December, 2005

On our first trip to Whangarei, we were more surprised by what we did not find than by what we did find.  It is a charming town seemingly built around the town basin which is the site of a large marina (and there are other marinas further down the river).  We expected to find chandleries and various boat-related businesses all around, but we did not.  We could not find most things we needed, and when we did find some, they were very expensive. 

We had been unable to fill our propane bottles around Opua, and we were referred to a gas/bottle testing shop in Whangarei.  The owner was very pleasant, and he told us he could remedy our problem.  He tested our bottles and stamped a few numbers on them, and he then filled them for a mere $300 (in addition to the $65 car rental for the day).

We made a few trips to Whangarei, and we remained disappointed in what we could not find.  We need to do a brief haulout while in New Zealand, and, based on advice we have received, we thought we would do it in Whangarei.  Now we are not so sure.  We are hoping for better shopping in Auckland.  And we will look in to the haulout options there and decide whether to haul in Whangarei or Auckland.