Things to Do on the Mahia Peninsula
When doing an east coast road trip of the North Island of New Zealand, you simply can’t miss the Mahia Peninsula in Hawke’s Bay! Surrounded by crystal clear waters of the Pacific Ocean, which break onto a mix of black and white sandy and rocky beaches, the Mahia Peninsula is a paradise for coast-lovers. So what are the Mahia Peninsula must-dos?
Well, spending some time on the coast is the main thing, whether you prefer to take advantage of the 10+ surf breaks of the area, or simply relax on one of the many breathtaking beaches. There are opportunities to do scenic drives on the Mahia Peninsula or stretch your legs on one of the hiking trails. Whatever you decide, your camera will be full of epic scenery by the end of your time on the Mahia Peninsula.
Don’t forget to spend some time with the locals at the market or in the cafes. Plus, when you are leaving the peninsula, make sure to stop by Morere for a dip in the hot pools.
1. Take a Scenic Drive Along Kinikini Road
The Mahia Peninsula is a must-do for anyone road-tripping in New Zealand. One of the best roads to check out is Kinikini Road. You will be rewarded with epic views along the cliffs, down valleys and of the isthmus that connects the Mahia Peninsula to the mainland. There are so many photo opportunities here, that the Kinikini Road cannot be missed! Be aware that the Kinikini Road is unsealed and winding.
Location: Follow the coastline to Mahia Beach then continue through the town and along the coastline onto Kinikini Road.
2. Mahia Peninsula Scenic Reserve Track
A great place to stretch your legs for some incredible views is on the Mahia Peninsula Scenic Reserve Track. Follow a 4.5km loop track, that takes about 2h30mins to complete, to an awesome lookout. You’ll have the chance to walk through semi-coastal forest and a beautiful stream.
Location: From Mahia Beach, travel about 7km (4 miles) up the Kinikini Road.
3. Mokotahi Hill
For a shorter walk with epic views, try the walk up Mokotahi Hill. The white-cliffed headland is the standout landmark of the Mahia Peninsula while offering excellent views from the top of it. It’s a 20-minute climb up a well-marked track.
Location: At Mahia Beach, start the walk from the end of Tarakihi Street nearest the waterfront.
4. Coronation Reserve
The Coronation Reserve is not only a historical site, but the rocky outcrops and secluded sandy beaches make a stunning location to spend the day, whether it’s swimming, picnicking or exploring the rock pools.
Location: South of the boat ramp at Whangawehi, along the Mahia East Coast Road.
5. Mahia Seaside Markets
For a Kiwi cultural experience and to pick up some goodies, check out the Mahia Seaside Markets. There is a range of stalls offering local produce, clothing, jewellery, baking, art, crafts and more. The market is held Sunday 9 – 12 midday during summer; straight after Christmas, to the end of January, and most public holiday Sundays.
Location: Held just off Pohutukawa Street on the waterfront. On wet weather days, the markets are held at Mokotahi Hall in Mahia Beach.
6. Mahanga Beach
Of course, there are many stunning beaches on the Mahia Peninsula, but Mahanga Beach has something special. Go surfing, boogie boarding, swimming, walking or just relax! For more excellent beaches in the region, check out 10 Beautiful Beaches in Hawke’s Bay.
Location: Mahanga Road.
7. Mahia Golf Course
For a reasonably small fee, you can relax with a round of golf on the isthmus sand dunes of Mahia Beach. It’s a beautiful location for a links-style 9-hole course.
Location: Just off Ormond Drive.
8. Go Surfing on the Mahia Peninsula Beaches
If you love surfing, then you have hit the jackpot! Because of the shape and direction of the swells around the peninsula, there is great diversity in surf conditions. Either bring your own or hire a surfboard from the Mahia General Store and go exploring! There are more than 10 breaks to choose from. There’s Last Chance, The Spit, Diners, Mahia Reef, Boat Harbour, Annihilation, Opoutama…: just to name a few. For more awesome surfing locations, check out 10 Places to Surf on the North Island.
Location: All over the Mahia Peninsula.
9. Grab Some Lunch at the Beach Cafe
With its classic surf, sand and “road trip” theme, the Beach Cafe is the perfect setting for travellers. Treat yourself to pizzas named after the surf breaks in the area, burger, fish n’ chips, coffee, cakes and so much more!
Location: 43 Moana Drive, Mahia Beach.
10. Go Camping
With such stunning coastal surroundings, the Mahia Peninsula is a great place to camp overnight. Either freedom camp in a self-contained vehicle at Opoutama Beach or freedom camp in a vehicle or tent on Oraka Beach. Additionally, you can make use of the services at the Mahia Beach Holiday Park. Learn more about campgrounds in New Zealand at Camping in New Zealand.
Location: All over the Mahia Peninsula.
11. Check Out Morere
Finally, when you leave the Mahia Peninsula, don’t forget to call in at the Morere Springs Scenic Reserve. Either enjoy a stroll through nikau palm forest or relax in hot mineral pools. There are a number of walks at the Morere Springs Reserve starting from the reserve entrance, from the easy 20-minute Nikau Loop Track to the 2h30min Mangakawa Track.
Location: When you leave the Mahia Peninsula, turn right onto State Highway 2 where Morere will be about 9km (5.6 miles) away.