Where Spectacular is Par for the Course
IF YOU HAVEN’T YET EXPERIENCED THE SENSE OF JOY WHEN YOU CATCH YOUR FIRST GLIMPSE OF THE SEA AS YOU DRIVE DOWN THE HILL FROM WHAKATĀNE TOWARDS ŌHOPE BEACH, THEN IT’S TIME YOU GOT A MOVE ON. ALWAYS A HOLIDAY HOT SPOT, WHAKATĀNE HAS COME OF AGE IN RECENT YE
filled golf courses offer crisp, dry greens yearround, coupled with some pretty spectacular scenery. A range of both international-level coastal courses and picturesque country clubs offer the chance to explore the diverse scenery of the district.
SPOILT FOR CHOICE
The eastern bay of plenty is host to six golf courses, all within easy driving distance from Whakatāne or Ōhope.
Set between Ohiwa Harbour and Ōhope Beach, with views out to White Island on the northern side and the harbour wetlands to the south, the Ōhope International Golf Club is rated one of the top links courses in New Zealand.
With sandy soils and more sunshine than any other North Island region, the 18-hole course is dry underfoot year-round, offering consistent playing conditions.
Greg Turner says this of the course, “The seaside terrain is as dramatic as anything in the British Isles and the views are exceptional. This is links golf to match the very best anywhere.”
10 minutes from town, the Whakatāne Golf Club championship level course offers another spectacularly scenic game. With fast running greens and lush forgiving fairways, the course provides players of all levels a challenging and rewarding 18 holes.
If you’re after a road trip as well as some great golf, the Ōpōtiki Golf Club course is worth the trip. This picturesque 18-hole course is situated on gently rolling hillside overlooking the coastline and Opotiki township, offering pressure-free golf with tree-lined, undulating fairways.
For a more laid-back round, the Te Teko, Kawerau and Murupara courses allow for a relaxing game for anyone who pops in.
For more detailed information about the courses and to book a round, visit whakatane.com/golf.
The Whakatāne district is renowned for its superb walking, tramping and biking trails, both coastal with incredible ocean vistas, and awe- inspiring tracks through ancient native forests.
Nga Tapuwae o Toi (Footprints of Toi) walkway, connecting Whakatāne township and Ōhope Beach, offers a diverse natural landscape and spectacular scenery to rival any of New Zealand’s great walks. The 16 kilometre loop is achievable as a half-day walk, or enjoy in sections suitable for the whole family. The trail includes pa sites of major historic significance, diverse native forest, spectacular pohutukawa stands, unsurpassed coastal views, seabird colonies and native birds in abundance - including over 300 wild kiwi.
The trail passes through Ōtarawairere Bay - the hidden jewel of the Whakatāne-Ōhope area. Pohutukawa trees loom over a sandy beach of crushed seashells, and the warm waters of the Pacific lap quietly against the shore.
KG Kayaks offer guided tours following the coastal section of Ngā Tapuwae o Toi. Departing from the Whakatāne Heads or West End at Ōhope Beach, take in the spectacular scenery and stop for morning tea in one of the secluded bays.
If you choose to walk the trail by foot, Whakatane and Ōhope’s best cafes are just a short stroll from two of the trail’s entry points. A return bus service between Whakatāne and Ohope is available for those wishing to walk one-way.
Whakatane has some brilliant bike trails, with something for every skill level, ranging from an easy family cruise to adventurous mountain biking.
Take the family to Onepu Mountain Bike Park, Burma Road, Ōhope Harbourside Trail or the Mōtū Dunes Trail in Ōpōtiki for relaxing rides. Or meander on the Whakatāne River Warren Cole cycleway, a flat, paved ride that skirts the town.
A 1.5-hour drive (about 90 kilometres) from Whakatāne leads you to the untouched natural wonderland Whirinaki te Puaa-Tāne Conservation Park - an outdoor playground for all. Offering experiences for the ultimate adventurer or a day of exploring with the family. The Whirinaki Te Pua-aTāne mountain bike trail is perfect for beginner and intermediate mountain bikers, with a 16 kilometre (2-4 hour) loop. For the more experienced, the Moerangi trail is considered a ‘must do’ among biking enthusiasts, climbing 1000 metres and offering sensational rewards.
Take a stroll on one of the many short walk trails or choose to extend your journey on one of the multi-day trails, accommodated by a number of huts and camping sites.
Standing amongst the great forests of the world, Whirinaki te Pua-a-Tāne is a site of significant unspoiled nature, with 155km of walking, tramping and mountain bike tracks, 51 endangered species and 1000-year-old trees. Immerse yourself amongst ancient kahikatea, totara, matai, rimu, miro and tawa trees or spot the endangered Whio (Blue Duck), one of the many rare birds who call Whirinaki home.
Fly-fishing enthusiasts are also rewarded with some of the clearest fast-flowing rivers in New Zealand.
Whakatāne is rated as one of New Zealand's best all-round fishing destinations. From December through late April, catch yellow fin, skipjack, albacore tuna, shark and marlin. Year-round fish include snapper, kingfish and many more. Bring your own to boat, or take one of the many day charters on offer.
And, just 50 km offshore from Whakatāne, no visit to the Bay of Plenty is complete without a trip to White Island. Known to Māori as Whakaari, White Island is arguably the world’s most accessible active marine volcano. If time allows, pay a visit to Moutohorā (Whale) Island wildlife sanctuary, where you’ll be surrounded by saddleback, kākāriki (NZ parakeet), little brown kiwi, tuatara and fur seals.
Eastern bay of plenty locals will tell you they have the ultimate lifestyle. With an envious climate, supreme natural environment and a myriad of activities on offer, we think they might be quite right.
↑ Set between Ohiwa Harbour and Ōhope Beach, with views out to White Island on the northern side and the harbour wetlands to the south, the Ōhope International Golf Club is rated one of the top links courses in New Zealand.
↓ Whakatane has some brilliant bike trails, with something for every skill level, ranging from an easy family cruise to adventurous mountain biking.
↙ Nga Tapuwae o Toi (Footprints of Toi) walkway, connecting Whakatāne township and Ōhope Beach,
↑ From December through late April, catch yellow fin, skipjack, albacore tuna, shark and marlin.