Waihi Beach & Coastline
About Waihi Beach & Coastline
Waihi Beach and Coastline is another of the coastal Virtually on Track gems, this one being defined by nine kilometres of sweeping white sand stretched between a pair of picturesque play areas. On its inland side, this gem takes in coastal forest to the north around Orokawa Bay then arcs southward to enclose Black Hill near Waihi township and the Athenree wetland before reaching Bowentown on the edge of Tauranga Harbour. With the mix of dead flat beach and undulating coastal tracks and trails, this Gem caters strongly for walking, and trail running and features mountain biking tracks as well at Black Hills. When in a gentle mood, the Pacific Ocean beckons water craft from kayaks to stand-up paddleboards which can take to the harbour when the surf is up. Restoration work along the coastal dunes, and at Athenree wetland, shows that those who care to can make a positive contribution to keeping nature as a feature of this largely settled area.
Orokawa Bay Waihi Beach: Pohutakawa, snarlers and summer. Read about Cindy’s experience exploring this gem – Bay of Plenty Times
Waihi Beach boasts 9km of beautiful ocean beach, with white sand and generally safe surf, that draws people back each summer. As is always the case with the ocean, this can be a wild place where the sea tears at the land – something that has prompted considerable dunes planting efforts in recent years – but just as often the sea is flat and calm and ideal for swimming and paddle craft. Runners and walkers have room to be alone with only the birds for company, while those who prefer travelling in a group will have space enough not to intrude on others’ tranquility. Inland of the dunes, Waihi Beach visitors can find car parking, toilets, shops and other amenities and essentials including coffee.
Orokawa Bay is a treat for those of a mind to tackle the trail that links it to Waihi Beach. Spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and Waihi Beach give way to views of the bay itself - a scenic jewel with beautiful pohutukawa trees leaning over a beach of sparkling white sand. Orokawa Bay and its 145 hectare scenic reserve offers great bush walking through coastal forest which includes kauri. Walkers should allow 45 minutes to get there and can then continue on for another two-three hours to Homunga Bay and then to Ngatitangata Rd on the outskirts of Waihi. Hidden inland from Orokawa Bay and a difficult walk, is the William Wright Falls, which spill over a 28-metre sheer rock face. Due to multiple stream crossings this walk should not be attempted in heavy rain.
Bowentown is home to Anzac Bay a sheltered cove just inside the harbour entrance at the south end of Waihi Beach, and the most popular reserve in the Western Bay of Plenty. It has a boat ramp, changing rooms and toilets, plus shady pohutukawa and barbecues. With easy launching, it is attractive to kayakers and other paddlers but watch the outgoing tide which can rip through the harbour entrance. There can also be whirlpools in the area out from Anzac Bay and a rip between Shelley and Anzac Bays. There are magnificent views from the former pa sites on Bowentown Heads (you can walk or drive up) and you can also take the steep track down to Cave Bay to find shelter from the westerly wind. A short distance from the heads as the crow flies are the Athenree wetlands. The 22 hectare area was gifted to the Department of Conservation in 2006 and is returning to its natural state with a little help from the community.
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