When everyone else is pulling on a hoodie and digging out their socks, Whakatāne locals are still very much enjoying tranquil waters, blue skies and lofty temperatures. We pick out some of the best things to do this autumn in the Eastern Bay.
WORDS ANNA WILLIAMS
Autumn is the perfect time to visit Ōhope Beach. Any local will tell you their favourite time of the year is when the sea breeze dissipates, the sun continues to shine and the change of season is nowhere in sight. Swimming in autumn is an everyday occurrence at Ōhope, so if you’re after a holiday without the crowds and a calm sea, New Zealand’s favourite beach is perfect.
The kiwi, our rare and iconic national bird, is right here in our backyard. Whakatāne is the kiwi capital of the world with over 300 wild kiwis residing in the Ōhope Scenic Reserve, just a short bush walk from the Whakatāne Central Business District. Nowhere else in the world will you find a vulnerable species in the wild so close to an urban centre. Take the incredible opportunity to see, and hear the call of, a wild kiwi on a night walk hosted by the Whakatāne Kiwi Trust from April to June each year.
ŌHIWA HARBOUR PLAYGROUND
If adventure and exploring is what you’re after, Ōhiwa Harbour delivers it all. Situated at the eastern end of Ōhope Beach, the calm harbour is a great place to kayak, paddle board, fish, swim or explore by boat. Hunt for flounder or tuatua and cook your bounty on the shore at one of the many great picnic spots. If that’s not enough, stretch your legs with a walk up to Tauwhare Pā, the tribal boundary between Ngāti Awa and Whakatōhea, offering sensational views to Whakaari (White Island) and the East Cape.
One of the country’s top links courses, Ōhope International Golf Club has maginificent views of smokin’ Whakaari. And Whakatāne Golf Club is a championship level course, on the coast along from the town centre.
MAGIC OF MOUTOHORĀ
A short boat ride from the Whakatāne town centre will take you to a wonderland of endangered bird life, frolicking seals and natural hot pools. Moutohorā, or Whale Island, is home to one of New Zealand’s most restricted wildlife sanctuaries. Experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by taking a guided tour around the island and experience nature like nothing else.
For more information and to plan your trip,