Explore These Community Gems Out East
Maketū, Paengaroa and Pukehina form a natural triangle, about 40-kilometres along the coast from Tauranga’s CBD. It’s where our rural heartland meets sand and surf, and the essence of our Bay of Plenty lifestyle really shines through.
These tight-knit communities will welcome you with a laid back smile and are happy to share their rich heritage, natural attractions, and good food with you. So jump in the car or get on your bike and explore this magnificent corner of our region!
The Arawa waka that voyaged from Hawaiki to New Zealand/Aotearoa eight centuries ago eventually came to rest at Maketū. Descendants have called Maketū home ever since and every inch of this seaside village has seen historic events unfold. Seven markers now stand at significant sites and you can do a hikoi (walk) to discover the fascinating Māori and European history of Maketū. Kotukutuku Gully and Pukemaire Pa both feature on this hikoi where you’ll find remnants of hangi stones, middens and enjoy incredible views.
Artist Dame Robin White immortalised Maketū's fish and chip shop in 1975 and it's now one of New Zealand's most recognisable paintings so it's worth getting a selfie out front. And Maketū Pies are stuff of legends. Don't leave town without trying one!
A 10-minute drive inland from Maketū is Paengaroa - The Trading Post - Osteria Italiana is a casual but delicious Italian eatery that's conveniently located across the road from the end of the Paengaroa and Maketū cycleway. You can park your bike up and enjoy home-made bread, pastries, charcuterie, sandwiches and plenty more, or book a table for dinner and indulge in one of their mouthwatering Italian degustations. For more details on the cycleway, visit the Cycle Trails Western Bay page here.
If you're tired of your usual beach hangout, Pukehina's glorious white sand is ready and waiting for you. This is an awesome place to swim, surf, kite-surf, or cast your fishing line into the waves where underwater reefs and rocks attract plenty of fish.
Pukehina beach is essentially a long sandspit that separates the ocean from an estuary harbour so you can choose between wave action or calmer waters depending on your mood. It's also a great place for a walk along the sand and fish and chips on the beach from the Pukehina Beach Store & Takeaway (9/68 Pukehina Beach Road).
This is a truly unspoilt spot and locals consider it 'paradise' for good reason. Plenty of out-of-towners own holiday homes here, so we're lucky it's right on our doorstep and we can visit whenever we please. Come check it out!
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