Hidden Gems of Wairoa District

Wairoa as a district is wholly under-discovered. A hidden gem in itself, Wairoa District is blessed with white sand beaches, rugged rural outlooks, and charming towns and villages, all waiting to be discovered.

For those determined to unearth the secrets of the district, here are seven hidden gems.

To get expert advice on exploring Wairoa District, connect with the Wairoa i-SITE Information Centre.

Waikare Campsite

A basic campground, but one of true beauty. This grassy campsite is nestled in a bend of the Waikare River and just a 10-minute walk to the beach for swimming, fishing and boating. Surrounded by incredible coastal countryside, this free campground is the perfect spot for those looking to escape from the busyness of day-to-day life. Situated at the end of a 13km stretch of gravel road, east from Putorino, travel down a narrow gravel road, that’s not suitable for large motorhomes or caravans, to the campsite.

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Waihua Station Farm Shop

Nestled on the rugged coastline of Northern Hawke’s Bay, Waihua Station is first and foremost a working sheep and beef farm. However, on Sundays between 11am and 2pm, it transforms into a gorgeous coffee shop, selling delicious baked goods and incredible produce. The Farm Shop is a true rural, foodie experience with farm produce, seasonal fruit and eggs for sale, and a beautiful country outlook for visitors to enjoy. Rose Haynes, who is the fifth generation of her family to run Waihua Station, wants the Farm Shop to be an experience. “We want to create a relaxing way to fill that Sunday lunchtime slot so people can enjoy our rustic ambience and spectacular scenery over a coffee and a bite to eat.”

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Mountain biking

Two years in the making, Wairoa Mountain Bike Park is located on 26 hectares on the southern edge of Wairoa township. The 7km of track, loosely based on Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Red Woods Mountain Bike Park, boasts a mix of grade two, three and four trails. From the top of the park, riders have great, elevated views over the district.

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Rock and Pools

Drive along Māhia East Coast Road where you will find a rocky coastline, perfect for exploring and swimming. From small, deep rockpools perfect for swimming, to spectacular rock formations, that create the pristine fishing conditions for snapper, kahawai and kingfish, this stretch of the coast is a fantastic playground for water lovers. This is also a fantastic spot for divers.

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Mangaone Caves

First-time cavers, including children, can explore Mangaone Caves and enjoy karst-type features, stalactites, stalagmites, and calcite wall coverings. The track to the limestone cave follows a poled route over private farmland. Once past the first steep section, there are magnificent views of the coast – on clear days you can see as far as Māhia. At the caves, steps lead into the main cavern, which is around 40 metres long and nine metres high. Two passages, approximately three metres above the floor of the main cavern, can be accessed by ladders. A torch or headlamp is essential for exploring the caves. A hard hat or cycle helmet are handy to bring, as are proper tramping shoes as the first part of the track is quite steep. Enjoy the beautiful views over farmland and take a moment to enjoy the tranquility.

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Mōrere Lodge

A wonderful place to spend time together, relax, explore, adventure, or celebrate an occasion. You will find Mōrere Lodge across the road from the Mōrere Hot Springs, the southern hemisphere's only salt water hot pools. Accommodation options include self-contained cabins, two-bedroom cottage and a five-bedroom historic East Coast farmhouse lodge. Mōrere is also near to beautiful beaches and surrounded by forests, rolling hills and pastures. In the evening, ensure you take a walk through the glow worm caves!

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Hell’s hole

A great spot to cool down on a hot day. Jump into the deep water (Hell’s Hole), swim in the pool where water collects or go exploring along the stream and find swimming holes and fossils in the rock formations. From Wairoa, head towards Lake Waikaremoana on SH38. Turn right just before Frasertown onto Mangapoike Road and follow it for about 17kms. When you get to Hereheretau Road, continue straight on Mangapoike Road. After 300m, park your car on the left-hand side, across from the driveway leading to the house on the hill. Walk through the gate on the left-hand side of the road, where a sign indicates ‘angler’s access’. Follow the little path down to the river.

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