All-weather and Indoor Activities in Whakatane and Ohope
Yes, even the Bay of Plenty, which is renowned for its sunshine, can see some rainy days. It is New Zealand, after all! While a rainy day isn’t a good time to make the most of the famous Ohope Beach or take a boat trip out to Moutohora Island sanctuary (although, they are usually amazing things to do in Whakatane), there are some unique indoor and all-weather attractions you might want to set your sights on. From rail-carting to trying out the local craft beer, there’s still plenty of things to do in Whakatane on a rainy day.
1. Visit the Whakatane Museum
You can almost always rely on there being a museum in a New Zealand town and Whakatane is no different! Te Kōputu a te Whanga a Toi – Whakatāne Libraries and Galleries contains an unmissable exhibition space holding the taonga (treasures) of the Whakatane area telling its stories and history. Contemporary art also plays a big role in this indoor attraction. If there’s a group of at least five of you, you can opt for a guided tour to enhance your experience. See more free activities in the 18 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Whakatane.
Location: Esplanade Mall, Kākahoroa Drive, Whakatane town centre.
2. Learn About the Maori Culture at Mataatua
Immerse in the local Maori culture at one of the country’s most famous wharenui (Maori meeting house), Mataatua. Enjoy a personal tour with the local tribe, Ngati Awa, who share their legends and traditions through a guided experience and a unique light show. While a shorter “Express Tour” is available for those on limited time, those looking for a more comprehensive tour should consider the “Cultural Immersion Experience”. It includes a guided tour of the carved wharenui, interactive cultural workshops, an award-winning light show and a feast of Maori cuisine.
Location: 105 Muriwai Drive, Whakatane town centre.
3. Relax at the Awakeri Hot Springs
Just outside of Whakatane town is the relaxing and affordable all-weather activity the Awakeri Hot Springs. The outdoor thermal mineral hot pools consist of a larger swimming pool, which is half undercover, as well as a smaller hot pool and some private pools. The temperature of the pools is comfortable between 37 and 39ºC (99-102ºF). See how the pools compare in 10 Damn Relaxing Hot Pools in New Zealand.
Location: 1363 State Highway 30, Awakeri, approximately 17km (11 miles) from Whakatane town centre.
4. Venture Down the Historic Awakeri Railway in a Rail-cart
Whatever the weather, groups of all ages can enjoy a day out on the Awakeri Railway thanks to the undercover rail-carts. There are four self-drive railway adventures to be had, including the Bush Walk & Snack Run where you’ll travel the tracks then stop for a guided walk and snack in the bush, while Chicken Run takes you along 8km (5 miles) of railway to where you can help feed the birds – ideal for young children. See more like this in the 10 Things to Do in Whakatane with Kids.
Location: Awakeri, approximately 14km (9 miles) from Whakatane town centre.
5. Be Inspired at the Local Art Galleries
If the rain hits while you’re pottering around Whakatane town, duck into some of the wonderful art galleries. The Whakatane Library & Exhibition (see point #1) a good go-to for contemporary artwork. Boutique galleries like the 4 Artsake Gallery, Art & Acre Art Gallery and the David Poole Art Studio, found across Whakatane and Ohope, are also worth a visit.
Location: Whakatane Library & Exhibition – 46 Kakahoroa Drive. 4 Artsake Gallery – 23 Pohutukawa Ave. Art & Acre Art Gallery – 2D Appenzell Drive. David Poole Art Studio – 137 Harbour Road.
6. Scuba Dive at Moutohora Island
As long as the ocean isn’t raging, you’ll still enjoy a scuba diving trip from Whakatane on a rainy day! Discover the offshore islands, pinnacles and deepwater coastlines of the Bay of Plenty on a diving tour with Dive Whakatane. A popular option is diving off the extinct volcanic island, Moutohora (Whale Island) hiding a reef of diverse marine life, from schools of blue maomao to colourful sponges in the rocky nooks and crannies. See more activities like this in the 8 Luxury Activities in Whakatane.
Location: 96 The Strand, Whakatane town centre.
7. Go Shopping for Something Unique at the Boutiques
Sure, you can go shopping in any small town in New Zealand, but the boutiques and gift stores make for some unique finds. Pick up unique gifts for your loved ones, such as New Zealand-made gifts and fudge at Tui Aotearoa in Whakatane town centre. For a range of interesting homeware, fashion and gifts, head to DiSTiNCT in Ohope. Those willing to get a little off the beaten track will enjoy The Red Barn in Thornton for unique hand-crafted gifts made by local designers and artists.
Location: Tui Aotearoa – 102 The Strand. DiSTiNCT – 19 Pohutukawa Avenue, Ohope. The Red Barn – 237 Thornton Road, Thornton.
8. Challenge Yourself at the Escape Room
A fun indoor activity for couples and groups who love a challenge, try Whakatane’s escape rooms at Epic Escape. There are three exciting rooms to choose from with every-changing themes to take you through the experience. See if you can work out the puzzles and challenges to escape the room before time runs out! It’s also one of the activities we list in the 8 Romantic Activities in Whakatane for Couples.
Location: 88 The Strand, Whakatane town centre.
9. Try Craft Beers at the Mata Brewery & Tasting Room
If you’re a bit of a foodie (or a beerie?), check out Mata Brewery & Tasting Room to try some local craft beer. The family-run brewery pours award-winning craft beers where tasting trays are available so you can experience a whole bunch! Combine with a pizza or bar snacks and you have a gastronomical afternoon ahead! Check out more experiences like this in the 9 Things to Do in Whakatane for Foodies.
Location: 17 Gateway Crescent, approximately 4km (2 miles) from Whakatane town centre.
10. Catch a Movie
Finally, yes, there is a cinema in Whakatane! The geniously-named WhakaMax is where you can catch the latest blockbusters, as well as modern classics. The venue has five theatres with a boutique cinema vibe. Grab yourself something naughty from Whakawaffles Ice Creamery & Cafe and enjoy an action-adventure, romance, drama or comedy of your choice.
Location: 99 The Strand, Whakatane town centre.