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 > Waikato > Coromandel Peninsula > Whitianga


Whitianga is the main town on Mercury Bay, on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. This former timber port is a popular holiday town for Kiwis, and gets quite busy during the summer months. The development along its harbour front is becoming conspicuous. Whitianga has a nice selection of restaurants and bars, and good local seafood.

There are a number of good beaches around town. Whitianga’s main one, Buffalo Beach (named for the 1840 wreck of the HMS Buffalo) has excellent swimming and fishing, and is home to frolicking dolphins. All sorts of recreational activities are available in the area: kayaking, diving, windsurfing, horse trekking. Whitianga’s deep harbour makes it a popular big game fishing spot; charters and fishing trips are available.

Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach are the main attractions around Whitianga. Hahei is closer, but there are several boat trips to Cathedral Cove that depart from Whitianga.

Practical information

Whitianga i-SITE Visitor Centre

66 Albert Street, Whitianga
Tel (07) 866 5555
Open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun 9am-4pm

Coming & going

InterCity Coachlines (tel (09) 623 1503) and Nakedbus.com stop outside the information centre (66 Albert Street, Whitianga) in the town centre. Naked Bus also have a stop outside On the Beach Backpackers Lodge (YHA Whitianga) (46 Buffalo Beach Road, Whitianga). InterCity and Naked Bus go to Auckland and Go Kiwi Shuttles (tel 0800 446 549) have services to Auckland and Tauranga/Mount Maunganui.

Hostel accommodation

Baywatch Backpackers

22 The Esplanade, Whitianga
Tel (07) 866 5481

No booking fee when you book this hostel online at bug.co.uk

The Cats Pyjamas Backpackers Lodge

12 Albert Street, Whitianga
Tel (07) 866 2933

On the Beach Backpackers Lodge (YHA Whitianga)

46 Buffalo Beach Road, Whitianga
Tel (07) 866 5380

Turtle Cove Accommodation

14 Bryce Street, Whitianga
Tel (07) 867 1517

Black Jack Lodge

201 State Highway 25, Kuaotunu (near Whitianga)

Tel (07) 866 2988

Eating & drinking

Whitianga has a reasonable selection of cafés, restaurants and bars, although most cater to an older, more upscale crowd. You can find the majority of places to eat and drink on Albert Street. Snapper Jacks (26 Albert Street, Whitianga) is a bar/restaurant with fast food such as fish and chips; there’s a small Four Square market (Albert Street, Whitianga) here as well. The nearby Esplanade has several larger bars and restaurants.

Several small cafés are spread around the Whitianga area; a few are in Hahei, and some are right across the wharf in Flaxmill Bay.

Sights & activities

Boat trips to Cathedral Cove

Although Hahei is closer to the Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve, there are several boat trips that depart from Whitianga. Cave Cruzer (tel (07) 866 2574) operates cruises departing Whitianga Wharf; cruises cost $50-100.

High Zone

This high ropes course has a selection of activities such as trapeze and high wire exercises 12m above the ground.

49 Kaimarama Road, Whitianga
Tel (07) 866 2113
Website www.highzone.co.nz
Price $15-60 depending on activity

Mercury Bay Museum

This small museum has displays on local history, including exhibits on shipwrecks and Maori history.

11 The Esplanade, Whitianga
Tel (07) 866 0730
Website www.mercurybaymuseum.co.nz
Admission $5
Open 10am-4pm daily

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