Whakatane & Ohiwa Harbour

Kayaking/ Canoeing

Whakatane River

The Whakatane River (known to Ngai Tuhoe as Ohinemataroa) is a great place for multisport training.  You can paddle up or down the river from any of four launching points between Whakatane Rowing Club beside the Landing Road bridge to the Wharf at the Whakatane Heads. The other two launch points are the Whakatane Yacht Club opposite the Warehouse or the ramp at the end of Eivers Rd. The river is tidal up as far as the Whakatane waterworks. Waka Ama and rowers also use this popular river training area.

Pekatahi Bridge to Whakatane

For a one way trip, start at Pekatahi Bridge, 15km south of Whakatane, towards Taneatua on SH2.  The first half of the 17km back to the rowing club has reasonable flow but no rapids.  The second half is tidal. Through out the trip you will mostly be passing through farmland.  Experienced paddlers can anticipate taking 75 minutes, families should allow up to 3-4 hours.

Whakatane to Ohope

Launch from any of the Whakatane River sites and head out of the river mouth to follow the coastline around Kohi Point, past Otarawairere Bay and round to West End and Ohope. Otarawairere Bay is a stunning spot for a rest or a picnic. This trip is best done early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the conditions should be at their calmest.  If it is windy, or there is a break on the Whakatane River bar leave the trip for another day. As you are in the open sea make sure you have a suitable kayak and suitable skills to complete the trip. 

West End, Ohope - Otarawairere

For a short kayak that is filled with stunning scenery head to Otarawairere from Ohope.  It only takes around 15 minutes to get to Otarawairere, once there you can explore the craggy rocky outcrops.  If you go at low tide you can paddle the channels around the rocky outcrops, if you are lucky you might also see stingrays, seals and other sea life. Be careful returning to Ohope as there may be waves to contend with.  This trip is best done early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the conditions should be at their calmest.  If it is windy leave the trip for another day.  As you are in the open sea make sure you have a suitable kayak and suitable skills to complete the trip.

Ohiwa Harbour

Ohiwa Harbour offers fantastic paddling, especially for beginners and families. It is also a great training ground for people into adventure racing or multisport. Going at high tide is your best choice as the whole harbour is available to explore.  Around low tide, there is less choice but the channels are easier to follow and you will spot plenty of bird life.  Five small islands can be found in the harbour.  Four of the islands are privately owned or managed so please don’t land on them.  Uretara is managed by DOC and is open to the public but please don’t light fires or camp there.  The islands are important breeding grounds for many rare and endangered birds so if you see any nesting areas please stay clear of them. There are numerous places to access the harbour with Ohope and Ohiwa boat ramps being among the best. Be alert to strong tides run through Ohiwa Harbour entrance, wind which can make paddling difficult and other water users, including water-skiers using the lane east of Ohope Wharf.

If you don’t have your own kayak then you can hire one from the Ohiwa Beach Holiday Park (website link -  www.ohiwaholidays.co.nz) or KG Kayaks (www.kgkayaks.co.nz).