Whakatane is known for its temperate climate and sunny skies but its main claim to fame is the live volcano of White Island just 48 kms away. White Island is accessible by boat or helicopter and is one of the few live volcanoes in the world you can set foot upon. The landscape of steaming vents, bubbling mud pools, smouldering acid lakes and sulphuric rock formations can be explored by taking a day tour from Whakatane. Alternatively you can take a scenic flight and view this unusual volcano from the air. The diving around White Island is spectacular with underwater volcanic bommies, crystal clear water and prolific marine life.
Whakatane is one of the best fishing spots in New Zealand with game fishing, surfcasting and reef fishing producing Marlin, Tuna, Skip Jack, Snapper and Hapuka. Te Urewera National Park and the rivers and streams around the Whakatane district provide plenty of opportunities to catch a trout on a guided tour or by yourself. Accommodation in Whakatane is a mixture of bed and breakfasts, motels, holiday homes and camping grounds. The town is right beside the beach and many of the local accommodation choices are located to soak up the seaside atmosphere.
Whakatane attractions and activities include white water rafting, mountain biking, walks, kayaking and a selection of art and craft galleries. There are local wineries to visit and the Awakeri Hot Springs is the perfect place to rest and relax at the end of an action packed day. Whakatane tours will take you out whale watching or dolphin spotting, on a wilderness adventure or on a tour through a traditional Maori meeting house. Kiwis roam the hills around Whakatane and their calls can be heard at night resonating from the surrounding bushland. There is no other large residential development that has the kiwi in such close proximity due to Whakatane’s wildlife protection and regeneration plan.
Whakatane is a vibrant community oriented town and has a growing art and craft scene. You can follow the creative trail to discover local artists and the way they reflect the beautiful natural surroundings in their works. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants which follow the beachside theme with most of them a short walk from your accommodation. The Whakatane wharf area and Ohope beach have water views to match the charming ambience of the eateries and the central shopping area has a great choice of chain stores, boutique shops and art galleries which are set amongst tree lined streets and gardens in the Bay of Plenty.