Spoilt for choice in Whakatāne

Spoilt for choice in Whakatāne

As anticipation builds for longer sun-filled days, you’ll be yearning to get outdoors. And if your ideal scenario is somewhere with diverse natural environments within a stones–throw of each other, you best get your skates on to Whakatāne.

Outdoor activities abound in the Whakatāne district, with the morning’s quandary on whether to hit the beach, harbour or venture out to sea, or go for native bush, lakes and rivers. The thing is, it’s a difficult decision as all of this is within easy walking or driving distance.

The Whakatāne district is renowned for its superb walking, tramping and biking trails, both coastal with incredible ocean vistas, and awe-inspiring tracks through ancient native forests.

Nga Tapuwae o Toi (Footprints of Toi) walkway, connecting Whakatāne township and Ōhope Beach, offers a diverse natural landscape and spectacular scenery to rival any of New Zealand’s great walks. The 16 kilometre loop is achievable as a half-day walk, or enjoy in sections suitable for the whole family. The trail includes pa sites of major historic significance, diverse native forest, spectacular pohutukawa stands, unsurpassed coastal views, seabird colonies and native birds in abundance.

The trail passes through Ōtarawairere Bay – the hidden jewel of the Whakatāne-Ōhope area. Pohutukawa trees loom over a sandy beach of crushed seashells, and the warm waters of the Pacific lap quietly against the shore.

KG Kayaks offer guided tours following the coastal section of Ngā Tapuwae o Toi. Departing from the Whakatāne Heads or West End at Ōhope Beach, take in the spectacular scenery and stop for morning tea in one of the secluded bays.

West End is also where locals love to surf. With a sheltered, gentle break, it’s the perfect spot for beginners but you’ll also find the, ‘can’t get enough’, surfing set here too. Throw out a Shakka to the locals – they’ll love it.

Whakatane has some brilliant bike trails, with something for every skill level, ranging from an easy family cruise to adventurous mountain biking.

Take the family to Onepu Mountain Bike Park, Burma Road, Ōhope Harbourside Trail or the Mōtū Dunes Trail in Ōpōtiki. Or meander on the Whakatāne River Warren Cole cycleway, a flat, paved ride that skirts the town.

And if golf is your thing on holiday, you’re spoilt for choice. A range of both international-level coastal courses and picturesque country clubs offer the chance to explore the diverse scenery of the district.

Ōhope International Golf Club is rated one of the top links courses in New Zealand and 10 minutes from town, the Whakatāne Golf Club championship level course offers another spectacularly scenic game.

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