Famous for its unique combination of beach and rainforest and voted best beach in New Zealand by NZ Herald readers 2018, Whangamata's amazing ocean beach provides some of the best surfing breaks, yet safest swimming in the country.
The Coromandel Forest Park bordering the town provides many outdoor experiences, including short walks, mountain bike trails and old gold mining sites. The town also has one of the best shopping centres in the region. A number of the houses in the area are holiday homes - providing weekend refuge and the classic kiwi beach holiday. Whangamata is also home of the Beach Hop, a five day celebration of '50s and '60s culture.
Whangamata is home to one of New Zealand’s most beautiful coastal attractions. For a long time Whenuakura Wildlife Sanctuary, (often referred to as Donut Island), was a local secret. This has changed in recent years as this pacific treasure is quickly becoming a ‘must do’ New Zealand adventure. Guardians of the islands and Whangamata locals encourage you to treat the islands with respect to preserve their future.
Learn more about tunaiti kaitiaki roopu
There are four islands in the group off the Whangamata coast, their names are:
* Hauturu - the biggest Island or more commonly known as 'Clark Island'
* Maukaha - which is the smallest Island
* Rawengaiti - the rock
* Whenuakura - the Island with the emerald lagoon, also known as 'Donut Island'
Whenuakura lies one kilometre east from Whangamata Beach. The Wildlife Sanctuary has two small beaches in the centre of the island’s collapsed blowhole. Entry into the cove is via a single 40ft-high cave. Marvel at amazing rock formations as your voice echoes off the cliffs in the cave, then emerge into the small lagoon. Here, pohutukawa trees – known for their bright-red flowers in summer – drape sheer cliffs that lead down to the water below. You’ll feel like a castaway who has stumbled upon your very own deserted paradise!
Over many years local families and regular holiday visitors have had a deep connection with the Islands. The Islands are the ancestral home of Nga Marama the first Polynesians to occupy the Whangamata area. They were here before the Tahitian migration and the Hawaiian migration. Their descendants, who are Uru-Nga-Wera (which means the weapon of fire) and Ngati Pu, their whanau, are the kaitiaki of the Islands and tangata whenua of Whangamata.
Whenuakura is a very spiritual place to local iwi and many Whangamata locals.
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