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Wonderful Whakatāne

Just over one hours' drive away from Tauranga is the town of Whakatāne, a place rich in art and culture. Marvel at Mataatua, the incredible 'House That Came Home', check out the art galleries and cafés and enjoy the vibes in this special coastal town.

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Highlights

Mataatua: The House That Came Home, Whakatāne Library and Exhibition Centre, and wandering Kiwi!

Mataatua Wharenui web

Māori cultural experiences

Mataatua: The House That Came Home is the extraordinary story of a house that travelled the world during the 19th century. It eventually came home to the people of Ngāti Awa in 2011. The award-winning visitor experience is a must-do while you’re in Whakatāne – you won’t forget the intricately carved representations of the great chiefs of Ngāti Awa and the experience of seeing the legends of Ngāti Awa brought to life in Hiko: Legends Carved in Light.

Take a guided tour with Rangitaiki Tours, a local Māori family who love to share the natural beauty and rich heritage of their land and people. You'll be taken to significant cultural and natural landmarks with these passionate local guides who will help you make a true connection to Whakatāne.

Highlights

Authentic Māori cultural experiences and stories unique to Whakatāne.

Māori cultural experiences
Kiwi web

Kiwi Capital of the World™

Whakatāne earns the title of Kiwi Capital of the World™ as no other large town has New Zealand's elusive national bird living in such close proximity. The Whakatāne Kiwi Trust has worked tirelessly to create a safe predator-free environment for Kiwi to thrive and calls of the bird can sometimes be heard from the centre of town. Locals who live adjacent to the reserves may even have kiwi forage in their garden!

As you walk through the town, you may notice some very special bronze statues of our iconic bird. It’s the Kiwi Wandering Trail – a self-guided scavenger hunt through the heart of Whakatāne. Find the ten life-like, life‑size bronze kiwi statues, brought to life by artist Dr Liz Grant.

Highlights

Listen out for kiwi in the Kiwi Capital of the World™ and spot the bronze statues on the Kiwi Wandering Trail.

Kiwi Capital of the World™
Nga Tapuwae o Toi Whakatane web

Ngā Tapuwae o Toi (The Footsteps of Toi)

Follow in the footsteps of the mighty Chief, Toi, on this spectacular walk. This track spans three major reserves – Kōhī Point Scenic Reserve, Ōhope Scenic Reserve and Mokorua Scenic Reserve – which can be undertaken in sections or as a 16-kilometre round trip.

The track contains pā sites of major historic significance, superb native forest and spectacular coastal views. It is a treat for bird watchers with both seabird colonies and forest bird song to delight you.

This trail is a Kiwi friendly zone and no dogs are allowed on the track.

Ngā Tapuwae o Toi (The Footsteps of Toi)
Whakatane Town Sunset web

Contemporary arts and culture

The Whakatāne Library and Exhibition Centre is the hub of contemporary arts and culture in Whakatāne. There are three gallery spaces that feature vibrant and ever-changing exhibitions. Entry is by koha (donation).

When you're ready for something to eat, try L'Epicerie on Commerce Street for incredible coffee and one of their famous almond croissants. Carry on around town and enjoy the boutique shopping.

 

Highlights

 The Whakatāne Library and Exhibition Centre, boutique shopping and cafés. 

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