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The eastern Bay of Plenty offers superb, unspoiled scenery. That's what makes it such a great place for biking, walking, running, swimming, kayaking and more.
Whale Island is one of the scenic icons of the region. Whether you are in Whakatane, Ohope Beach, Ohiwa, Opotiki, or further east, the island sits very clearly out to sea.
White Island (Whakaari in Te Reo) is further offshore, often with a puff of steam.
These five tracks and trails reward you with wonderful panoramas of Whale Island/Moutohora:
- Warren Cole Walk and Cycle Path in Whakatane takes you to the Whakatane river heads, from where the island appears very close (it's about 9km offshore).
- Nga Tapuwae o Toi (footsteps of Toi) walking track between Whakatane and Ohope Beach takes you into coastal hills, for perhaps the ultimate elevated Whale Island views.
- Ohope Beach is sand rather than a trail, but the sand is firm, and the Whale island views are stunning, most of all at sunset. Stay at Driftsand Boutique Accommodation or the Ohope Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park and watch the sun go down....
- Onekawa Te Mawhai regional park, 15km west of Opotiki (and right by the excellent Ohiwa Beach Holiday Park) takes you to another highpoint with island views.
- Motu Trails Dunes Trail takes you 10km along the Pacific Coast east of Opotiki. Cycling, walking or running, the island is ever-present on the horizon, including from close by Tirohanga Beach Motor Camp.
There are several operators who can take you out to Whale Island, including KG Kayaks and Prosail, who offer you a remarkable sailing-and-kayaking excursion. Whale Island is a wildlife reserve, home to rare native birds, so it's well worth visiting.
But even if you stay firmly on the eastern Bay of plenty mainland, you'll quickly see why Whale Island is so special. Enjoy the photos!
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