Waipu is a friendly town with an intriguing history, strong Scottish heritage and spectacular natural surroundings.
Forced to leave the Highlands of Scotland by the infamous Highland Clearances, several hundred Scotts formed a community at St Ann's in Nova Scotia, Canada in the early 1800's. Their quest for gentler climes saw them build their own ships and venture south to Australia.
The goldrush had made land around Melbourne too costly, so the settlers carried on to Auckland, establishing a close-knit, Gaelic speaking community in Waipu in 1853. Around 1,000 Scottish settlers made the journey from Nova Scotia to Waipu between 1853 and 1860.
Waipu's strong Scottish heritage can be appreciated at the Waipu Museum, and during a number of special events throughout the year. Waipu is known internationally for its Highland Games, celebrated annually on New Year's Day, and Tartan Week takes place in July. In January 2013 Waipu will hold its Grand Pageant, a spectacular celebration of the town's history which occurs just once every 10 years.
Popular activities around Waipu include fishing, surfing, relaxing on the beach and walking. Waipu Cove, a magnificent ocean beach, is patrolled by life guards during the summer months, and is great for surfing when conditions are right. A little further south is Langs Beach, another holiday spot with extensive views of the Whangarei Heads and the Hen and Chicken Islands.
The Waipu Coastal Trail, a 1.5 hour walk from Waipu Cove to Langs Beach, is a best-kept local secret with its breath-taking coastal views. Another favourite is the Waipu Caves Walk; explore limestone caves full of stalagmites, stalagtites and glow worms.
Waipu has accommodation to suit a range of budgets, as well as shops, restaurants and cafes. The Waipu Golf Club is a real beauty, with its signature No. 1 hole looking out over Bream Bay.
Functional Facts: Approx population 1490, visitor information centre, shops and eateries.