Wairoa is the main town of Northern Hawkes Bay and is the gateway to Lake Waikaremoana, Mahia Peninsula and the wilderness of Te Urewera. Wairoa in Maori means ‘Long Water’ and is located on the banks of the expansive Wairoa River, which provides an excellent and sheltered venue for water-skiing, jet boating and rowing.
Wairoa is the largest town in Northern Hawke’s Bay and a handy place to stop off or prepare for adventures in Te Urewera . It’s the gateway north to sublime fishing or surfing and diving spots, and also popular for a range of water sports, including water skiing, jet boating and rowing.
Experience some of Wairoa’s rich heritage by walking the five-kilometre river walkway. Sites of historical significance share the stories of Maori and European settlement. The walk starts at the historic Portland Island Lighthouse – in service between 1878 and the mid-1950s, before it was moved to town in 1961 – and finishes at Pilot Hill.
Forty minutes north of Wairoa on SH2 is Morere Hot Springs, a collection of mineral hot pools, set within the last remaining tracts of native rainforest on the East Coast. Book a spot in the local, family-oriented accommodation to enjoy the setting, or take one of the bush walks into the reserve.
Just a few kilometres south of Morere is Māhia Peninsula, a bustling summer refuge and a magnet for fishermen, divers, and surfers. It’s one of New Zealand’s most reliable surfing destinations so there’s always a wave on somewhere. Fishermen love it because they can launch boats on either side of the peninsula, providing access to outstanding fishing and diving in almost any weather.
The Wairoa i-SITE Visitor Centre is located on the corner of SH2 and Queen Street.
At 2127 square kilometres, Te Urewera is the North Island’s largest national park and home to Lake Waikaremoana, popular with walkers, kayakers, hunters, campers, and fly fishing enthusiasts. One of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks, the 46km Lake Waikaremoana Track is a 3-4 day tramp along the western side that takes in ancient bush, remote beaches, abundant native birdlife, and magnificent vistas.
To book, visit: www.doc.govt.nz
Māhia Peninsula is a long time summer holiday retreat and a magnet for fisherman, divers and surfers. The peninsula has pristine sandy beaches and a 3.5 kilometre walking track through one of the last remaining lowland coastal forests on the East Coast. It’s a great spot to rent a holiday home or camp at the local holiday park.
Bucket List: Northern Hawke’s Bay
• Walk Lake Waikaremoana, one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks
• Take a dip at Morere Hot Springs
• Walk the Wairoa River Walkway
• Surf at Māhia Peninsula
• Take in a movie at the state-of-the-art Gaiety Theatre in Wairoa and mark the Maori Film Festival in your diary for June