Whangaroa, Northland New Zealand


Whangaroa County is located on the east coast of the Far North district in Northland, New Zealand and encompasses an area which includes small towns and several beaches.


Whangaroa Harbour (the centre of the County) is 40 minutes drive north of the Bay of Islands and 30 minutes drive south of Doubtless Bay, making the area’s attractions an ideal stopover for travellers searching for something different that speaks of authentic Northland – unspoiled and unique.




  <  Click to view Whangaroa Harbour Scenic Video



"A Singular and Beautifully Romantic Place" is how one early visitor described Whangaroa (Capt R. A. Cruise, HMS Dromedary, 1820).


Driving in Whangaroa County


If you’re visiting the northeast of New Zealand on a self-drive holiday you’ll find a wealth of beautiful beaches, lush forests, and interesting attractions and landmarks in Whangaroa County. If you’re not familiar with driving in New Zealand you’ll need to know a few rules so you don’t inadvertently break the law and get a fine, or worse, cause an accident.


The main things you need to know are:

  • New Zealanders drive on the left
  • Using a hand-held mobile phone to call, text or access services while driving or stationary at traffic lights is illegal.
  • Our speeds and distances are posted in kilometres per hour and kilometres. 100km/h is around 60mph and is our open road speed limit. The urban limit is 50km/h. Many of our roads, though, are very winding so allow for your average speed to be 70-80km/h
  • If your licence is in English you can drive in New Zealand for up to a year. However, if your licence is not in English you will need to get an International Driving Permit or an authorised translation to English to accompany your licence.
  • Children up to age 7 must be in an approved child seat and all occupants must wear seat belts.
  • The blood alcohol limit is 0.05%, but we recommend that you don’t drink at all if you drive.


Many of our road signs and markings are different. You can take a free Road Code quiz at this website, and NZTA produces a booklet called What’s Different About Driving in New Zealand, which you can download here.


If you are not used to driving on the left hand side of the road you will need to pay special attention to give way (yield) rules, lane markings, indication rules and particularly what to do on roundabouts where you will be going clockwise, not anticlockwise. You may also come across narrow gravel roads, so take care and keep to the left.


We hope you enjoy your stay in Whangaroa, and whether you’re heading to the pristine pink sands of Wainui Bay, to take a walk in the Puketi Forest, or visiting one of the many historic regional towns and coastal settlements, stay safe and alert on the roads.


Prepared for whangaroa.co.nz by Darren Cottingham, contact@drivingtests.co.nz, 1 Dec 2014.