Matauri Bay is one of the most beautiful bays in Northland. It is thirty kms north of Kerikeri in Whangaroa and its white sand beaches and crystal clear waters make it popular for camping, swimming and snorkelling. The bay is also a good location for learning to surf.
There is easy boat access to the Cavalli Islands for diving, including the Rainbow Warrior wreck. You will find a monument to the Rainbow Warrior on the point at the north end of the bay.
Matauri Bay is important in early Aotearoa NZ history. An English missionary, Samuel Marsden, was the first to preach Christianity to Māori and landed there in 1814. His party was welcomed by the Ngāpuhi war chief, Hongi Hika and Marsden went on to establish the first mission station in Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands. The small Anglican church, some 400 metres before the beach, is the Samuel Marsden Memorial Church.
Another highlight is Mataatua Puhi, a Māori waka taua (war canoe). Mataatua Puhi was built to commemorate the Pacific migration that brought Māori to Aotearoa NZ. It was launched in 1990, is 21.8m long, takes 36 paddlers. and is housed next to the camping ground.
Thanks to Jan Rozek for providing the photos.