Butler Point Whaling Museum & Gardens

  • Port

    Waitangi (Bay of Islands), New Zealand

  • Activity Level


  • Excursion Type

    Information not currently available.

  • Wheelchair Accessible


  • Starting At


  • Minimum Age

    Information not currently available.

  • Duration

    Approximately 5 Hours

  • Meals Included


Embark on a scenic drive to Butler Point -- a privately owned 26-hectare property in the far north of New Zealand and a fascinating heritage destination. William Butler, who built Butler House, was a former whaling captain. He constructed a trade store here, from which he supplied visiting whaling ships. Butler also recruited crew for whale ships.

The Butler Point Whaling Museum commemorates the close association of the point and Mangonui with whaling. The exhibits are the result of almost 40 years spent collecting authentic items associated with the whaling industry. Pieces have been sourced from New Zealand, Australia, England and North America to make one of the finest private collections in New Zealand. Among the items on display in the museum are a refurbished whaleboat, a reconstructed tryworks (rendering furnace), examples of whalebone, harpoons and cutting equipment, paraphernalia associated with shipboard life including a full set of ship's surgical instruments, old prints and photographs, and models of whale ships and whaleboats.

Extensive collections of scrimshaw (carved bone and shell), including some unique and very noteworthy pieces, are also on display.

Learn from your local guide about the tradition of whaling and how the trading occurred with the local Maori people.

Enjoy morning refreshments and a walk through the magnificent gardens at Butler Point, first developed in the 1840s by William and Eliza Butler. Although little of the original gardens remain today, some trees planted by the Butler's have survived. These include a giant Magnolia grandiflora, an equally large fig with its roots and branches overhanging the sea at high tide, and a very early olive that still stands in the garden, withered but still vigorously regenerating. The oldest trees are native pohutukawa -- some of which were ancient at the time Butler arrived. Pohutukawas line the coastline to Butler House, providing a spectacular backdrop to the property. One surviving tree, with a trunk circumference of 36 feet, is the largest in New Zealand.

Return to the ship at Waitangi wharf with a short stop at the Puketi forest en route to view beautiful native kauri trees.