Whakatane, located in the eastern Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand’s North Island, is a town rich in culture and history, and surrounded by natural beauty. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there’s plenty to see and do in Whakatane. From adventure activities to cultural experiences, here’s a guide what to do in whakatane or we can say the charming town.
Visit the White Island
One of the most unique and thrilling experiences in Whakatane is visiting the White Island, New Zealand’s only active marine volcano. The island is located around 50 kilometers off the coast of Whakatane, and can be reached by helicopter or boat. Once there, you can explore the crater and see the fumaroles, hot streams, and bubbling mud pools.
Explore Ohope Beach
Ohope Beach, located just a few minutes’ drive from Whakatane, is a stunning stretch of coastline known for its clear blue water and golden sand. Take a walk along the beach, swim in the ocean, or try your hand at surfing. You can also take a hike in the nearby Ohope Scenic Reserve, which offers stunning views of the coastline.
Learn about Maori culture
The Maori people have a strong presence in Whakatane, and there are several cultural experiences available to visitors. One option is to take a tour of Mataatua Wharenui, a beautifully carved Maori meeting house that has been restored and now serves as a museum. You can also visit the Whakatane Kiwi Trust, which is dedicated to protecting the native kiwi bird.
Take a fishing charter
Whakatane is known for its excellent fishing opportunities, with plenty of charter boats available to take you out on the water. Whether you’re a seasoned fisherman or a beginner, you’re sure to have a great time catching snapper, kingfish, and other species.
Visit the Whakatane District Museum and Gallery
For those interested in history and art, the Whakatane District Museum and Gallery is a must-visit attraction. The museum features exhibits on the history of the region, including displays on the Maori people and the local flora and fauna. The gallery showcases work from local and national artists.
Take a scenic flight
For a bird’s eye view of the stunning Bay of Plenty region, take a scenic flight over Whakatane. You’ll see the White Island, the surrounding coastline, and the rugged inland terrain.
Go on a bush walk
Whakatane is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, including the Ohiwa Harbour and the Tarawera River. Take a bush walk through these areas to see the native flora and fauna, including towering trees, ferns, and birds.
Visit the Nga Tapuwae o Toi Walkway
The Nga Tapuwae o Toi Walkway is a 16 kilometer walking track that takes you through some of the most stunning natural areas in the region. You’ll pass through forests, along the coast, and over hills, with stunning views the entire way.
Go dolphin watching
Whakatane is home to a large population of bottlenose dolphins, and there are several operators that offer dolphin watching tours. You can watch the playful creatures from a boat, or even swim with them in their natural habitat.
Enjoy the local cuisine
Whakatane is home to a range of excellent restaurants and cafes, offering everything from classic Kiwi fare to international cuisine. Be sure to try some of the local seafood, including fresh fish and crayfish.