The Ultimate Food Guide to Whakatane and Ohope
Travelling isn’t just about seeing the sights, it’s about experiencing the local culture through its cuisine. That’s certainly the vibe in Whakatane, a harbourfront town in the Bay of Plenty where the seafood is fresh from its waters and produce newly-harvested from its fertile soils helped by a sunny climate. It’s the place to enjoy sweet treats like locally-made fudge and real-fruit ice cream to sumptuous savouries in the casual restaurants serving quality fare.
So, discover the best food experiences, restaurants and even places to stay with this complete foodie guide to Whakatane and Ohope.
Things to Do in Whakatane for Foodies
- Pick your own berries at one of the berry farms
- Try craft beers at the Mata Brewery & Tasting Room
- Try authentic Maori food at Mataatua or with NATIVConnectioNZ
- Do a fudge tasting at Tui Aotearoa
- Pick up some Bay of Plenty chocolates at Scilla Chocolates
- Mingle with the locals at the Whakatane Sunday Market
- Indulge in flavours from all around the world at Whakatane’s restaurants
- Fish for your own dinner
- Catch the Local Wild Food Challenge.
For more information on each experience, take a look at the 9 Things to Do in Whakatane for Foodies.
Foodie Experiences in Whakatane
Sunny Whakatane in the fruit-producing region of the Bay of Plenty is the perfect place to sample local foods straight from the farm, especially at the surrounding berry farms and Sunday market. Additionally, many talented artisans call this place home, which is ideal for foodies passing through to try their creations.
First, let’s talk about the berry farms. You have two fantastic options, starting with the Blueberry Corner (364 Thornton Road) where you can watch the packers at work through the factory’s viewing window and complete your experience of dining on fruity treats at the cafe. Next, you have Julians Berry Farm & Cafe (12 Huna Road) which is the best option for families as you have a mini-golf course and farm park to experience. On the foodie side, you can pick your own berries, including strawberries, blackberries, boysenberries, raspberries, ranui berries, loganberries, kotataberries, black currants, blueberries cranberries and red currants, and try a Kiwi favourite real-fruit ice cream.
For the beer-lovers among you, don’t miss Mata Brewery & Tasting Room (17 Gateway Crescent). The family-run brewery pours award-winning craft beers in tasting trays so you can experience many. Combine with a pizza or bar snacks and you have a relaxing foodie afternoon sorted.
And if you find yourself in Whakatane on a Sunday, head down to the Whakatane Sunday Market. Browse an array of stalls selling organically grown fruit and vegetables to honey and award-winning olive oils. You’ll also find handmade crafts should you be looking for some unique souvenirs to take home. Find the market at 7 Short Street between 8am and 1pm.
The Best Restaurants in Whakatane
Enjoy the casual environment and often stunning views from Whakatane’s eateries combined with a surprising array of flavours from all of the world and New Zealand.
Evening meals are best enjoyed at the likes of Roquette Restaurant & Bar (23-29 Quay Street) with their well-presented plates of New Zealand and European cuisine, or Soulsa Restaurant (14 Richardson Street) with a menu incorporating venison, lamb, steak, fish, duck and vegetarian dishes.
Transport yourself to Europe with the Italian flavours of Double Zero (108 The Strand) for their New Zealand coffee, gelato, homemade pasta dishes, Naples-style pizza and more. Additionally, L’Epicerie French Cafe (73 The Strand) is a must for breakfast or lunch any day of the week and their evening meals in the back courtyard Fridays and Saturdays.
For a taste of the real New Zealand, try seafood at places like the Fisherman’s Wharf (340 Harbour Road, Ohope), a casual fish and chips joint with million-dollar vistas of the Ohiwa Harbour. Or head to Ohiwa Oyster Farm (111 Wainui Road, Ohope) for, well oysters, and Wally’s on the Wharf (2 The Strand) for more fresh fish and chips and Coromandel mussels.
We have more recommendations for dining experiences in The Luxury Guide to Whakatane, as well as romantic eateries in The Honeymoon Guide to Whakatane. But don’t miss our favourite street eats and cafe food in Cheap Eats in Whakatane.
Alternative Things to Do in Whakatane
It might be hard to believe, but there are more things to do in Whakatane other than wining, beering and dining. Some of the other activities you could be filling your time with include:
- Walk the Nga Tapu o Toi Track to see the best sights of Whakatane and Ohope
- Relax on Ohope Beach
- See wildlife and even kiwi birds in the Ohope Scenic Reserve
- Ride the mountain bike trails
- Visit the Moutohora (Whale Island) sanctuary
- Play golf on stunning coastal courses.
For more ideas and elaboration, check out the 10 Whakatane Must-Dos.