The What and Where of Waihi beach

August 11


If it’s a classic kiwi summer holiday you’re after, Waihi beach is the place to head for. This coastal town is home to long stretches of white sandy beach, best enjoyed with ice cream in hand, sunblock in the other, and your nearest and dearest around. Waihi Beach is a charming seaside village, from the quirky boutique stores to the fish and chip shop, and it’s located right next to nine kilometres of beautiful beach. It’s paradise, so gather your families and friends.

So where is Waihi beach?

Waihi is at the northern tip of the Coastal Bay of Plenty. It’s about an an hour from Tauranga, which, as a major city, has all the shopping centres and supermarkets you might need. Not at Waihi beach, though. This is a blissfully small New Zealand beach town, which swells in summer and sleeps in winter, and where long sunny days filled with hours of walks, water and sun roll into one another.

How far is Waihi Beach from Waihi?

It takes about 12 minutes to drive from Waihi beach to Waihi, which is located 11km inland. Take Waihi beach road out of town until you reach State Highway 1, then turn right and follow the road until you see the town.

Is Waihi Bay of Plenty or Waikato?

This is the Bay of Plenty, baby, one of the North Island’s favourite holiday spots and home to seemingly endless stretches of gorgeous beaches, Waihi included.

Is Waihi beach a surf beach?

When it’s working, Waihi is a great surfing spot, and a local pastime. It’s actually one of the safest places in the world to learn to surf, too, with the Waihi Beach Surf School offering lessons for the whole family. There are private and group options available.

When there’s no swell, it’s still one of the finest places in New Zealand to splash around and enjoy the sea. Whilst it’s usually pretty gentle here, the sea can get rough for swimming, like anywhere in New Zealand, and it pays to be safe. Watch kids closely and always swim between the flags.

If walking along the beach is your thing, the stunning Orokawa Bay is just a 45 minute walk up the bay from Waihi – perfect to tire out the family for a well-earned ice cream. Orokawa Bay is also a great spot for experienced surfers, and plenty of local riders make the walk across the sand for the waves. Orokawa Bay is home to a handful of other great walking tracks, too.

Fishing is also a favourite activity around these ways, whether you’re young or old, local or visiting. There are a couple of decent fishing stores in the town centre, and several boat ramps – of course, for the free option, you could always cast off the end of the beach. Plenty have had luck that way.

About 20 minutes south of the village is Bowentown Beach, at the end of the peninsula. It’s an incredible private spot surrounded by bush and nothing but the sound of lapping waves.

Is Waihi beach safe?

Yep, Waihi is known as a very safe bay when it comes to swimming, with life guards on duty throughout the summer months and public holidays. They use a flag system, so it’s important that swimmers stay between them, and don’t swim too far out to sea.

Are dogs allowed at Waihi beach?

Dogs are allowed in some parts of the beach, though not in others as there are birds nesting in the sand dunes and there have been massive community efforts to save them.

What is there to do at Waihi beach?

If (ever) you tire from the surfing, the swimming, the beach walk and the sand lazing, Waihi beach is a bustling little village with plenty to do. There are cafes, restaurants, quirky little shops and thanks to the artistic community, often an exhibition to check out. There are also walking and cycling trails all around the area.

Explore a little further afield, and make a visit to Bowentown or Athenree, or to Waihi town, which has a rich gold mining history and more in the way of gigs and events than the beach.

Where should I stay at Waihi beach?

Nothing quite says New Zealand summer holiday like a good holiday park. These are basically big camping grounds with all the facilities you might need. The Waihi Beach Top 10 holiday park (Top 10 meaning they’re certified affordable accommodation providers) is fantastic, but for something quieter, the Bowentown Holiday Park is something else. With its site right at the end of the peninsula and inside the Bowentown Domain, the park is sandwiched by secluded beach, bush, walks and lots and lots of space. Accommodation at Bowentown is in the form of campsites, units or motels.

If holiday parks aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other options in the area, from cute Air BnB tiny homes to five star hotels.

Where’s the best place to get food around Waihi beach?

The most famous of the eateries around the beach is Waihi Beach Cafe, which is just a short stroll from the beach, although it’s hard to go past fish and chips – especially when it means you can eat at the water’s edge!

What else should I explore around Waihi beach?

It’s a two hour drive up to the Coromandel, which is well worth the adventure. The entire Coromandel pensinsula is absolutely spectacular. Otherwise, head the other direction and find Tauranga, which is the biggest city centre in the area. Follow the road south – there are plenty of signs for Tauranga.

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