The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

03 April, 2017


Whakatane, approx 86kms SE of Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty was on our list to visit purely so we could pronounce the Wh = f as you should in New Zealand. Sad really but brings on a smile!

The drive took us along the east coast and was quite different to our drive to Rotorua. Once again we avoided the Toll road and enjoyed spectacular scenery, in particular the long beaches.  Stopped off in a town called Te Puke for a coffee before heading on our way, having another stop at Kohioawa Beach just before Matata. The beach was lovely however not used to seeing the grey sand (volcanic).

Enjoying a great coffee at Te Puke,  quite a busy little town.

Kohioawa beach, the highway is between the cliff and the beach

Once in Whakatane we called into the information centre and picked up a Heritage Walk map which took in the wharf area and continued up to the Heads.  Along the way were various Maori landmarks with good information signs which made an interesting walk.  These included Irekewa's rock: Mataatua Waka replica: Statue of Wairaka: Whakatane Heads (Kohi Point): Muriwai's cave and saw White Island with lots of smoke billowing out. Whakatane is a lovely town and has a lot of Maori history and culture.

Looking back from Whakatane Heads back towards Whakatane, note the statue of Wairaka on the RHS

The Mataatua Waka replica

Drove up to Puketapu Lookout - this has been a lookout site for the Ngati Awaiwi for over 600 years and in 1965 the Whakatane Rotary Club developed the site as a lookout and reserve, providing great views of the town, the river mouth and beyond.

View of Whakatane Heads from Puketapu Lookout

Whakatane from Puketapu Lookout
From the lookout we took a scenic drive to Ohope Beach which was voted NZ's Most Loved Beach (AA Traveller poll 2014).  This is a summer holiday destination nestled in a sheltered bay which sweeps 11kms along the Pacific coast.  Once again it was the grey sand that we are not used to on a beach and unfortunately the weather was not warm enough for us to have a swim.

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