Doubtless Bay – Things To Do
According to some legends, the famed Polynesian explorer Kupe first landed in Doubtless Bay in 900 AD. In 1769, James Cook sailed by and wrote in his log, “Doubtless it’s a bay”, and the name has stuck. This area has a long and vibrant history. Today, visitors will enjoy the astounding peace and quiet in this naturally beautiful area.
If you are looking for what to do in Doubtless Bay, start in Mangonui and check out the heritage trail. During your stay, you’ll also find plenty of trails to walk and views to take in. Doubtless Bay is known for its beaches. Whether you are looking to relax or get your adrenaline pumping, there’s a beach to suit your mood. If you’ve got itchy feet, you can travel farther afield to experience the spiritual Cape Reigna. Without a doubt, you’ll find Doubtless Bay will exceed your expectations.
Center Yourself in Mangonui
Starting in the 1800s, Mangonui became an essential hub of local commerce. Mangonui was an attractive location for whalers, loggers, gum traders, and flax producers. Today, this fishing village is still the heart of the area. You’ll find charming cafes, arts and crafts stores, and views of the bay. Choose from restaurants ranging from simple fish and chips to exotic Thai food.
Walk The Mangonui Heritage Trail
This heritage trail is accessible by foot or vehicle. Visitors can enjoy picturesque views of the harbor while walking by historic structures and learning more about the Māori and European history of this area. The more recent history includes whaling, flax production, logging, and gumming. It takes about an hour and a half to walk the trail.
Visit the Whalers Museum, Whaler’s House and Gardens at Butler Point
Be sure to make an appointment to visit the Whalers Museum, House, and Gardens at Butler Point. The house dates to the 1840s. Your tour guide will walk you through the house and give you an overview of the whaling industry. The museum is very informative and has a fully equipped kauri whaleboat. After the tour, you can roam the beautiful gardens and enjoy a picnic on the grounds. The views are spectacular!
Swim in Lake Rotopokaka (Coca-Cola Lake)
The lake might look like Coca-Cola, but it’s delightfully clean and pure freshwater. It gets its soda color from the tannins from fallen leaves. Families will love spending the day swimming in the lake. The lake is shallow for a long way, so it’s perfect for young kids who want to splash. The freshwater is a refreshing change from swimming in saltwater.
Visit the Rangikapiti Pa Historic Reserve
Here, you will enjoy incredible 360-degree views of Coopers Beach, Mangonui, and Doubtless Bay. The pa, a fortified Māori village, is still visible in the terraces dug into the hill’s side. This pa is just a short walk from the parking lot. It’s well worth the trek!
Walk the Taumarumaru Scenic Reserve Walk
Take this easy coastal trail to enjoy another panoramic view of Cooper Beach and Doubtless Bay. The vistas are incredible. Bring a picnic with you and make a day of it.
Take Your Pick of Fabulous Beaches
If you are looking for what to do in Doubtless Bay, you can’t go wrong with a visit to any of its stunning beaches! Doubtless Bay has just the right beach for you and your clan, from relaxing in the shade to cutting-edge adventure sports. You can find shellfish for dinner, or try something new like surfing, kite surfing, and blokarting.
Coopers Beach is named after the coopers who constructed and maintained barrels here. The beautiful sandy beach is excellent for swimming and perfect for photographers. If you are looking to relax, you can read in the shade of the Pohutukawa trees. Coopers Beach town hosts a Saturday Farmers Market where you can stock up on local goodies.
Cable Bay is a beautiful pink coral and golden sand beach. It’s named after a telegraph cable station that operated here in the early 20th century. The kids will love the rock pools and building sandcastles, while action seekers can try their feet at surfing.
Taipa Bay Beach is a tranquil white sand beach. Often visitors have the whole beach to themselves! It’s the perfect spot for swimming or shelling.
Tokerau Beach is loved by sun-seekers, swimmers, and more adventurous souls. Here you can gather shellfish or enjoy kitesurfing and blokarting. The conditions are often good for surfing too.
Matai Bay has two crescent-shaped sandy beaches. These protected beaches are great for swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding.
Rangiputa Beach is stunning. Its delicate white sand and turquoise waters will transport you to the Caribbean but without the crowds.
Taupo Bay features crystal clear waters and is popular with surfers. If the surf isn’t up, you can enjoy kayaking, snorkeling, or diving.
Take a Northbound Road Trip
Start by stopping by Karikari Estate, where you can sip some local wine. This is New Zealand’s northernmost winery, and what a treat it is! The Estate features delightful gardens, a working vineyard, a fabulous restaurant, and of course, wine! From October to May, you can make a reservation for a delightful tour of the winery, which includes a wine tasting.
Then clear your head with a hike up a volcanic cone. Mount Puheke, also known as Puheke Hill, is one of the few volcanic cones in this region. The trail is short but steep. Shoes are recommended instead of just summer flip-flops. From the top, you’ll be rewarded with vistas of Doubtless Bay.
Ramble on Matai Bay Headland Track
Matai Bay is the jewel in the crown of the Karikari Peninsula. This stunning horseshoe-shaped bay has white sand and crystal clear water. This casual walk goes through scrubland and farmland and has a mix of open fields and shaded trails. You’ll be well rewarded for hiking to the top with a stunning view of the bay below! Finish the walk with a refreshing swim in the bay.
Explore 90 Mile Beach
This seemingly endless beach is an excellent stop on the way to Cape Reinga. The huge sand dunes make this beach quite different from other Northland beaches. Kids of all ages enjoy sand surfing the dunes. This stop is often included in a bus tour to Cape Reinga.
See Cape Reinga Lighthouse
Immerse yourself in a spiritual experience at the end of the world. It’s a long drive, but this trip is on everyone’s must-do list. The photogenic lighthouse appears to be at the end of the world, and in many ways, it is. Reinga is the Māori word for “underworld”. According to Māori custom, the cape is the place where spirits depart for the underworld. It’s also where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. You might consider arriving as part of a bus tour to save yourself the drive.
Doubtless Bay is one of the most gorgeous parts of New Zealand. Rent a bach or holiday home with Bachcare and get a convenient base to start your explorations.