What to Do in Opotiki
On the edge of New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty and Eastland, and in the middle of oceans and mountains, Opotiki is a great base for all kinds of adventures. Cycle, fish and surf along the coast of the historic town or delve inland to the Waioeka Gorge lush with forest and mountains. All of this landscape can be encapsulated in the town’s main attraction, the Motu Trails or simply enjoyed on a scenic drive. Get more inspiration for your stay in Opotiki with this list of things to do in Opotiki!
While you’re here, don’t miss our 13 Eastland Must-Dos.
1. Cycle the Motu Trails
A must-do in Opotiki, the Motu Trails are three exciting bike trails which can be tackled separately or looped together. The Dunes Trail is an easy-going 10km trail running alongside Hukuwai Beach. The Motu Road Trail is an intermediate 78km trail delving into the heartland of the Bay of Plenty. The Pakihi Track is an advanced 44km trail running through the lush forest and New Zealand backcountry. Find out more about each trail in our The 3 Motu Trails: Bike Trails in Eastland & Bay of Plenty.
Location: The Dunes Trail – Snell Road, Motu Road Trail – Matawai, and Pakihi Track – Motu Road.
2. Do a Scenic Drive Down Waioeka Gorge
This scenic route between Opotiki and Gisborne unveils a magnificent river valley thick with rainforest. No tour guide is needed, as points of interest are well-signposted alongside the road with parking areas and interpretation panels to read. Walk across historic bridges, visit the picturesque riverside picnic stops and stop by the quaint village of Matawai. Find out more in our Opotiki to Gisborne via The Waioeka Gorge: 8 Epic Stops!
Location: State Highway 2 between Opotiki and Gisborne
3. Discover the Native Wonderland of the Hukutaia Domain
Discover thousands of New Zealand trees and ferns at this 4.5-hectare domain on the outskirts of Opotiki. See ancient Puriri, might Tawa and the Taketakerau (The Burial Tree). The Burial Tree is estimated to be more than 2,000 years old and was once used to store the bones of the dead. A storm exposed the bones from the tree and have since been buried elsewhere. Nowadays, the tree is an impressive feature of the domain to see on the many short walks.
Location: Woodlands Road
4. Do the Tauranga Bridge Loop Track
At the beginning of the Waioeka Gorge (see above), the Tauranga Bridge is one of the last harp-strung suspension bridges left in New Zealand. The bridge is an easy 5-minute walk from the roadside car park. Otherwise, enjoy a 2-hour loop track from the bridge for a pleasant river and forest walk. There are a couple of stream crossings and the walk is not advised to do after heavy rain. Find out more about the walk and other walks in the area in our 15 Opotiki Walks You Can’t Miss!
Location: 26km down State Highway 2 from Opotiki on the Waioeka Road.
5. Visit the Opotiki Museum
Every New Zealand town has one and Opotiki is no different with the fantastic Opotiki Museum. Located in an old bus station, the Opotiki Museum has displays on two levels, showcasing relics from the town over the years on the ground floor and Maori artefacts on the first floor. There is a small fee for entry.
Location: Church Street
6. Check Out the Heritage Buildings in the Town Centre
Opotiki has a rich Maori and European history which you can learn more about by simply wandering around the town. Check out heritage buildings such as the Hiona St Stephens Anglican Church, as well as the iconic pouwhenua – carved pole – in the centre of town. There are also interpretation panels around the town explaining the history of the area.
Location: Opotiki town centre
7. Play Golf at the Opotiki Golf Club
Yes, you can even get your golf fix in Opotiki! Located on the western side of town, the Opotiki Golf Course is a par-70 course with affordable fees for visitors. The course is fun for all abilities and offers ocean and town views.
Location: 14 Fromrow Road
8. Have a Thrill Ride on the Motu River Jet
Access some of the North Island’s remotest wilderness with Motu River Jet. This 1h30min tour takes you on a thrill ride up the Motu River surrounded by majestic untracked forest. Motu Jet also offers hunting jet boat tours and kayak drop-offs.
Location: State Highway 35, left over the Motu River Bridge
9. Go Fishing
Fishing is kind of a big deal in Opotiki, with beaches ideal for surfcasting and proximity to local rivers teeming with rainbow and brown trout. For boaties, Opotiki Wharf Street is a good boat launching point, otherwise Opepe about 18km from Opotiki is an alternative. There are plenty of local fishing charters and guides available. Find the latest guides listed at the Opotiki i-SITE.
Location: Around Opotiki
10. Surf at Waiotahe Beach
Surfers looking for some new waves, try Waiotahe Beach next to the Island View Holiday Park. The surf club runs patrols of the beachfront the end of November to the end of February.
Location: Waiotahe Beach