The Coastal Passage.
Whangarei (prononced, Fong-a-ri,
and give the r a roll if you can) is a port I have
heard about for years. A must stop destination for
the circumnavigating fleet.
The place had everything going for it except
for one thing... but lets begin with the positive. Its
an easy sail into the harbour from points east and the eastern
coast is a windward shore with the prevailing SW. As you sail
in look to your left for the masts sticking up behind the tanker
wharfs. Thats Marsden Cove marina and is your port of entry.
The marina is modern and the clearance crew have a beaut of a
reputation for being friendly and reasonable. The marina is well
situated for entry, local boats that work outside the headlands
and boaties that drive up from Auckland which is only a 150 ks
away... but a warning, the Auckland/Whangarei road is mostly
perfect and new motorway but some of it is typical Kiwi road,
fabulous for a motoring enthusiast but a long slog for someone
just trying to get to point B. In most parts of
New Zealand, 350ks is a big days drive. In some parts of
Queensland you can drive that far to the pub!
Whangarei Marina in town is home
to a fleet of fishing boats and local and international yachts
of every description. As the bay concentrates into a creek, the
marina is as far up as you can go before the low bridge. The
shelter is perfect. As you cruise in from Marsden Cove the view
to the west is of low hills with a higher backdrop. To the east
is a series of lovely coves and smaller bays lined with small
communities and boats at anchor. There is Urqharts Bay right
behind the headland, McLeod Bay, and then Parua. BTW, there is
a great pub on the water in Parua, try the seafood chowder. The
headlands are spectacular. Remenicient of Hawaii. Past Limestone
Island and Onerahi, the bay narrows past the ship yards at Port
Whangarei and both banks are filled with marine suppliers and
services. Everything one would need or even imagine!
Finally, you thread your way into the thick
of it and tie up at the jetty in front of the marina office to
get organised. Brian(marina mgr.) or Sharron (office mgr.) will
likely be attending office. Expect friendly professionalism.
Just beyond the car park is downtown Whangarei. Big enough to
have it all and small enough not to have the big city problems.
Local prices are good, especially diesel. Great restaurants,
provisions and internet are all a short walk from your boat.
Anything the marina doesnt specifically provide is at hand
What a great place to shelter for
a cyclone season. Its easy to see why there are so many
different flags flying there but it gets even better. The community
understands the cultural and financial benefit of having the
fleet there, so you will be made to feel welcome, not just tolerated
as long as you bring enough money. Whangarei Marine Promotions
will help you locate services, see their website www.whangareimarine.co.nz.
And when you get a little tired of hanging around and all the
tasks are done... sail up to Bay of islands for a couple days.
And do rent a cheap car.. something lightweight
with good brakes, put on the driving gloves and go native! So
much to see and every scrap is beautiful.
For information from the marina, email
the crew at, firstname.lastname@example.org or check the website,
Phone is 64 9 438 2033 and they monitor ch. 64 VHF.
Oh, that negative issue I mentioned earlier?
Well we fixed it. They didnt used to have The Coastal Passage
available but now they do. Please take only one per boat and
try to pass them on. Shipping is expensive but the place was
so near to perfection, we had to do it.
That's Sharon, office