Gateway to the Eastern Bay of Plenty, amazing marine life, beach culture and native forests.
With a cultural heritage second to none, Whakatāne shares busy downtown shopping with sacred sites, legends and ready smiles. Whakatāne is also known as the Kiwi Capital of New Zealand with kiwi literally living in the native forest backyards of the town.
Air Chathams flights are the fastest direct route to Whakatāne from Auckland and return.
Getting there is easy with 3 flights a day Monday to Friday and 2 flights a day during the weekend.
Air Chathams flights are fast, taking only 45 minutes and convenient, direct to the Whakatāne Airport.
Go visit and relax amongst the cafes, browse the fashion retailers, bookstores and marine recreation outlets.
Take your time and embrace the gentle relaxation of the sea and native forest clad hills and valleys. There are several multipurpose walking and cycling trails to suit all levels of fitness and ages.
The abundance of birdlife is significant in the district and Moutohora Whale Island is a big part of kiwi breeding success.
Moutohora Whale Island is a small island only 9km offshore from Whakatāne and is home to the world’s largest muttonbird colony.
A predator free haven and wildlife refuge, tours are available with a “look but don’t touch” emphasis and designed as a learning experience.
Moutohora Whale Island has thousands of gecko and skink inhabitants and some tuatara. Kākāriki (red crowned parakeet), tīeke (saddleback), bellbirds, tui and grey warblers all add to the birdsong.
There’s even a seal colony and Sulphur Bay is the island’s own hot water beach!
Summer wakes up with touring bands and musicians.
So, get on board an Air Chathams flight to Whakatāne for the weekend!
You can leave at 6:35pm from Auckland on a Friday evening and be there by 7:20pm. Returning to Auckland is just as easy, either on a Sunday afternoon with a 4:45pm departure from Whakatāne for a 5:30pm arrival in Auckland.
Or to squeeze in that extra fabulous day, fly from Whakatāne to Auckland with Air Chathams at 6:45am Monday morning and be at Auckland by 7:30am.
Crystal clear waters refresh and surprise with big game fishing tours and dolphins delight. Swimming, surfing, kayaking, snorkelling and diving are just a few of the ways to enjoy the beautiful golden sand beaches and surrounds.
Art exhibitions, fresh fruit and markets, amazing weather and a casual beach culture create a place just ready to greet and delight visitors every day.
Whakatāne is the Bay of Plenty’s third largest urban area behind Tauranga and Rotorua – if you’re looking for a place a little less busy but with all the sunshine, beaches, native forest and café culture of New Zealand’s East Coast, you’ll find it here.
The town site has long been populated.Māori pā (Māori fortified village) sites in the area date back to the first Polynesian settlements, estimated to have been around 1200 CE.
There is a rich culture, easily accessible and authentic through events, festivals, Mataatua Wharenui, walkways, the Whakatāne Library and Exhibition Centre and the Whakatāne Museum and Research Centre.
Matatatua Wharenui is New Zealand’s most travelled Māori meeting house, restored to its original majesty after 130 years abroad.
Ancestral carvings and the legends of Ngati Awa are brought to life through interactive, personalised tours and a world-class digital light show detailing the incredible story of this taonga (treasure).
Ōhope Beach and beyond
It’s not just Whakatāne Air Chathams will bring you to – this is the gateway to Ōhope Beach and beyond, one of our country’s unspoilt places blessed with abundant sunshine, warm waters and safe swimming.
The white sand of Ōhope Beach stretches for easy walking anywhere along the 11 km to Okiwa Harbour, voted New Zealand's most loved beach, year after year.
The perfection of Otarawairere Bay tucked around the corner and only accessible only by foot or by kayak, it’s worth the effort and definitely one for the photo album.
The Ohiwa Harbour coves, international golf course and sheltered inland water is a haven for bird life and graced by migrating godwits who return every season to nest.
It's so easy to kayak or spend a day under sail. A little further along the coast and you’re on your way to Ōpotiki, cruising the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
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Mataatua - the house that came home
Mataatua Wharenui: a fully carved Māori ancestral house that travelled the world for over a century, before returning home to its people – the Ngāti Awa Māori tribe of the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Experience the powerful story yourself.
Kayak Moutohora Island
A magical Wildlife Management Reserve protected by DOC and one of New Zealand’s little-known treasures. Home to a number of NZ's rare and endangered plants, birds, and reptiles. Grab a tour to visit, kayak and snorkel.
New Zealand's Most Loved Beach
Eleven kilometres of golden sand just stretching out in front of you. Ōhope Beach is an idyllic, iconic piece of postcard-perfect Kiwiana. Think blooming pōhutukawa, fish and chips, jandals and frisbees. Easy walking and gently rolling waves.
Ohope International Golf Club
Uniquely situated on a narrow finger of land between the ocean and the harbour, exceptional views and a fabulous links course. A very real community effort of fundraising and working bees that is now of very high standards to match to best anywhere.
Kiwi Capital of New Zealand
Whakatane is the ‘kiwi capital of the world’. Many of these rare, flightless birds live in the bush and reserves that surround the town. Listen carefully for kiwi calls and other bird song, when you're staying in town.
Did you know?
Whakatane is officially the sunniest place in New Zealand, recording 2710 sunshine hours in 2014. The town also won the title in 2013.