This historic town offers it all
Warkworth is a town 64km north of Auckland and 98km south of Whangarei. It lies at the head of the Mahurangi Harbour. The thriving town is growing with a population of more than 3000 permanent residents. The settlement was founded in 1853 by John Anderson Brown, who named it after his birthplace, the village of Warkworth, Northumberland, in the United Kingdom. Early industry included logging for kauri and other timbers, flour milling and boat-building. The first portland cement manufacturing works in the southern hemisphere was established near the town in 1884. The ruins still remain and the mine is now a popular local swimming hole. The general area in and around Warkworth is known as the Kowhai Coast, named after the native tree. The town’s annual Kowhai Festival is one of the largest community festivals in the country, running for about a week in spring. One of the most prominent features of Warkworth is the Mahurangi River, an estuary, which runs right through the township, where it then joins the Mahurangi Harbour and flows in to the Hauraki Gulf. On the eastern side of the river is the Mahurangi East peninsula, with the seaside towns of Snells Beach and Algies Bay. It is here that the scenic Kawau Island is found, notable for its historic Mansion House, once the private retreat of Governor George Grey. East of Warkworth and north of Mahurangi East lies Tawharanui Regional Park which is managed by the Department of Conservation. Nearby is Matakana, famous for its vineyards, cafes, farmers’ market, craft shops and new cinema complex.