BUG New Zealand travel guidebook
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BUG New Zealand travel guidebook


BUG New Zealand travel guidebook

Destination guides > Pacific Islands > New Zealand > Bay of Plenty > Whakatane


Whakatane is a buzzing little town of 18,000 on the eastern side of the Bay of Plenty. It’s a sunny place with a busy stretch of shops, bars and restaurants in the town centre. But its main draw for travellers is its proximity to White Island, New Zealand’s only live marine volcano, 50km away. Tours depart from Whakatane by helicopter or launch and sometimes include dolphin or whale encounters.

Other popular activities include swimming with dolphins and jet boating on the Matahina Dam and the Rangitaiki River. Whakatane is also one of the best all-around fishing destinations in New Zealand and is considered NZ’s yellowfin capital.

Practical information

Whakatane Visitor Information Centre

Corner Kakahoroa Drive & Quay Street, Whakatane
Tel (07) 308 6058 or 0800 942 528
Website www.whakatane.com
Open Mon-Fri 8.30am-5pm, Sat 9am-4pm, Sun 10am-4pm

Coming & going

InterCity Coachlines (tel (09) 623 1503) have buses to Rotorua, Opotiki and Gisborne and Nakedbus.com have buses to Auckland, Gisborne, Opotiki, Rotorua and Tauranga. Bayline Coaches (tel 0800 422 9287 (0800 BAYBUS)) run regional bus services within the Bay of Plenty with services from Whakatane to Ohope Beach, Opotiki and Tauranga.

InterCity and Nakedbus.com stop outside the visitor information centre (corner Kakahoroa Drive & Quay Street, Whakatane); Naked Bus also stops on Boon Street.

Hostel accommodation

Karibu Backpackers

13 Landing Road, Whakatane
Tel (07) 307 8276

Lloyds Lodge

10 Domain Road, Whakatane
Tel (07) 307 8005

Whakatane Hotel

79 The Strand, Whakatane
Tel (07) 307 1670

The Windsor

10 Merritt Street, Whakatane
Tel (07) 308 8040

Eating & drinking

In Whakatane, pretty much all the nightlife and dining centres around The Strand. A few of the biggest and most popular night spots are right across the road from the information centre underneath the Whakatane Hotel (79 The Strand, Whakatane); these include The Craic pub and The Boiler Room bar.

Try NZ’s Finest Fish and Chips right at the wharf on The Strand. Cafés, takeaways, bars, and an ice cream parlour can be found further along down The Strand.

Some fast food outlets are clustered around Domain Road and Commerce Street. Whakatane has a Countdown (corner King & Stewart Streets, Whakatane) and a large New World supermarket (51 Kakahoroa Drive, Whakatane).

Sights & activities

Swimming with dolphins

Thousands of dolpins visit the water off Whakatane during the warmer months (Nov-Apr) and several Whakatane-based companies operate dolphin and whale watching trips that allow you to swim with the dolphins.

Dolphins Down Under (tel (07) 308 2001 or 0800 354 7737) runs 3-4 hour trips where you can swim with dolphins­ for $150 ($110 if you just want to watch).

Whale Island Tours (tel (07) 308 5896) also run dolphin swim tours that cost $140 (or $110 if you just want to watch).

Whakatane District Museum

This small museum has exhibits about local history and environment including displays on Maori culture and early European settlement.

11 Boon Street, Whakatane
Tel (07) 306 0505
Website www.whakatanemuseum.org.nz
Admission by donation
Open Mon-Fri 10am-4.30pm, Sat-Sun 11am-3pm

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