This small town is the place to slow down and breathe in the beauty of nature, while wandering on beaches, gliding along rivers and exploring the forests. It has the lush countryside, plentiful beaches for you to marvel at and some rather interesting trails and tours that will give you the much-needed holiday experience you’ve been looking for. Here’s a list of things you absolutely cannot miss when visiting Opotiki, New Zealand. Make sure to plan your itinerary accordingly!
1. Day trip to White Island
Photo Credit: Kelsey WaghornPosted by White Island Tours - Volcano Adventure Tours, New Zealand on Thursday, 25 May 2017
Located 50 km (31 mi) offshore, White Island (or Whakaari) is New Zealand’s most active volcano and is among the most accessible active volcanoes in the world, allowing you to see some impressive geothermal activity on your visit. With most of the volcano sitting beneath the sea, no mountain climbing is required and one can get up and close with the roaring steam vents, bubbling pits of mud, hot volcanic streams and the amazing lake of steaming acid.
The island makes for a photographer’s dream owing to the vivid hues of red, yellow and orange as a result of the abundant sulphur. One can also see the remains of the sulphur factory which has survived multiple eruptions since being abandoned in the 1930s. Once you reach the outer walls of the island, you can see the Pohutukawa forests grow and the large Australasian Gannet colonies nearby. The journey home also provides opportunity of spotting dolphins, whales and other marine life. Visitors can opt to travel to the island either via a boat from the Whakatāne wharf or a chartered helicopter ride from the Whakatāne airport.
By Air: Frontier Helicopters
By Sea: White Island Tours
2. Explore nature and marine life up close while kayaking in Waioeka River
The Waioeka River in the Bay of Plenty twists down many-a bush-clad valley, offering the fun of paddling in a picturesque landscape while venturing onto the harbor waters to explore the native wildlife up close. The kayaks are easy to maneuver and yet very safe. The difficulty level is Grade 2. Fishing opportunities are also available from either the pier or the kayak in some cases. Every October, it also plays host to the BayTrust Motu Challenge, a multi sport race, where hundreds of competitors paddle a section of the river, competing against one another.
Kayaking in Waioeka River
Website : Kayaking in Waioeka River
Booking/Tour information: KG Kayaks
Booking/Tour information: Waihau Bay Kayaks
3. Try your hand at the Opotiki Golf Club
Guaranteeing a friendly welcome, this 18-hole 70-par layout course is a major attraction in Opotiki. Located on the gently rolling hillside with its gorgeous lush fairways, well manicured lawns and an excellent climate all year round, the course offers changing aspects with some wide, tree-lined fairways mixed with interestingly positioned tee-offs that make for fun risk-or-reward opportunities.
The golf course overlooks the Eastern Bay of Plenty coast line and offers an outstanding sea view, ensuring that the visitors enjoy the view as much as the game. The course is suitable for players of all levels. There are competitions and events at times as well.
Opotiki Golf Club
Address: 14 Fromow Rd, Opotiki 3122, New Zealand
Website: Opotiki Golf Club
4. Catch some fish at the Ohiwa Harbour
Ohiwa Harbour is a popular boat-launching and fishing spot with amazing landscapes surrounding it. You could either do surf-casting from the harbour or hire fishing charters. You can try your hand at catching snapper, terakihi, gernard or tuna; the area is home to an abundance of kingfish also in the summers. The place also plays host to a number of competitions throughout the year, in which visitors can participate. There are also some amazing places nearby to grab a bite after you’re done angling.
Fishing at the Ohiwa Harbour
Address: Ohiwa Harbour Rd, Waiotahi 3198, New Zealand
Contact : Opotiki Fishing Charters (Mike Ruru - +64 0272686190)
5. Camp under the beautiful night sky
There are a number of alternatives you could choose from to go camping under the night sky, including motor camps, freedom camping and patrolled camping options. Freedom camping is available at the Waiotahe/Te Ahiaua, the Hukuwai Beach and the Hoani Waititi Reserve in Opotiki. The only requirement is that visitors need to be fully self-contained and carry their own water. The district is also a zero-waste zone and hence, it is important that visitors carry their waste to the Opotiki Resource Recovery Centre. The Wiotahi Beach also offers patrolled camping spots.
6. Experience nature like never before by taking walking and biking trails
Visitors to Opotiki can explore a number of trails such as the ‘Opotiki Stopbank Trail’ which runs along the river and offers an amazing view of the water and the estuaries. It is also ideal for spotting wetland bird life. There is also the ‘Ohiwa Harbour Trail’ which runs around the harbours edges and the ‘Motu Cycle Trail’ along which you can cycle to experience both the beach side and wilderness. There are different trails you could opt for, keeping in mind the time of the excursion as well as the difficulty level of the terrain.
Biking and Walking Trails
Website: Biking and Walking Trails
7. Rejoice on a jet boat tour on the Motu River
The hour-long jet boat tour lets you breathe in the majestic scenery, right from the base of the river up into the mountains. The banks of the Motu River are covered in unique and rare flora that make for a rather interesting sight. The jet boat trail offers one access into the most remote and unaltered wilderness sceneries of the country, which are rarely viewed otherwise, along with the excitement of jet boating guaranteeing you an adrenaline rush like never before. Customized guided tours are also offered according to the visitor’s requirements.
Motu River Jet Boat Tours
Website: Motu River Jet Boat
8. Visit the Waiotahi Beach and bask in the beautiful sun
The beach has beautiful golden sand, perfect for a stroll or a dip and offers the most breathtaking sunset. There are many motor-homes on the beaches and freedom camping is also allowed at the site. Moreover, they have lots of wood to offer so one can build a campfire, shelter or anything. It is quite popular during the summer months and attracts swimmers, surfers and anglers in good numbers. The beach is patrolled by Surf Lifeguards over the summer months.
There are opportunities for fishing and boating also at the beach. Boating is recommended only around high tide with very small waves and calm conditions, as the beach changes a great deal between high and low tide.
Website: Waiotahi Beach
9. Revisit history at the Opotiki Museum
A small but well curated museum, with well-informed volunteer staff with a wealth of knowledge, and who are very interesting to talk to! The Opotiki Museum houses an extensive collection of implements and vehicles. There are also early pioneer photographs and an exhibition focused on the importance of shipping in early Opotiki, along with twelve heritage rooms tracing their history in all its glory. It also has a large second-hand shop attached as a fundraiser.
Address: 123 Church St, Opotiki, New Zealand
Website: Opotiki Museum
10. Visit the Hukutaia Domain
A remnant of the extensive forest that has now become a reserve, serving as a home to rare and endangered native plants. Hukutaia Domain houses an estimated 7,000 specimens of 1,500 different species. On your visit, you can also hear different bird calls. There is also a mystical burial tree, which estimated to be around 2,000 years old! This place is safe for children and offers an alternate three routes that can be taken.
Address: Woodlands Road, Opotiki, New Zealand
Website: Hukutaia Domain
Have the time of your life
The never ending valleys, lush countryside and golden-sand beaches of Opotiki beckon you to come and be a part of this lovely town for a while, soak in the beauty of it and leave gratified at having spent your time here.
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