Mangonui town it should only take you 25 to 30 minutes to the summit.
Follow the main road past the Mangonui Fish Shop, and follow the signs up into the forest. Along the road there is a cute “Penguin X-ing” sign which is a popular photo stop for tourists. Once you reach the summit you’ll have incredible views of both Coopers Beach and the Karikari Peninsula. This is also an ancient Maori site and there is a memorial in dedication at the top.
Lunch at the Mangonui Fish Shop
The Mangonui Fish Shop is widely regarded as one of the best seafood restaurants in New Zealand, and it definitely lived up to the hype! On our visit we ordered the fish of the day as well some chips and mussels.
We’ve had our fair share of fish n’ chips while we lived in New Zealand and this definitely tops the list! Grab a seat and a drink for lunch on the outdoor patio here and have a blast at the famous Mangonui Fish Shop.
→ Best New Zealand Food & Drinks: 27 Delicious Things to Try
Where To Stay in Mangonui
Town Center – The Old Oak Boutique Hotel – If you want to be close to all the best cafes and restaurants in town then this is your spot! Here you’ll be staying in a truly historic building from 1861 that perfectly encapsulates what Mangonui is all about.
Fun Vacation – Acacai Lodge – This beautiful property is located in between town and Cooper’s Beach, while also being next door to the Rangikapiti Pa Reserve. Take in the best of Mangonui New Zealand and enjoy a swim in the saltwater pool.
Beachside – BeachBox Botique – The BeachBox is set right in Cooper’s Beach which makes it just a quick drive to town. The unique accommodation includes a BBQ, garden area, kitchen, and patio that are awesome places to hang out in.
For more places to stay near Mangonui you can explore the latest prices here!
Mangonui New Zealand Beaches
Doubtless Bay is a beach lovers paradise so you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of sun and sand in Mangonui! Like we mentioned before, you can swim right in the Mangonui Harbour. However, the local favorite for swimming is nearby Cooper’s Beach.
This is located right on the other side of Rangikapiti Pa Historic Reserve. Heading north through Doubtless Bay you’ll find plenty more golden sands, including beaches like Tokerau, Parakerake, and Maitai Bay.
→ 25 Beautiful New Zealand Beaches on the North & South Island
Have any questions about our visit to Mangonui? Let us know in the comments below!!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
New Zealand Travel Planning
Jucy Van: The best way to explore New Zealand is with a Jucy camper! We spent over six weeks driving around the North and South Islands in a van and loved every moment.
Rental Car: If you’re not renting a van you’ll need a car to see this country. We use Discover Cars when traveling and enjoy having the freedom to get around.
Flights: It’s easy to find cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Auckland to Queenstown for $40 USD, and New Zealand to Fiji for less than $150!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go to if you’re traveling on a budget.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over New Zealand! They have everything from tickets to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves to a Hobbiton movie set tour, and even a Northland hole in the rock dolphin cruise!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for insurance the last few years and they are always there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
North Island New Zealand
Travel Tips & Guides: 10 Helpful NZ Travel Tips – South Island Itinerary – Wellington to Picton Ferry – 15 Freedom Camping Tips
Auckland & Northland: Piha Beach & Kitekite Falls – Mount Eden – Devonport Day Trip – Waiheke Island Guide – 9 Best Waiheke Wineries
Lake Taupo: 17 Fun Things to Do – Mount Tauhara Hike – Best Street Art – Taranaki Falls – Huka Falls Walk – 14 Tongariro Crossing Tips
New Plymouth: 10 Fun Things to Do – Dawson Falls – Te Rewa Rewa Bridge – Paritutu Rock Hike – Egmont National Park
Wellington: 10 Fun Things to Do – Mount Victoria Hike – Best Breweries – Cable Car & Botanical Gardens
Bay of Plenty: Tairua – Hot Water Beach – Cathedral Cove Walk – 8 Maunganui Things Not to Miss – Mount Maunganui Hike – East Cape Road Trip – How to Find Tua Tua Clams
Rotorua & Raglan: Kerosene Creek – Redwoods Treewalk – 8 Raglan Things to Do – Bridal Veil Falls
→ Explore all our South Island New Zealand Travel Tips & Guides
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