Tairāwhiti Gisborne


  • Motu River Jet
  • Motu Trails
  • Walks and hikes


Discover the small-town joys of Ōpōtiki and its bounty of natural attractions. Here, the best bay or beauty spot is always just around the next corner.

Ōpōtiki is thought to be one of the first places to be settled by Māori when they arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand from Polynesia, roughly 800 years ago. Today, Ōpōtiki is a lively town of 9,000 people, surrounded by pristine beaches and untouched native forests that look very much like they would have done when Māori first arrived. For locals, their environment is a source of pride, along with the amazing weather and warm hospitality (manaakitanga) of Ōpōtiki’s residents 


Motu River Jet

Motu River Jet(opens in new window) takes you up the Motu River, deep into the Raukumara Forest, one of the North Island’s most spectacular tracts of native forest. Highlights include rapids, native birdlife, and historic Māori pā (villages).  

Motu Trails

The famous Motu Trails cycling tracks begin from Ōpōtiki. Choose from a wide range of trails, catering for all levels of experience, including the Dunes Trail (easy), Motu Road Trail (intermediate), and Pakihi Track (advanced).  

Hukutaia Domain

South of the town centre is Hukutaia Domain(opens in new window), a Noah’s Ark for native birds, bugs, and plants. Among them are ancient trees, such as a 2,500-year-old Puriri Tree that was used as a burial site for the Ūpokorehe iwi (tribe), and the alien-looking velvet worm, which is velvet by name but not by nature. The bugs paralyse their prey, haul it underground, then suck out its insides. Many of these species are endangered, so they are carefully looked after by a group of local volunteers, who are keen to preserve the park in all its glorious – and sometimes grisly – forms for future generations.  

Nuthouse Café

Stop at the Nuthouse café(opens in new window) for homemade ice cream made with macadamia and honey. Although the café’s website notes that macadamia nuts have been found to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, this might not be the case when they’re mixed with ice cream. Perhaps, grab a pack of takeaway nuts on your way out, and you’ll be ahead.  

Walks and hikes

There is no shortage of spectacular coastal or forest walks and hikes around Ōpōtiki. Highlights from a long list include the Marawaiwai Track, Little Manganuku Track, Tauranga Loop Track, Te Waiti Hut Walk, and Te U Route – but there many more. Visit Department of Conservation(opens in new window) for further information.  

Waterfall Mountain Glampsite 

At Waterfall Mountain glampsite(opens in new window), where there is no electricity, internet or cell phone reception, they strive to make your detox from modern living as comfortable as possible with a beautifully furnished lotus belle tent and hot running water. Surrounded by trees, a waterfall, and, at night, glow-worms, you might find that, when the time comes, it is harder to swich your phone back on than it was to switch it off. For information about other camping sites, go to Visit Ōpōtiki(opens in new window) 


This gentle nighttime activity requires nothing more than a torch and a sense of adventure. Visit Ohiwa Domain(opens in new window) and follow the signs through wetlands and forest for roughly 20 minutes, until you reach a giant tree overhanging a cliff. Here, you’ll find thousands of glow-worms twinkling like the night sky. 

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