Visitors Guide to Matapouri Bay
If you’re desperate for an island getaway, but your budget won’t quite stretch to it, then staying at Matapouri Bay in Northland is the next best thing.
Some would even say it’s better: fewer crowds, fewer costs, and no dangerous tropical sea creatures lurking in the water! Matapouri Bay has long been one of Northland’s top beach destinations; it’s convenient to Whangarei city, it’s easy to access, and the water is completely family-friendly.
Visiting for the first time? Here’s a quick guide on what to see and do at Matapouri Bay!
Jumping off Matapouri bridge
Want to experience Matapouri Bay like a true local?
The second bridge you’ll encounter when entering Matapouri Bay is the local jumping board, where (at high tide!) you can safely leap off the beach side of the bridge into calm, deep water.
There is a current, however if you judge the tides well and watch how the locals are doing it, you’ll be fine. You’ll notice that even young kids are jumping in: it’s safe, it’s free, and it’s a load of fun!
Tennis courts, playgrounds and the Matapouri Store: a local landmark
The Matapouri Store is a local institution – a good old-fashioned slice of kiwiana, offering good coffee, ice creams, general food items and – of course, fish and chips. The store is also the local post depot, and is the place to go if you need any advice, directions or local news.
Like any rural dairy, the Matapouri Store is a hub for the community, and as such, it’s alsop a great place to meet the locals and make new friends. Across from the Matapouri Store, you’ll find a fun playground for your little ones, and a rural tennis court that’s open for use by donation.
Open 7 days a week from 7am - 7pm.
Boogie boarding: not just for the kids!
Remember catching the waves on your board as a kid? Your boogie board, that is – surfing was a bit out of our league as kids! Well, Matapouri Bay is the place where boogie boarding dreams are made.
If you walk to the far left of the beach (that’s left when facing the ocean) you’ll find a fantastic boogie boarding spot that’s perfect for the youngsters, including a variety of rockpools just begging for exploration. Hours of safe fun for the whole family!
Launching your boat at Matapouri, or fishing off the rocks: you choose
Most Northlanders like nothing better than to head out for a day fishing, and a day out fishing at Matapouri Bay will not disappoint! If you’re lucky enough to have access to a boat (and if it’s under about 5 and a half metres) then you can launch from the hard sand ramp into the tidal estuary. If you’re even luckier, and have a larger boat, then you’ll be wanting to launch from the formed concrete ramp at Tutukaka. The locals are keen rock fishers, and you’ll find a variety of people clambering around the headland to find their spot on the weekends. You can’t really go wrong with rock fishing out at Matapouri, just make sure you’re on the ocean side (facing away from the bay) for the best results! Oh – and always keep an eye on tides and weather conditions.
Walking tracks: Whale Bay Headland Track, Tane Moana Kauri Track & Mermaid Pool
If walking the pristine white sands of Matapouri Bay isn’t enough to keep you stimulated, then take a scenic track to either Whale Bay, Tane Moana, or the Mermaid Pool. These three tracks are absolutely breath-taking: and yes, we mean that literally! The 45-min (one-way) headland track to Whale Bay will take you from the Northern end of Matapouri, over the dunes/grasses to the start of a steep but well-designed track over the ridgeline to one of Northland’s most stunning little coves. This track packs a punch, but isn’t too long – and the rewards are well worth the effort. The bush track to Tane Moana begins on Clements Road, just past the Matapouri Store. This track is significantly longer than the Whale Bay track, taking an average of 2 hours one-way. Tane Moana is the largest remaining kauri tree on the East Coast, with an 11-metre circumference. Read more about the Tane Moana track, or take a look at some of the other local Matapouri walks...