It’s In Our Nature – Walks, Beaches and Wildlife
Nau mai, haere mai ki te Moananui ā Toi! Welcome to the Coastal Bay of Plenty.
We hope you find yourself invigorated and restored as you explore our 125-kilometres of coastal paradise, incredible native forests and charming wildlife. Discover, explore, sustain and enjoy – it is our absolute pleasure to welcome you.
Walk the Orokawa Trail – The Orokawa Trail is a stunning 45-minute walk through bush with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy the sounds of birdlife as you pass by towering Pо̄hutukawa trees, kauri, puriri and our native nikau palm trees. When you get to Orokawa Bay, rest under the large Pо̄hutukawa trees on a secluded beach or carry onto the William Wright Falls.
Swim at Waihī Beach. This is one of the safest and loveliest beaches in the Coastal Bay of Plenty. Enjoy your dip and remember to cover up with sunscreen!
Stay: Waihī Beach TOP 10 Holiday Resort. Relax, refresh and revive amongst the fabulous 5.5 acres of Pо̄hutukawa trees and picturesque setting at Waihī Beach TOP 10 Holiday Resort.
Katikati – Walk the Tuahu Kauri Track – The Kaimāī Mamaku Conservation Park covers an area of approximately 37,000 ha and features over 350 km of walking and tramping tracks. One of those trails, the Tuahu Track, winds through native forest featuring young kauri rickers and juvenile rimu trees. The full walk is 5 hours one way but just 20 minutes into the trail, turn left onto a sidetrack that leads to a platform surrounding one of the largest Kauri trees in the Bay of Plenty.
Did You Know? The Bay of Plenty region is currently the only region in New Zealand that does not have Kauri dieback disease. Please ensure your footwear is clean, especially if you have been walking in other areas of New Zealand and stick to the track.
Soak in the geothermal Sapphire Springs – There’s nothing more relaxing than soaking in a thermal hot pool! Sapphire Springs has the largest geothermal pool in the region and two hot tubs. The pools are fed from a natural warm water spring and are between 30°C and 38°C – the perfect way to end the day.
Stay: Sapphire Springs Holiday Park Relax at this tranquil holiday park at the foot of the Kaimāī Ranges, set in 32 hectares of beautiful native forest.
Half day cruise with Bay Explorer. The fantastic Bay Explorer crew will make sure you have an unforgettable cruise, getting up close to marine wildlife such as seabirds, penguins, seals, whales, sunfish, school fish, sharks, orca, and dolphins – plenty of amazing photo opportunities!
Your experienced captain and crew will provide a fascinating commentary on the history, geography and culture of the area. They have knowledge on marine wildlife and personally share with you everything they observe.
Waimarino Kayak Tours offers some of New Zealand’s most breath-taking kayak adventures. Relax on the edge of tranquil Lake McLaren, enjoy locally produced refreshments while watching the ducks and swans go about their evening’s preparations. At dusk, Waimarino’s kayak tour guides will lead you on to the lake to watch the sun set over the rolling hills. Gently paddle your kayak into the night and discover the magic of the enchanting glow worm canyon. This kayak tour is truly a wonderful, unique and magical experience.
Stay: Cob Cottage Sleep completely immersed in nature. This charming, organic building has been lovingly created using a mix of clay, sand and straw. This ancient, natural method of building is called ‘cob’ and has incredible thermal properties – soaking up sunlight in the walls during the day and slowing releasing the heat. Set high on the Pāpāmoa Hills, the views from the campsite are stunning. At night, spark up the brazier and toast some marshmallows over the fire or relax in the outdoor bath.
Walk up and around the Mount – One of the most Instagrammed locations in New Zealand is in the heart of the Bay of Plenty – Mauao. Hike to the top of the dormant volcano for a view that will take your breath away. Standing 232m above sea level, Mauao is an iconic landmark treasured by locals. Mauao means ‘caught by the dawn’ and the mountain is steeped in Māori history and mythology. Several historical pā sites (villages) have been built on this extinct volcanic cone, the evidence of which can still be seen today as you explore the popular walking tracks.
Go guided. Immerse yourself in Māori culture and stories with the crew from East Coast Paddler. Take a hikoi (guided walk) around Mauao – a beloved mountain in Mount Maunganui. Discover how Māori lived centuries ago as local guides share legends and history. Learn about current environmental efforts to keep Mauao and the surrounding ocean waters pristine and look out for marine life as you enjoy the beauty of this stunning coastal walk – one of the most popular short walks in New Zealand.
Then hit the water for a stand-up paddle-boarding lesson as the crew at East Coast Paddler share their love of the ocean with you.
Te Puke – Visit Kiwifruit Country – You’re in kiwifruit land, so make a stop at Kiwifruit Country and see (and taste) the goodness for yourself. Visit the café and shop to load up on treats and gifts – ice-cream lovers will love the green and gold kiwifruit ice-cream – or take the tour through the orchard. You’ll get to ride on kiwifruit-shaped carts through a working Bay of Plenty orchard, discover a bit about our unique soils and come out of the experience with a new love and appreciation for this fuzzy wonderfood.
Local Favourite: Raparapahoe Falls is a 3-metre high waterfall that plunges into a cool and clear pool. This Te Puke gem is accessible by a steep and rough 1-kilometre track – it can get slippery so leave your jandals at home. The view from the bottom is breath-taking. Cliffs and a fringe of native punga trees rise sharply above the blue pool of water.
Moutohorā Island Sanctuary Tour – Moutohorā/Whale Island is a pest-free oasis that is home to a number of New Zealand’s rare and endangered plants, birds and reptiles. Board the comfortable catamaran for an easy cruise to the island before being taken on a fully-guided tour of the island.
Keep an eye out for a threatened tūturiwhatu/New Zealand dotterel, boisterous tīeke/North Island saddleback, Tuatara, or kākāriki/red-crowned parakeet as you journey through the regenerated native bush before you dig yourself a soothing geothermal spring pool at Onepū Bay, Moutohorā’s secluded hot water beach. This is your opportunity to see New Zealand’s wildlife as nature intended it and discover one of New Zealand’s little-known treasures.
Kiwi bird conservation in the Kiwi Capital of the World™. Discover the nocturnal world of wild kiwi with the Whakatāne Kiwi Trust in the Kiwi Capital of the World™, Whakatāne. Set out after dark on the self-guided Fairbrother Loop track or book a guided night walk. Listen for the call of kiwi who like to get quite chatty after dark and discover all sorts of fascinating creepy crawlies that come out at night.
Stay: Ataahua Ruru Glamping. Relax in the peaceful bush setting of Ataahua Ruru Farm. Enjoy native bird song as you relax in your own lotus belle glamping tent.
Tane Mahuta – God of the Forest experience – Te Urewera. Leave the city behind and immerse yourself in this unique and ancient rainforest with the guides from Te Urewera Treks. Plant your own native tree – a legacy that will last 1,000 years.
Enjoy the magical Whirinaki Forest, walking under fully mature native trees, planted by nature hundreds of years ago and discover Arohaki Lagoon where you’ll get to see the largest collection of Kahikatea trees in New Zealand.
Stay: Whakatau rainforest retreat Deep in Te Urewera is a glamping experience like no other. Stay in a glamping structure or a canvas bell tent. Self-cater, or select the Manaaki package that includes a local to host you, provide and cook meals. Enjoy the sounds of native bush and the stars on a clear night are second to none.
Discover a hidden coastal paradise – Just a 10-minute drive away from Whakatāne is Ōhope Beach, voted NZ’s most loved beach. Park your car at the West End and walk 15 minutes to the secluded hidden gem of Otarawairere Bay. Simply stunning.
Take a paddle with KG Kayaks – Paddle the stunning beautiful Otarawairere Bay and the rocky channels beyond with the guides from KG Kayaks. Stop for morning tea at a hidden beach and don’t be surprised if you see Orca, seals, gannets or penguins on this wonderful trip.
Stay: While in the Eastern Bay, Ōhope Beach Top 10 Holiday Park is the perfect family-friendly, eco-accommodation. The facilities are amazing – swimming pool with hydro slides, giant jumping pillow and Connect 4, mini golf, table tennis, not to mention Ohiwa Harbour and beach right at your doorstep.