In days gone by the river was the main link between the town of Warkworth and the rest of civilisation. The historic Portland Cement Works opened in 1884 beside the river and many scows and steamers used it to export the cement. The cement works was closed down some years ago and the ruins have stood the test of time and remain on the banks of the river today, behind what is now a marina.
There are two boat yards on the Mahurangi river, the one by the ruins and one further upstream by Warkworth. These yards both offer haulout and hardstand options for both small and large craft. The township of Warkworth at the rivers head has a collection of small cafes, supermarkets, other stores and a post office. There is a moderately large wharf with a floating pontoon by the waters edge, although the river all but dries out here at low tide. The river itself has many small tributary streams which enter at different points along its length.
A quiet, sheltered and beautiful place, the Mahurangi River is a unique destination for sea farers.