Under the sun

Unwind and reconnect under the sun in Whakatāne.

Your next adventure awaits

Abundant sunshine, mysterious forests, magnificent coastline and a rich culture make Whakatāne the ultimate destination to unplug and reconnect. 

From offshore wildlife sanctuaries to rugged, prehistoric rainforests, sacred cultural sites and the call of wild kiwi in the night - unique experiences steeped in rich history offer you a warm and unforgettable “Haere Mai.”

And with more than 2700 average hours of sunshine in 2020, Whakatāne owns the title of sunniest place in New Zealand, its year-round good weather making its attractions all the more enjoyable.

Whakatāne is filled with unique experiences, from offshore wildlife sanctuaries to rugged, prehistoric rainforests, sacred cultural sites and the call of wild kiwi in the night. 

"I love all of it, it's not just 'a job' for me."

- Tony Bish, NZ’s only Chardonnay-exclusive producer

Answer the call of Papatūānuku

With over 50km of coastline and remote wilderness on its doorstep, Whakatāne offers encounters with Mother Nature year-round.

Get off the beaten track

Follow the coastline east to East Cape, a remote part of the North Island that’s the first to see the sun rise each morning. To the south lies Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park, an ancient Jurassic podocarp forest containing the living children of Tāne Mahuta, the Māori god of the forest.

The park is valued as a taonga (treasure) and Local iwi (tribe) Ngāti Whare is the active kaitiaki (guardian) of the park working with the Department of Conservation (DOC) to protect the natural, cultural, and historic resources for the benefit and well-being of future generations of Aotearoa and visitors

Nearby lies Te Urewera, a vast hinterland that’s an outdoor lover’s paradise, offering camping, hunting, fishing and tramping. As part of a Crown settlement with Ngāi Tūhoe, Te Urewera was made a legal entity with all the rights, powers, duties and liabilities of a living, breathing human being.

Embrace the call of the wild

As the official kiwi capital of the world, Whakatāne is one of the few places in the country where you can hear wild kiwi at night time -- even from the town centre. Guided night walks through Mokorua Bush Scenic Reserve and Ōhope Scenic Reserve may reveal Whakatāne’s local inhabitants to lucky visitors. 

From beach to forest in the same day

Beach and forest collide here, and you can easily explore both in a day. The West End of Ōhope Beach has a calm, consistent break that is perfect for beginner surfers. Learn to surf with Ollie’s Salt Spray Surf school that provides lessons for all ages and abilities.

Then, wander along the Ngā Tapuwae o Toi trail, a 16km loop track set between Ōhope Beach and Whakatāne town centre, that navigates native forest, wetlands and historic pa sites and boasts one of New Zealand’s largest coastal pōhutukawa forests.

Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park, an ancient Jurassic podocarp forest

Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park, an ancient Jurassic podocarp forest

West End, Ōhope Beach

Ōhope Beach

Ngā Tapuwae o Toi trail navigates native forest, wetlands and historic pa sites

Ngā Tapuwae o Toi trail navigates native forest, wetlands and historic pa sites

Uncovering hidden gems

Visiting Moutohorā/Whale Island, an ancient volcano and pest-free wildlife sanctuary

Visiting Moutohorā/Whale Island, an ancient volcano and pest-free wildlife sanctuary

Whakatane has memorable secrets to share, once you stray from the well-trodden tourist trails.

Moutohorā Island Sanctuary

Nine kilometres off the coast of Whakatāne lies Moutohorā/Whale Island, an ancient volcano and pest-free wildlife sanctuary.

Here, under the protection of the Department of Conservation (DoC), saddleback, tui, kakariki, bellbirds, seals and little blue penguins thrive.

Access to the island is by guided tour only. Take a kayaking tour around the Island’s coastline to encounter the friendly fur seals, or take the on land tour and finish with a dip in your own geothermal hot water pool at Sulphur Bay.

The house that travelled through time

After 130 years of travelling to Sydney, Melbourne, the Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK, Dunedin and Otago, Mataatua Wharenui, New Zealand’s most-travelled Māori meeting house, made its way home to Whakatāne. Here it stands as a living and breathing being that connects visitors to the people of Ngāti Awa. 

World-class fishing

Whakatāne’s rich marine life, crystal-clear waters and year-round fine weather make it one of New Zealand’s best fishing destinations. Try your luck catching kingfish, tarakihi and snapper, as well as yellowfin tuna, shark and marlin during the warmer months. 

Mataatua Wharenui is New Zealand’s most-travelled Māori meeting house

Mataatua Wharenui is New Zealand’s most-travelled Māori meeting house

Rich, soul-fulfilling experiences

The landscapes here are imbued with local legends, steeped in ancient indigenous traditions and deeply connected to their natural surroundings. 

Kiwi encounters
The shrill cry of a male kiwi can echo suddenly from the darkness for visitors to this region - though it’s  a sound not often heard since the  introduction of native-bird predators. Join an event run by community organisation HALO Whakatāne, which is working to create an unfenced sanctuary for kiwi and other native birds through education and conservation projects. 

Become a guardian of the forest
Help restore native indigenous trees, learn about the local stories and legends of  Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tane Conservation Park and Te Urewera wilderness area from your local Māori guide, and become an honorary guardian of the forest, Kaitiaki Tautoko, on a trekking and native tree planting trip.

Outdoor adventures
There’s nothing like having the wind in your hair and the blood pumping through your veins to make you feel truly alive. Get the adrenaline pumping on a Riverbug adventure along the Tarawera River, past magical waterfalls, raging rapids and hidden canyons.  

Get the adrenaline pumping on a Riverbug adventure along the Tarawera River, past magical waterfalls, raging rapids and hidden canyons. 

Get the adrenaline pumping on a Riverbug adventure along the Tarawera River, past magical waterfalls, raging rapids and hidden canyons. 

Regenerative community


Māori operators have introduced initiatives and tourism businesses that are designed to give back to the local community and share te ao Māori with visitors.  

Manaakitanga at its best
Relax and unwind amidst lush farmland, native bush and spiritual lakes and rivers at the family-run Kohutapu Lodge, a socially responsible business that gives back to the local community.

Experience the manaakitanga (hospitality) of your hosts as they share their kai with you along with stories that have been passed down through generations. 

Te Urewera: A bountiful source of sustenance
Local beekeepers have been gathering wild honey from the mānuka, tāwari groves and mountainous tawhero of the Te Urewera forest since the 1830s.

Manawa Honey focuses on sustainable land use and beekeeping practices to produce native tree honeys infused with heart.   

Tread in the footsteps of dinosaurs
Walk in the shadows of giants and follow in the footsteps of prehistoric creatures in the Whirinaki Forest.

Here, you’ll learn how to slow down and reconnect with your surroundings.

Manawa Honey focuses on sustainable land use and beekeeping practices

Manawa Honey focuses on sustainable land use and beekeeping practices

Boutique experiences

Whakatāne’s eateries, breweries and local shops are a chance to mingle with locals and share in the flavours of this unique corner of Aotearoa.

Something to suit every traveller’s taste
You’ll find scrumptious brunch and barista-made coffee at Moxi, Mexican flavours at Cadera, tasty French-style galettes at L’Epicerie Larder and delicious dining with harbour views at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Fish and chips from Gibbos on the Wharf is a must, followed by a pint of Good George at The Comm. 

There’s Korean and Pacific fusion at CIGOL Restaurant, while Mata Brewery’s tasting room serves up more familiar fare – bar snacks, pizza, and freshly poured beer riggers. 
Got a sweet tooth? Pick your own berries at Julian’s Berry Farm and Cafe and indulge in some baking from White Island Cafe or Cafe 4 U

A piece of Whakatāne to take home
Find a meaningful souvenir of your travels while supporting local businesses at one of the growing number of boutique shops in the Whakatāne CBD and Ōhope Beach. With plenty of free parking just a short stroll from the main shopping areas, it’s easy to get your retail therapy fix.

You’ll find ethical fashion at the Good Tonic, European-inspired homewares at Pear, an eclectic collection of gifts, homewares and clothing at DiSTiNCT, along with an array of boutiques touting local and international designers. 

L’Epicerie Larder is a must-do for French-style galettes.

L’Epicerie Larder is a must-do for French-style galettes.

Seclusion and scenery in Ōhope


With its 11km stretch of glorious white sand and temperate, calm waters, it’s no surprise Ōhope has been voted New Zealand’s Best and Most Loved Beach, and there are plenty of hidden spots to discover here. 

Secluded spots
Ōtarawairere Beach is only accessible by foot or kayak, making it the perfect spot for a romantic picnic or some quality family time. For a spot of fishing or kayaking without the crowds, Ōhiwa Harbour is ideal. 

Soak up the scenery
Explore the former pā sites atop the hills surrounding Ōhope on foot or two wheels. Walk around Tauwhere Pā Scenic Reserve and connect with the area’s history, or enjoy a gentle bike ride along the Ōhope Harbourside Trail

Ōhope Golf Links Golf Club, uniquely situated on a narrow finger of land between the Pacific Ocean and the Ōhiwa Harbour, provides gorgeous views and has been rated as one of the North Island’s best golf courses. 

Fine harbour views at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Fine harbour views at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Memorably welcome

From island sanctuaries to coastal walkways and unforgettable Māori cultural experiences, there’s no shortage of things to do in Whakatāne.

Guided night walks through Mokorua Bush Scenic Reserve and Ōhope Scenic Reserve may reveal Whakatāne’s local inhabitants to lucky visitors.

Guided night walks through Mokorua Bush Scenic Reserve and Ōhope Scenic Reserve may reveal Whakatāne’s local inhabitants to lucky visitors.

Get up close and personal with kiwi

Get up close and personal with kiwi

Heading to Whale Island

Heading to Whale Island

Ōhiwa Harbour

Ōhiwa Harbour

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Get up close and personal with kiwi

Get up close and personal with kiwi

Heading to Whale Island

Heading to Whale Island

Ōhiwa Harbour

Ōhiwa Harbour

Your next adventure awaits. 

Visit Whakatāne for a uniquely unforgettable experience