It’s all about the water at this laid-back coastal town on Mercury Bay where you can explore beautiful beaches, including one that’s naturally heated, and fascinating coves.
Perched on the edge of the idyllic Mercury Bay, this historic coastal settlement was an early point of arrival for Māori explorers. Permanently settled by the Māori’s for more than 1,000 years, Whitianga is an important cultural site surrounded by natural beauty. With over 4,000 permanent residents Whitianga offers a bustling town centre with a laid-back atmosphere. Use Whitianga as a base to explore Mercury Bay and spend time checking out the town centre.
Bring your swimsuit to make the most of Mercury Bay’s many beaches. Whitianga is located on Buffalo Beach. Look for the dolphins that regularly play just out from shore. Have your camera ready as the sun begins to set to see the dolphins at their most active.
Travel farther afield, by car and ferry, to reach the pristine waters of Cooks Beach, a landing point for British explorer James Cook, or the thermally heated waters of Hot Water Beach, one of the country’s most popular attractions. A number of islands are dotted around the Mercury Bay area and can be explored by charter boat or ferry.
Visit Whitianga in September to experience the culinary delights of the Scallop Festival. Learn new ways of cooking seafood, sample freshly caught produce and enjoy a glass of wine as you savour a plate of scallops. With more than 60 stalls, the festival is a highlight of Whitianga’s calendar.
Whitianga is located in the northeast of New Zealand’s North Island. Reach the town by car, bus or train in a pleasant 2-to-3 hour journey from Auckland. Once in Whitianga you’ll find a wealth of accommodation, ranging from affordable hotels and motels in the town centre to resort-style apartments with beach views. Over the Christmas and summer holiday period the town becomes extremely popular and bookings are recommended for all accommodation.