Jump on a boat or into a helicopter and venture across the shimmering blue sea to White Island, NZ’s living volcano. Stepping onto the rocky shores of this place feels like landing on another planet, with rocky lunar ground, bubbling mud pits, steam vents and a main crater with a hissing acid lake.
For something a little less adventurous and a little more relaxing, there’s hope. Ohope, that is. Ohope Beach is a safe swimming beach that stretches eleven kms along the coastline, and from the shore you can see the unmistakable shape of Whale Island. The western end of the beach is conveniently (and accurately) called West End, and it’s a popular place to swim or kayak.
Feel like fishing? Whakatane is the yellow fin capital of New Zealand, holds fishing tournaments all year long and offers great ocean-based fishing from Matata and Thornton beaches.
To go from the ocean to the forest, take a day trip to some of the region’s wilderness zones like Tu Urewa National Park. You oughta feel one with nature among the forest canopies, lakes and gushing waterfalls of this 2,127km escape.
And you can discover Whakatane’s cultural side with a visit to Whakatane Library and Exhibition Centre and Mataatua Wharenui, a house of Maori cultural treasures with statues, carvings and even a digital light show.
Browse through Whakatane’s boutique shops for custom-made jewellery, traditional Maori art, fashion and souvenirs. When it comes to food, Whakatane has a diverse bunch of great restaurants in the heart of town and on the Ohope beachfront. You’ll find gourmet cafes, riverside restaurants and even a berry farm and cafe.
By car, Whakatane is about an hour from Rotorua and three and a half hours from Auckland. Check out our cheap flights to Rotorua or flights to Auckland for a longer, scenic trip. Our Whakatane hotels are waiting for you, so book yours now and enjoy the sunshine.
Hotels in Whakatane start at AU$80 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.