Mahia is a journey into the beach culture of a New Zealand summer holiday. The peninsula is a detour off the main road through farmland and renments of lowland forest. Vistas open up to sweeping views of white cliff faces and the surf beaches of the Mahia Peninsula.
The area was once an island; gradual sand accumulation formed New Zealand’s largest tombolo landscape. Watching the flurries of sand being whipped into the air you can feel the particles busy at work building sand hills. The peninsula location is a surfing mecca gathering the swells into a bounty for wave chasers with left and right options. The majority of visitors are local North Island residents from Auckland / Napier and Hamilton. Fishing, surfing and bird watching are the main attractions for visitors.
Mahia to Gisborne: It is approximately 1 hour from Gisborne (79km) making Mahia a day trip for visitors and locals staying in Gisborne.
Ocean Beaches with the lure of the surf are Taylors Bay, Blacks Beach, Waitaniwha Bay among others. As you enter the peninsula there are numerous surf breaks inviting you to slip down and paddle out for the perfect break. The South Pacific Ocean is a fishing and deep sea diving well known spot for locals and visitors alike. Diving and fishing charters are available. In the peak season forward booking is advised. For detailed information contact the Mahia Boating and Fishing Club. The tournament calendar has a ladies day, kids day and a family day. You are not going to miss out. Make sure to check with the local fishing tournaments are scheduled click here for more information www.mahiafishingclub.com.
The iconic surfing right hand swell is a fantastic sight when in the mood. Watch the surfers challenge the elements or get the board out and give it a try.
Oraka Beach is a great family beach with the Oraka River estuary, wetlands and bird life and sheltered places to swim. The Maungawhio saltwater Lagoon joins the sea at Oraka Beach creating a variety of things to do and see for kids and anyone interested in birding hotspots at the Lagoon. The Kopuawhara Stream empties into the lagoon. The lagoon, stream and beach are prime locations for swimming and fishing. Estuaries are an ideal place to indulge in wetland environments, look for estuarine life and paddle through reeds and salt grass.
Taylor’s Bay is a quiet local beach on the southern side of Mokotahi Hill. You can park along the beach next to Newcastle Road. Adjacent to the beach is Mokotahi Hill and its white cliff headlands making for a great short climb for a panoramic shot of the peninsula. The well-marked track is a 30 minute climb to the top. The beach is not patrolled and is where locals launch boats with repurposed tractors. The iron sands, driftwood and ocean swells make the shore a place for beachcombing and watching the surfers catch the wave.
Supported by a general store, lifeguards and visitor facilities the beach is a classic kiwi holiday summer destination. Fishing and diving charters are available from this beach.
Mahia Scenic Reserve
South of Mahia village on Kinikini Road is Mahia Scenic Peninsula. The location of the beach below the reserve creates swells making the place another well known surfing location.
Opoutama / Blue Bay
Mahia and Opoutama Beach are connected by white sandy beaches. There are public toilets, peak season lifeguard patrols and over 5km crescent of sand invites thousands of summer holiday makers to spend a day at the beach. There is a sandcastle competition and a big dig challenge in early January keeping families occupied all day.
A favourite beach for walks along the white packed sand during low tide. The beach is popular for swimming, fishing and launching small boats from the end of the beach at Happy Jack’s Boat Harbour. It is possible during low tide to walk to Oraka Beach however caution is advised.
Rocky outcrops, rock pools and tidal flow creates a ideal exploration area for all age groups with opportunities to find your own rock pool to soak in the low tide. Coronation Reserve is south of the boat ramp at Whangawehi, along the Mahia East Coast Road.
EAT & DRINK
The Mahia pub community atmosphere is reflected in the local pub which specialises in classic kiwi fare, billiard tables, outdoor seating and the local convenience store offers ice creams and snacks for hungry visitors. Opposite is the general store with the requisite snacks, ice creams and an assortment of general groceries.
SHOPPING – MARKETS
Mahia Seaside Market is held every Sunday offering fresh produce, locally made craft goods, baking and pop up food stalls. The market is held regardless of the weather, if wet it relocates to the Mokotahi Hall on Mahia Beach. Definitely the place to be to collect picnic goodies for a Sunday at the beach or gifts for family and friends. Due to the proximity to Gisborne (1 hour) and Wairoa (30 minutes) Mahia locals shop in either location for groceries.
Kinikini Road is another option for photo enthasistics with vews popping out from every corner of the narrow, gravel winding road. It is a one way track so you will have an opportunity to spot excellent vantage points either way. Kinikini Road leads to the Mahia Peninsula Scenic Reserve Track.
Mahia Peninsula Scenic Reserve Track
Wander through the 374 ha Mahia Peninsula Scenic Reserve to a lookout that offers visitors excellent views of the Wairoa Coast and the reserve.
The loop track takes you through one of the best examples of semi coastal forest on the North Island east coast. Tawa and Kohekohe forest is varied with stands of nikau, rimu, rewarewa. Ferns provide a filtered green light in the gullies and stream beds. Walkers will be fording several streams. sturdy footwear is recommended. Listen and observe native wood pigeons, the fat bellied kereru who dart and take flight on hearing your footsteps. They swoop between trees and glide through gaps in the canopy, their feathers whistling in flight. If you are patient and stay in one place you will watch the kereru return to their favourite feeding spots.
There is a picnic area part way along the track. It’s a perfect spot to stop and have a break beside the stream. For further information click here Mahia Peninsula Scenic Reserve Track: Mahia Peninsula Scenic Reserve, East Coast region.
Walk through one of the best examples of semi coastal forest on the east coast of the North Island on this loop track – it’s suitable for older children.
- Length: 4.5 km loop
- Duration: 2 hr 30 min
- Grade: Advanced: Tramping track
DOC safety notice: German wasps and their nests are common along this track in summer months. Take care, and consider visiting at another time if you are allergic to wasp stings. The track is clearly marked with orange triangles where necessary, markers of other colours may be present but these indicate biodiversity work areas and are not walking tracks. Do not follow any markers other than the orange track markers.
MORERE HOT SPRINGS
24 km or 25 minutes drive is Morere Hot Springs an easy day trip from either Gisborne, Wairoa or Mahia.
Original lowland native forest are the setting for modern bathing and spa facilities of the Morere Hot Springs. There are a number of excellent walking tracks among the 364 hectares of forest. Stands of nikau palms are magnificent as well as rainforest staples such as ferns due to the microclimate of high rainfall and fertile soil. There is a camping ground adjacent to the hot springs, a general store and a gift shop both in the general store and at the Morere Hot Springs resort.
Accommodation ranges from a standard / basic Holiday Park to airBNB. The peninsula is home to the iconic holiday bach. The Mahia Holiday Park is in an excellent location with the beach at its doorstep. It is a standard holiday park with a rather tired exterior and old fashioned motels and community facilities. As there is very little choice for camping it continues to be busy in the peak summer season.
The journey is worth it.