Experience the Hatea Loop track in Whangarei
Ever since it’s official opening in 2014, the Hatea Loop has quickly become one of the most popular spots for locals and tourists alike. Called Huarahi o the Whai (Pathway of Opportunity) in the language of the native Māori people, the 4.2km long track around the Whangarei Town Basin offers indeed ample opportunity to enjoy the picturesque scenery while strolling along the waterfront, sipping a delicious cuppa in the marina or shopping for memorable souvenirs.
The Hatea Loop is fully wheelchair accessible and a favourite among families to take their little ones out for a bike ride or give the dog a runaround. Whatever you fancy, there is something to do for everyone. Start your day with a scrumptious brunch at one of the numerous Town Basin cafes or grab a refreshing sundae at the local ice cream shop!
Before you head around the track, spot the big clock tower and stop at Claphams National Clock Museum for a walk through time. The quirky little museum showcases anything from ancient sun, sand and water dials to wacky cuckoo clocks. It’s the largest and one of the most significant historical collections of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
After your visit to Claphams, stroll past the playground along the waterfront. The section on this side of the Hatea River is a Mecca for lovers of the fine arts. Whether you browse through the Reyburn House Art Gallery, visit the Whangarei Art Museum or admire the many pieces of the Sculpture Trail such as the renowned Waka and Wave stone sculpture, you will find many dramatic and inspiring things to explore.
If you’d rather use the Hatea Loop for your daily exercise boost, jump on the free outdoor gym just past the Octagon Theatre or make use of the exercise stations conveniently placed around the Loop. You will also find free water stations for you and your four-legged friends in various spots, as well as public toilets located in the Town Basin and the car park by the big bridge.
All around the Hatea Loop, history panels line the waterfront explain the significance of the area in past and present as well as the cultural and architectural features in front of you. Both, the footbridge Kotuitui Whitinga and the internationally acclaimed Te Matau a Pohe opening bridge on the southern end of the track have put Whangarei in the spotlight for its unique designs.
To continue your journey, you can take a detour to the nearby, newly-designed dog exercise park on Pohe Island or follow the path across the Hatea River over Te Matau a Pohe. The hydraulic operating bridge has won several national and international awards and was featured in a TV commercial for a leading car brand.
On your way back on the other side of the river, you can enjoy some spectacular views of Mount Parihaka, the Hatea River and the marina which is a favourite for boaties and yachties. Bring your bike for a spin through the BMX park or enjoy a picnic by the water. Finish off your hike with a visit to the Artisan Fair Markets which are held every Saturday during the summer months under the Canopy Bridge. This pedestrian bridge brings you back to the Town Basin and houses various other markets and festivals throughout the year.
Before you grab a bite to eat in any of the classy restaurants around, have a look at Te Kakano (The Seed) which combines Māori elements and unique Hundertwasser designs. It’s a glimpse of what is yet to come to the Whangarei Hatea Loop. The track has been around for decades, but recent updates have drastically increased its popularity. And it’s development is far from over. The Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery , a Camera Obscura, a hotel complex and further upgrades along the track promise an even more unique and enjoyable experience for anyone walking the Hatea Loop track in the future.