Nestled on the East Coast of the North Island about halfway between Auckland and Whangarei is the small beach community of Mangawhai. And being just 10-minutes off the main State highway, it’s the perfect place to stop in and charge both your car’s batteries and yours. There’s stacks to do there, with things to eat, see and do, so here’s our top five tips for magical Mangawhai, while you wait for your car to charge.
The Mangawhai Tavern.
2 Moir Street, Mangawhai.
After a lengthy stint buckled up in the car, grabbing a bite to eat sits at the top of most people’s priority lists when getting to Mangawhai. So once you’ve plugged your car in, head straight for the Mangawhai Tavern. Located just 600m up the road from the charging station, it’s one of the country’s oldest pubs, dating back to 1865. And with hot food, cold drinks and stunning views on offer, it’s an hour well spent while you wait for the car to charge.
52 Moir Street, Mangawhai.
Chocolate. Lots of it. In all shapes and sizes. If that sound like something you think you could endure for an hour or so, make your way to Bennetts.
Bennetts is chocolate done right. The team at their flagship store in Mangawhai Village fuse European techniques with fresh, local ingredients to produce their award-winning chocolate – and it’s available to taste, buy or just admire from 8am – 4pm each day.
Corner of Molesworth Dr and Thelma Road, Mangawhai.
Regarded as one of regional New Zealand’s best museums, the Mangawhai Museum covers a range of history, from World War 2, to geology at the beach, to the saving of the Harbour entrance and more. An hour is just enough time to make your way through the captivating displays and stories, so if you fancy a trip back in time, be sure to head along. Open 10am – 4pm daily. Adults - $12. Seniors and students - $6. Children - $3.
Mangawhai Village Market.
45 Moir Street, Mangawhai.
If you happen to be stopping by on a Saturday morning, visiting the local village markets is a must. Held at the humble library hall, you’ll find everything from fresh produce like wine, cheese and breads right through to local arts and crafts. Most weeks the sound of live entertainment can be heard whilst wandering from stall to stall, too. And being just a five-minute stroll from the charging station, why wouldn’t you?
Mangawhai Mini Golf.
8 Wood Street, Mangawhai Heads.
I spy can only get you so far. So if you’re in need of another way to let competitive kids be kids, be sure to stop in at the Mini Golf. It is a five-minute drive up Molesworth Drive, so technically it’s not something you can do while the car’s charging (unless you fancy a long walk). But at $6 for adults and $3 for kids, it’s good, cheap family fun and a great way to let off some steam before heading back off on your journey.
Making memories in Mangawhai.
And just like that, there’s five of the best things to do in Mangawhai while you wait for your car to charge. Of course, a simple stroll along the beach is never an hour badly spent either. But it’s nice to know you’ve got options, should you fancy something a little extra. Enjoy.