Whakatane sits in the Eastern Bay of Plenty of New Zealand; in a spectacular spot right beside the Pacific Ocean. Its warm waters are world-famous for incredible deep sea fishing and a wide range of marine sports.
Relax on the creamy golden sands at Ohope beach, explore New Zealand’s only live sea volcano – White Island. Go whale watching, take a plunge with the dolphins, walk or run through some native bush, watch rare sea birds in flight at the Ohiwa harbour, go on a mountain-bike tour. For the adventurous at heart it’s the ideal playground to run amok in.
Where to stay: 37 Landing Motel
For the perfect place to crash, after a day of thrills and spills, try 37 Landing Motel, just a short drive away from Whakatane town centre. This boutique motel is run by Jason and Rhonda Good, a couple who through their years in the industry have honed their hospitality skills to a tee. Finalists at the 2011 AA Supreme Host of the Year Award, Jason and Rhonda provide all guests with a heart warming home away from home, with complimentary hot drinks, biscuits and a newspaper.
All rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated with all that’s required and more – from the king size beds, to the large modern bathrooms and the 42” LCD TV with 52 channels of Sky TV. An added novelty to most of the rooms is the large spa bath with multiple jets – the perfect place to slide into and spend a night of peace – just don’t forget the bubbles.
For a stress-free in-house dinner there are two options; the bbq outside for a typical kiwi grill, or inside a more homey kitchen to fix that craving.
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What to do: Fishing
For those who enjoy the thrill of catching their own kai, there are numerous large charter operators based in Whakatane who will take you out to win a catch. From in-shore fishing, Snapper and Gunnard, to off-shore fishing, there is game aplenty.
Whakaari, as it is known in Maori, is one of New Zealand’s many jewels. The only active marine volcano in the nation; it can be seen puffing away on the horizon. Guided tours are available via boat or helicopter. A quick walk on the island is quite safe for those who want to get a close look at the corroded ruins of past mining efforts and watch how nature has reclaimed her hold on the island.
The area is rife with the natural beauty of New Zealand wildlife; dolphins, seals and whale encounters are just one of the many must-dos in Whakatane. On offer are a wide range of tour operators at a reasonable price – just ask at your hotel.