Whangarei's Town Basin is a picturesque international yachting marina with restaurants, cafes and specialty shopping, art, culture and entertainment, history and heritage and walkways.
A popular place for locals and tourists alike to enjoy the unique interface of city and harbour-side the Town Basin lends itself perfectly to a family outing.
The marina is also popular with international yachting visitors, many of whom make Whangarei a regular stop-over during the summer months.
Town Basin photographs
Arts and crafts
The Town Basin is home to many art and craft galleries - featuring beautiful works by Whangarei, Northland and New Zealand artists.
For a unique experience, the chance to watch the glass blowers in the Burning Issues Gallery workshop is not to be missed. The expert glass workers produce exquisite pieces of art work for the local, national and international markets.
An Artisan Fair runs frequently through the summer months on the Victoria (Canopy) Bridge where you can enjoy the vibrant atmosphere created by this gathering of artists, buskers and food stalls.
An award winning jeweller has also established a workshop at the Town Basin, and a co-operative of local artists display their work at 'The Bach'.
Reyburn House, a New Zealand Historic Places Trust Category 2 listed, and Whangarei’s oldest, colonial building sits along the waterfront and now operates as an art gallery and is home to the Northland Society of Arts.
Built in 1870s the building has been lovingly preserved and is surrounded by ladscaped gardens adjacent to the Town Basin playground.
Reyburn House (Northland Society of Arts) Opens in a new window
Two very special museums reside at the Town Basin; the Whangarei Art Museum Te Manawa Toi and Claphams National Clock Museum.
Whangarei Art Museum Te Manawa Toi
The Whangarei Art Museum Te Manawa Toi is the permanent home to the city’s outstanding art collection that embraces both heritage and contemporary art work, and offers a captivating insight into the District’s history.
The Museum also has many internally curated and national touring exhibitions.
Whangarei Art Museum Opens in a new window.
Claphams National Clock Museum
Claphams National Clock Museum has the largest collection of timepieces in the Southern Hemisphere, with a collection of clocks, that can be rare and exquisite, or quirky and fun.
There are many other gadgets that will surprise and delight both you and your children.
Claphams National Clock Museum Opens in a new window.
The kids will love the destination playground and liberty (wheel-chair accessible) swing at the Town Basin - popular with locals as well as visitors.
You can enjoy and ice cream or coffee while they use up some energy - climbing, sliding, running, swinging, spinning!
A barbeque is also available for public use, and a petanque area adds the to range of facilities for people of all ages.
Walk, stroll, bike
The boardwalk along the water front connects several Town Basin features including the:
- children’s playground,
- Reyburn House Art Gallery with its delightful gardens and special memorial area created by the Child Cancer Foundation,
- Heritage Trail and Art Walk,
- Hatea Loop walkway.
Heritage Trail and Art Walk
An area alongside the water-front has been landscaped and enhanced to form a Heritage Trail and Art Walk with a number of sculptures commissioned from local artists.
Further along (about a ten minute stroll from the Town Basin) at Hihiaua Point, is the acclaimed Waka and Wavestone sculpture representing a Maori waka breaking through a towering wave.
The area around the Town Basin, Te Ahipupurangi-a-ihenga, has long been a vital hub for the region. Waka (canoes) assembled there in the earliest days, right beside the largest pa site in the country.
It became a thriving port following pakeha (European) settlement, and for decades has been one of the most important international yacht havens in the South Pacific.
Read more about the history of the Town Basin locations on Heritage Panels that tell the fascinating story of Maori and European settlement of Whangarei.
Maori history panels [1.7mb]
European history panels [2.61mb]
Hatea Loop Walkway, Huarahi o te Whai
In 2015 the Hatea Loop, a 4.2km walkway that meanders the Hatea River, was completed.
The walkway links the Town Basin with Te Matau ā Pohe and William Fraser Memorial Park on Pohe Island, and lets you take in a variety of features in and round the Town Basin.
The entire walkway is accessible for walking, jogging, pushbikes, all sorts of mobility aids and scooters, and is also suitable for pushchairs.
Dogs can also be taken but must be on a leash at all times in the Town Basin and on the Hatea Loop Walkway.
Kotuitui Whitinga and Te Matau a Pohe
In 2015 work was completed on the Kotuitui Whitinga bridge which in turn completed the Hatea Loop walkway, Huarahi o te Whai (Pathway of Opportunity).
From the Heritage Trail and Art Walk the walkway now extends across this elegant new footbridge, Kotuitui Whitinga, which spans the Waiarohia Stream.
This takes you to a short walk adjacent to Port Road through a grove of steel uprights left over from its construction creates a majestic space, and huge concrete blocks created a clean separation between carpark and the path.
Along the way, recycled material from Tutukaka marina’s provide rustic seats with an industrial tone.
The walkway adjacent to Port Road then leads on to the international award-winning ‘Te Matau a Pohe’ bascule (opening) bridge.
The bridge, open to cars, cyclists and pedestrians, spans the Hatea River and takes you across to Pohe Island.
Information for boat users wishing to access the Hatea River and Waiarohia Stream, can be found on the page below.
Hatea River Bridges: Te Matau ā Pohe and Kotuitui Whitinga
At the opposite end of the Town Basin, the Pohe Island section of the Hatea Loop provides access to a Dog Agility Park and William Fraser Memorial Park which incorporates a skate park and an international standard BMX, and family BMX track.
Dog Excercise Areas
Sportsground Facilities - including William Fraser Park
The walkway then continues on the Northern side of the Hatea River – past boatsheds and parks in Riverside, and meanders back along the Victoria (Canopy) Bridge to the town basin.
More information on the Hatea Loop Walkways can be found on the walking trail page below.
Hatea Loop Walk
Creating a ‘Sense of Place’
As part of our 'Sense of Place' programme, a range of projects are underway at the Town Basin and surrounds to develop the area as a central social and recreational location.
To see details of these projects, follow the link below.
Town Basin Redevelopment
Application for use
The area in and around the Town Basin can be booked for community-based events and activities.
To download the guidelines for use and the application form, follow the link below.
Town Basin - application for use [277kb]
Please consider changing your browser to either Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari.
Learn more about changing your browser