Whakatane is the gateway to White Island/ Whakaari. Just 50km offshore from Whakatane Whakaari is the world’s most accessible active marine volcano. Whooshing geothermal steam vents, bubbling mud pools and the sombre remains of a historic sulphur mining factory can be reached by helicopter, plane or boat and tours put you on the edge of the expansive and steaming crater lake. Tour guides commentary offer an awe-inspiring glimpse into this powerful landscape that has shaped New Zealand.
Getting out on the water is a major part of the Eastern Bay’s allure, with world-class fishing, diving and snorkelling to be found at Whakaari or on the area’s second most famous island, Moutohora/Whale Island. Moutohora is a nature reserve and bird sanctuary just a few kilometres offshore with tours available. Add to this swimming at Ohope – the Most Loved Beach in New Zealand – and a small but dynamic township with great shopping and dining options, and you have everything you need for the classic Kiwi getaway.
The District’s rich cultural history is also well worth exploring, and there are no better places to start than Te Koputu a te whanga a Toi – Whakatane’s award-winning museum and exhibition centre – and the Mataatua, te Manuka Tutahi. Te Koputu offers an intriguing and multi-layered glimpse into the history of the District, as well as demonstrations of the area’s creativity via modern gallery spaces. Mataatua provides an unforgettable encounter with the wharenui that toured the world for 130 years before returning to its home, its story told by Ngati Awa story tellers and illustrated by world-class digital technology.
Centrally located in the Bay of Plenty, Whakatane is the perfect base for an exploration of the region’s pristine coastline on the world class walking track Nga Tapuwae o Toi. This bushclad coastal walkway takes in the best of Whakatane and Ohope’s scenery. Trek from Whakatane’s town centre up to Kapu-te-rangi, on eof NZ’s oldest pa sites and along Kohi Point into seemingly untouched Otarawairere Bay. Enjoy the full 18km loop track or take it one section at a time. Pick up a map from the Whakatane i-Site.
Whakatane has much to offer on many levels, but it retains the small-town charm and friendliness that the larger centres and more-developed tourist destinations lost long ago. Come for a couple of days, but don’t be surprised if you stay for much longer.
For more activities and accommodation options visit www.whakatane.com
Or contact the friendly team at Whakatane i-Site
Corner Quay Street and Kakahoroa Dr, Whakatane