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Kiwi towns

What’s so great about Athenree, Bay of Plenty

  • 4 minutes

@Ulrich Lange Dunedin New Zealand

Best bits, a kiwi town

Athenree is located in the Tauranga Harbour, on a small promontory. Athenree is part of a string of seaside settlements with access to sheltered harbours reflecting over 800 years of human occupation. Athenree is mostly known for the large settler homestead, a charitable trust estate and hot mineral springs. Athenree is a summer holiday destination offering visitors easy access to the Bay of Plenty attractions as well as the option of a convenient hot spring pool to soak in.

WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS

  • Athenree Homestead is open to the public
  • Athenree Holiday Park hot pools (open to the public)
  • Part of the network of walking trails to Waihi Beach and beyond
Athenree Homestead, New Zealand @Ulrich Lange Dunedin New Zealand
Athenree Homestead @Ulrich Lange Dunedin New Zealand

ATHENREE HOMESTEAD

Athenree Homestead was built in 1879 and was a working farmhouse for 30 years up to their departure in 1906. The homestead was restored from a delitrict state by the Athenree Homestead Charitable Trust.

The house is open to the public throughout the year at the following times:

January to end March: every Sunday, 12 to 4 pm

April to end December: first Sunday of the month, 12 to 3 pm.

A donation of $5 per person helps us to maintain the property.

To check up to date opening hours Home | Homestead for details.

ATHENREE HERITAGE RAILWAY STATION

  • The railway station, originally located in the Athenree Gorge has been relocated to the grounds and restored. The cafe serves high teas and is available for hire for private functions.

FESTIVALS

  • Athenree Charitable Trust holds a number of fairs during the year, notably Christmas and Easter fairs

Anthenree Hot Pools

Athenree Hot Springs & Holiday Park manages two large spring fed pools. The larger pool is at 33-35C with an average depth of 1.3m with a shallow section for toddlers. An adult only pool is the warmest pool at a temperature of 39.5C. A change room with toilets, showers and heated floors is located within the complex.

Athenree Homestead railway station, New Zealand @Waihi Beach
Athenree Homestead railway station @Waihi Beach
Goldfields Heritage Train Waihi, New Zealand @NZHerald
Goldfields Heritage Train Waihi @NZHerald

What to do nearby Athenree

Goldfields Heritage Train Ride at Waihi.

A journey from the historic gold mining town of Waihi to Waikino, the gateway to the Karangahake Gorge.  Allow about an hour and 15 minutes for a return trip or half an hour for one way. There are souvenirs and refreshments available at Waikino Station Café. For more information check. Heritage Railway, Bike Hire, Hauraki Rail Trail | Waihi, New Zealand

For what to do and see at the Karangahake Gorge check here Visit Karangahake Gorge & Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park: NZ Jane

NEARBY WALKS

Nearby walks

Bowentown Domain and headlands to explore sheltered coves and beaches. Explore the caves and cliffs for panoramic views.

Black Hill Walkway provides views of Waihi to the Karangahake Gorge, including the Martha Mine development site.

TUAPIRO RESERVE is a small sandspit with views of the inner harbour. It is a shorebird and estuary location and care is needed to share space with the wildlife. There are toilets and a carpark.

Tuapiro reserve, New Zealand @Nat
Tuapiro reserve @Nat
Athenree Wetland Loop Walk, New Zealand @Western Bay of Plenty District Council
Athenree Wetland Loop Walk @Western Bay of Plenty District Council

ATHENREE WETLANDS LOOP WALK is through a saltmarsh wetlands for the protection of fernbirds and australasian bittern. The Wetlands Walk is a 20-minute loop and is accessible from the Emmerton-Steele Rd (between Waihi Beach and Athenree).

The walk loops around fresh and saltwater ponds through regenerating coastal scrub and wetland. Protected for its wildlife habitat, the land here was gifted to New Zealand by local farmer the late Maurice ‘Snow’ Browne. Threatened animals such as matuku/bittern, kataitai/banded rail and tūturiwhatu/dotterel are known to nest here.

Note: Dogs, camping and lighting fires are not allowed in this Wildlife Refuge Reserve. The project is ongoing … Bay of Plenty: Wetlands by region

FAME

  • Maurice ‘Snow generously donated farm land for the restoration of the Athenree Wetlands. Maurice (Snow) Garde-Browne donated land adjacent to the existing DoC administered Athenree Wildlife Refuge Reserve and was given on condition it would be restored to wetland/saltmarsh to provide habitat for indigenous flora and fauna. Other predicted benefits include flood protection and habitat for native fish species such as whitebait. The donated land is 22 hectares.

WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE

  • Yourself in period costume at Athenree Homestead festival days
  • Indulging in a hot pool spa

WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS

  • Hot pools, beaches and summer holidays
Anthenree Hot Pools, New Zealand @athenreehotsprings
Anthenree Hot Pools @athenreehotsprings

POPULATION

  • Less than 800

WEATHER

WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE?

  • Northern Irish settlers Captain Hugh Stewart and his wife Adela built their homestead on their allotted land and named it after their birth place, Athenree in County Tyrone, Ireland. The protestant Orange Institution of Northern Ireland, under the auspices of George Vesey Stewart, who led two groups of settlers there aboard the ships Carisbrooke Castle (1875) and Lady Jocelyn (1878). The settlers were largely from County Tyrone in Ireland. Ireland, at this point of time, was a British colony.

TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION

HISTORIC PA SITES – ATHENREE

The pa and midden sites are located on Koutunui Road, Athenree headland overlooking the western end of the Tauranga Harbour. The site is historic Place Category 2. From Search the List | Pā the following archaeological features are described.

Archaeological Features
Transverse and lateral ditch and bank, one major terrace, shell midden. Test excavations and examination of eroding sections showed rectangular and bell-shaped pits, cultivated soil, and obsidian flakes. Cultural remains 500 years old were found and the site was occupied at least three times after its defences were built. Comparison with other pa sites showed that it is the oldest pa in the Athenree district and the site most often occupied.

Assessment
Because it is the oldest site in the Athenree district and the pa most often occupied, it is the site likely to contain the most complete record of the prehistory of the Athenree district.

Pa @NZ Historic Places Trust
Pa @NZ Historic Places Trust

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