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Life by the Sea


Book a trip out to White Island
Book a trip out to White Island with transfers from Rotorua
Book a trip out to White Island with transfers from Tauranga
Book a trip out to Moutohora Island Sanctuary
Find out all the latest Sightseeing, Tours, Attractions and Events in Rotorua

Hotels and Accommodation in Rotorua

Geyser in RotoruaBy Mark Hofert

If you are into your fishing and the sunshine, then a trip to Whakatane is well worth a try.

Whakatane (said Fa-ka-ta-nee) is about a one hour and 20-minute drive east of Rotorua at the Eastern end of the beautiful Bay of Plenty.

You can get there by air, but it's best to drive in from Rotorua through the scenic Rotorua Lakes.

On the way, you can stop in at Hells Gate for a look at one of the first Thermal Parks in New Zealand and there are heaps of great picnic spots on the lakes fronts to help you adjust to the relaxed BoP lifestyle.

Whakatane, is a town of about 18,000 people located at the mouth of the Whakatane River and enjoys one of the most even climates anywhere in New Zealand.

This makes it a perfect place to enjoy all year round as the winters are mild, sunny and make for a very flat ocean. The summers are never too hot to stop you enjoying the outdoors.

It's a spot that offers much to the outdoor enthusiast so come prepared to get outside and enjoy the place.

Your first port of call should be to the Tourist Information Centre in town and start collecting brochures.

Then book yourself into a suitable motel in town, or over in Ohope, drop your bags off then get comfortable with your reading on the beach. Make sure you have a cellphone as you will need to book tomorrow's activities in advance, before you go out to dinner.

There are some nice dining places in town and if you're about for a few days it's worth asking your motelier what's good.

For those on a short timeline who don't mind giving the credit card a bit of a serve, the best thing to do first is to the Vulcan Helicopters ride out to White Island.

White Island is a very active volcano and if you go by chopper, you can enjoy some spectacular views along the coast, fly all around the volcano, and you can get out and go for a walk on the island. It's a surreal lunar landscape and a truly amazing place to see.

Of course if you have a little more time on your hands, taking Pee Jay's boat out to the island is even better.

If that's not interactive enough for you, how about going out for a swim with the dolphins?

Dolphin's Down Under run an excellent half-day activity where you can see and swim with large numbers of dolphins.

This is great for the sightseer or those wanting to get their feet wet, and you can even be lucky enough to see the many types of whale that migrate through these temporate waters.

Serious water sporters are also catered for here. Dive White runs scuba diving tours out on White island and on the nearby rocks and islands and allow the opportunity for sightseeing and for hunting of crayfish, abundant in the close in waters of the East Coast.

If it's fishing that's your thing, then Whakatane is the place to be.

There is a wonderful fleet of fishing boats available for charter all year round and for sheer variety I reckon the Charmaine is well worth a try.

Will Smith will take you out on half day, full day or overnight trips and he'll supply all the gear and bait that you need. Will makes sure that if there are fish biting in The Bay that you will be getting them.

In close you will pick up snapper, kahawai, terakihi and sometimes Gurnard.

In deeper waters it's a different story with yellowfin tuna, albacore, kingfish, marlin, shark and the prized hapuka all making special appearances.

If the sea's fish are attractive to you but you are firmly a land lover, then there is brilliant beach fishing to be had along the sandy beaches to the West of Whakatane.

From Thornton out to Matata and along the straights you can do well with a surf caster or long line. (See section on Long Lining or on Beach lifestyles).

Remember that the coast doesn't stop at Whakatane, it's simply where it begins.

To the west are the beach areas of Papamoa, Mount Maunganui and Tauranga and to the east is the magnificent and remote East Cape of New Zealand.


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