EPIC EASTERN BAY ADVENTURES
The Eastern Bay of Plenty is home to Whakatāne, which is frequently recognised as one of the sunniest places in New Zealand, along with holiday hot spot Ōhope Beach. This part of Te Moananui ā Toi is paradise to those who love being in or on the water; be it fishing, sailing, kayaking, surfing and everything in between, it's all here!
Explore Moutohorā Island, see some marine wildlife, and swim at New Zealand's most-loved beach.
By Car (to Whakatāne):
From Auckland: 3 hours and 45 minutes
From Hamilton: 2 hours and 30 minutes
From New Plymouth: 5 hours and 20 minutes
From Napier: 3 hours and 40 minutes
From Wellington: 6 hours and 30 minutes
There's plenty to see and do in and around Whakatāne. You can easily fill in a whole day just looking around the seaside town and enjoying plenty of the beautiful walks, including the famous Ngā Tapuwae o Toi walking trail which takes you past historic pā sites and areas of cultural significance, through native forest, along stunning coastlines and through three major scenic reserves.
There are also plenty of adventures to be had on the water! You can't miss Moutohorā (Whale Island) just off the coast of Whakatāne. This secluded paradise is definitely one of the Bay's best-kept secrets. Accessible only by guided tour, the island is a wildlife sanctuary and home to an array of endangered plants, birds and reptiles. You can reach the island with several tour operators: KG Kayaks, Moutohorā Island Sanctuary, or Diveworks Charters.
Other water activities in Whakatāne include:
For an authentic cultural experience, visit Mataatua: the house that came home. Discover the story behind New Zealand's most travelled wharenui. The immersive experience brings the story to life and provides an opportunity for intimate engagement with the people of Ngāti Awa.
Eco-sanctuary, immersive cultural experience & water activities to soothe the soul.
Ōhope Beach is New Zealand's most loved beach (as voted by AA Traveller) and it's easy to see why! Picture that iconic Kiwiana holiday and Ōhope Beach is what springs to mind! With stunning pōhutukawa trees lining the beach, cute little cafés and fish and chip shops – a holiday here will be one for the memory banks.
The beach itself is great for learning to surf (book in a lesson with Salt Spray Surf School) and is fantastic for families as well.
Or get in touch with the team at KG Kayaks for a guided tour or hire your own kayak and explore on your own.
Chill out at New Zealand's most loved beach or hire a kayak and explore the coast!
Where to stay
Whether you want to stay in the bustling town of Whakatāne or in one of the beachside settlements such as Ōhope Beach or Thornton Beach, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to picking accommodation. Some top spots include Ōhope Beach Top 10 Holiday Park, White Island Rendezvous, One88 on Commerce, and Thornton Beach Holiday Park.
Where to eat
Fresh fish and chips on the wharf, pick your own berries, and locally-brewed craft beer; the Eastern Bay of Plenty is a pretty good place to try some delicious locally-sourced goodness.
Whakatāne town centre has plenty of delicious cafés, bars, restaurants and takeaway options, so no matter what you're craving there'll be something to satisfy your tastebuds. Gibbo's on the Wharf offers some of the freshest fish and chips you'll ever have, meaning that the experience is a must-do while you're in town. Other great options include: White Island Cafe and L'Epicerie.
Over the hill in Ōhope Beach you'll find a couple of great options; coffee and brunch at Moxi Café is a popular option for both locals and visitors, and Port Ōhope General Store & Café offers great views of both the ocean and Ōhiwa Harbour, as well as great burgers.
Check out the local produce at the popular Whakatāne Sunday Market from 8:00 am - 11:00 am every - yep, you guessed it - Sunday. You'll find local growers selling organically grown fruit and vegetables, handmade products, fresh honey and olive oils, jewellery, crafts - and plenty more.
Local produce, amazing fish & chips, and great coffee.