Living Aboard in Whangarei

We sailed from Fiji to New Zealand in early November. After checking in at Marsden Cove and completing the formalities, we moved up the river to the Whangarei Town Basin marina. Here’s what it was like spending almost two months living aboard in Whangarei.

About Whangarei

Whangarei is not pronounced how it looks. Unless you speak Maori. In that case you know that the WH is pronounced as F, so it’s pronounced Fang-Ah-Ray.

We enjoyed living aboard in Whangarei. It’s the biggest town in the Northland region of New Zealand, with all the amenities we’ve missed since Tahiti. Whangarei’s population is almost 57,000 and it is 155km north of Auckland, which is said to have almost 1.7mm people.

marina, town basin Whangarei
The marina and town basin in Whangarei

The Town Basin Marina is located on the Hatea river and is walkable to groceries, shops, restaurants and more.

The supermarket across the street is huge and overwhelmingly good. After being in Tonga, where you couldn’t get basic rice, and Fiji, with no cat food or kitty litter, we consider New Zealand the land of plenty. On our first visit to the supermarket, we were overjoyed upon seeing the varieties of lettuce, berries, and yogurt, and the glow hasn’t faded. It doesn’t hurt that we arrived in springtime.

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Cape Town Attractions

We spent four days in Cape Town and there was a lot to do!  On top of the walking tour, MOCAA and the hike up Table Mountain, we explored as much of the city as we could. Here’s a roundup of some other recommended places, the top Cape Town attractions. If you’re planning to visit South Africa for the first time, here’s a list of what to know before you go.

About Cape Town

Located on South Africa’s southwest coast, Cape Town is the capital of the country and its oldest city. The city is beautiful and offers opportunities for outdoor adventure, world class food, museums and more. It’s also conveniently located to The Garden Route and an excellent safari. Read on for some of the top things to do in the city itself.

V&A Waterfront: Top Cape Town Attractions

The V&A is an outdoor shopping mall and is very touristy, with a lot of shops and restaurants. There is a good variety of restaurants, and nice views of the harbour and the mountains. We had good service at the V&A restaurants.

V&A Waterfront Cape Town
V&A Waterfront at night.
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Cape Town Tourist Attraction: MOCAA

We went to one of the most amazing museums when we were in South Africa. The brand new Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) is a marvel in architectural repurposing and houses incredible 21st century art. I highly recommend visiting MOCAA in Cape Town.


Located in the city’s V&A Waterfront neighborhood, the new modern art museum is in a converted grain silo near the harbour. They spent a lot of money redesigning this building! Money well spent. The formerly all concrete tubes now are full of windows and the result is a stunning exterior. At first glance, you think the best thing about MOCAA may be the building, but it’s just as impressive inside.

Interior MOCAA in Cape Town
Inside MOCAA, Cape Town

Mocaa’s art

We were very moved by the art collection, which is all from this century and from all over the African continent. As you can imagine, as a modern art museum representing so many different countries, there is a lot of very diverse art to see on the nine floors.

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