Premium Tours and Experiences in Whakatane
This vibrant town of the sandy shores of the Bay of Plenty deserves some special experiences to go along with your visit. Whether you’re travelling to Whakatane for a special occasion or simply like to experience more premium activities, these are some of the most luxurious tours you’ll find. So, plan a trip to remember with this list of the best luxury activities in Whakatane!
1. Sail to the Wildlife Sanctuary Moutohora Island
One of the best-kept secrets of New Zealand, Moutohora Island, also known as Whale Island, is a protected wildlife sanctuary just off the shores of Whakatane. The island is home to an array of rare plants, birds and reptiles, while on the way to the island, you’re likely to spot dolphins, little blue penguins and sometimes whales. Although there is highly-restricted access to the island, ProSail offers day charters to the island on their luxurious 38ft cruising catamaran. Alternatively, tours are available with Diveworks and White Island Tours.
Location: Most tours depart from the Whakatane Harbour along The Strand.
2. Fly Over White Island in a Scenic Flight
Fly over another iconic landmark of Whakatane, White Island! This is New Zealand’s most active volcano, best seen from the sky in an intimate scenic flight with White Island Flights. See the island of billowing steam, sulphur vents, bubbling mud and colourful volcanic formations. White Island Flights also offer a New Zealand volcano package to fly over White Island, Mt Tarawera and even as far as Mt Tongariro and the other Central North Island volcanoes. See how this compares to others in the 10 Best Scenic Flights in New Zealand.
Location: 224 Aerodrome Road, Whakatane Airport, approximately 11km (7 miles) from Whakatane town centre.
3. Play on Scenic Coastal Golf Courses
For those who prefer a more relaxing way to enjoy the great outdoors and sunny weather of the Bay of Plenty, the golf courses of Whakatane are a spectacular way to do it. Whakatane is surrounded by a whopping six courses, each with their own charms. Some of the most prestigious, however, include Ohope International Golf Club situated on a narrow finger island presenting a unique array of challenges along with stunning views of the Ohiwa Harbour. The Whakatane Golf Club is another fabulous option providing 18 holes of breathtaking coastal views. See more golf courses around the country in the 21 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand.
Location: Ohope International Golf Club – 541 Harbour Road, Ohope. Whakatane Golf Club – 181 Golf Links Road, Thornton.
4. Be Inspired at the Local Art Galleries
While you’re pottering around Whakatane town, be sure to check out the wonderful art galleries. The Whakatane Library & Exhibition is the town’s main museum and a good go-to for local artwork. Boutique galleries like the 4 Artsake Gallery, Art & Acre Art Gallery and the David Poole Art Studio are also worth a visit. Check out more activities like this in the 10 Things to Do in Whakatane on a Rainy Day.
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.
5. Enjoy an Intimate Maori Tour at Mataatua
Immerse in the local Maori culture at one of the country’s most famous meeting houses (wharenui), Mataatua. Enjoy a personal small-group or private tour with the local tribe, Ngati Awa, who will share their legends and traditions with you. While a shorter “Express Tour” is available for those on limited time, those looking for a more premium experience should consider the “Cultural Immersion Experience”. The tour includes a guided tour of the carved wharenui, interactive cultural workshops, an award-winning light show and a sumptuous feast of Maori cuisine.
Location: 105 Muriwai Drive, Whakatane town centre.
6. Try Your Luck on a Local Fishing Charter
Fishing is a way of life for many in the Bay of Plenty, not only in the waters of the bay but along the rivers. Join one of the many fishing charters, like Cascade Charters, The Gambler, True Blue, C-Breeze Fishing Charter and more for a great day out on the water with all of the gear included. Alternatively, join one of the trout fishing guides, like Be Guided Trout Fishing Adventures, to be transported by Canadian canoe to some off-the-beaten-track fishing rivers in the Bay of Plenty.
Location: Fishing charters depart from The Strand, Whakatane Harbour, as well as Port Ohope.
7. Dive Top Dive Sites Around Moutohora Island
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 Island (Whale Island) which hides a reef of diverse marine life. See schools of blue maomao, demoiselles, sponges, kingfish and more along rocky nooks and crannies. The dive shop in Whakatane offers boat trips and gear hire for the occasion, for snorkellers to pro divers.
Location: 96 The Strand, Whakatane town centre.
8. Take a Private Guided Walk Through the Whirinaki Forest
Delve into a 1,000-year-old forest and discover one of the country’s less-visited areas of natural beauty with Whirinaki Rainforest Experiences. Not only do they offer small-group tours, but also private tours to learn about how the Maori traditionally use the forest as their supermarket, pharmacy and more. Keep a look out for today’s forest inhabitants and see stunning natural features like waterfalls and moss-covered trees like something from a fairy tale. Learn more about the Whirinaki Forest on the Department of Conservation website.
Location: Pick-ups are available from Whakatane.