Opotiki is a great place to slow down and adopt the pace of the East Cape. The gateway town to Gisborne has beaches to wander, forests to explore and rivers to swim. Hututaia Domain, south of the town centre, has one of the finest collections of native plants in New Zealand.
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
- Walk the main street and admire the Maori carvings
- Spend time in the Opotiki Museum
- Hututaia Domain walk with its ancient native trees
- Waiotahi Beach estuary and Pipi Reserve
The Opotiki Museum is a three-storied building situated in the main street of Opotiki.
On the ground floor, there is an extensive collection of implements and vehicles. Displays highlighting saddlery, printing, candle-making, shearing, engineering, the dairy industry and a barbers shop complete the ground floor. Early pioneer photographs and an exhibition focused on the importance of shipping in early Opotiki occupy the mezzanine floor, while twelve heritage rooms trace history from the arrival of pioneers to the 1930s on the Elvira Sundell third floor, along with the Whakatohea Research and Archives Taonga (Treasures of the past).
Motu Trails is one of the Great Rides of Nga Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail. Come to the east of the North Island of New Zealand and discover the Dunes Trail, Pakihi Track, Motu Road Trail, and Rere Falls Trail. Opotiki is a key hub for cyclists offering a chance to explore the area further. The three exhilarating trails can be ridden separately or together.
- Dunes Trail is easy 10 km coastal trail on either boardwalk or firm gravel paths
- Motu Road trail is 78 km undulating trail through the lesser known areas of the Bay of Plenty
- The Pakihi track is an advanced 44 km trail discovering back country roads and traversing native bush. The trail eventually joins the Dune track creating a stunning contrast for riders in a single journey. Perfect.
A treasure house of ancient native trees and bush in a lush 4.5 hectare domain. The remnant forest is home to an ancient Puriri, estimated over 2,000 years old and once the repository of bones as part of pre-European Maori funeral ceremonies. The bones have since been reinterred due to storm damage approximately 100 years ago.
Shop at the Tangata Whenua Gallery for beautiful kete (baskets), jewellery and gifts. Check out Soul Time – Handcrafted in Aotearoa NZ for glorious moisturizers, soaps and gifts crafted from local ingredients and goats milk.
WALKS – OPOTIKI
Over 70% of the area is managed by the Department of Conservation, Check the Eastland walks brochure and get the boots ready.
WHAT TO DO NEARBY
- Explore state highway 2 scenic areas between Opotiki and Gisborne. The Tauranga Bridge Track is a rare harp-strung suspension bridge over a crystal clear river. Look for trout swimming under the bridge.
- Opo Lantern Festival based Waiotahi Beach (January), music, food stalls, entertainment and pretty much everything
- The Muriwai Tournament netball and rugby competition
- The Motu Challenge (October) premier multi sport event
- Trash & Treasure (November) in the Waioeka Domain
- Opotiki Matariki Festival (Maori New Year) celebrations
- Scar Logging Rodeo
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE
- The main street is framed with magnificent carvings linking the town to the East Cape. The turbulent local history is carved by Opotiki master Heke Collier, on the central sculpture gracing the main street
- Local primary school entrance gates with its humorous 19th century statement of expected conduct for teachers and its carvings. The town has carvings throughout the main street, Hututaia Domain and elsewhere
- Waioeka Gorge about 25 km from Opotiki
WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS, FAMILIES
- Waiotahi River kayaking and swimming in local swimming spots
- Spend the day at the Pipi Beds, Te Ahiaua Reserve, Waiotahe. It’s a beautiful area with the huge sandy shoreline of the Waiotahe beach nearby. Camping is between the signed area at the eastern end of the field however there is no drinking water available.
- The wharf for water bombing.
- The glow-worm walk at Ohiwa Domain. The short walk through wetland is well signposted. There are glow worms on the track sides with the highlight of an enormous native tree at the end of the walk. The glowworms, Arachnocampa luminosa, are bright star sparks in the night sky.
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE
- Opotiki is the name of a spring near Waiotahi Beach and part of the migration Hawaiiki legends about a chief, his brother and their two Tanahanaha fish pets known as O-Potiki-mai Tawhiti or “two pets from afar”
WHAT KEEPS THE PLACE TICKING
- Kiwifruit and various farming and forestry industry
- The town is tired around the edges however your welcome is guaranteed.