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What’s so great about Omaha beach & Whangateau Harbour, Where to go and what to see

  • 2 minutes

Omaha Beach @NZ Herald

White fine quartz sand sifting through your toes with shallow blue water and lifeguards is the stuff of summer holidays. There are wooden boardwalks between beach holiday homes and sand dunes with access paths. The distinctive pouwhenua (carved Maori poles) are sentinels along the beach. The southern edge of the beach is a protected wetland for shorebirds. Sand dunes are also home to shorebirds, dotterels and oystercatchers.

A causeway connects Omaha Beach to Point Wells and Whangateau creating a holiday corridor for visitors. Adjacent to Omaha Beach is Tawharanui Regional Park and its well known Anchor Bay. Whangateau Harbour has a well known holiday park and waterways where kayaking, SUP and water skis are popular water sports.

Omaha Beach, Auckland, New Zealand @Chris Gorman, Herald on Sunday
Omaha Beach @Chris Gorman, Herald on Sunday

Omaha Beach and Whangateau Harbour are small beach communities approximately 74 km north of Auckland city. Ohama Beach is on a sandspit that adjoins Tawharanui Peninsula and separated from Whangateau Harbour by Ohama Bay.

WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS

  • Enjoy walking the sand spit reserve at the northern end of Omaha beach is home to shorebirds and is an important nesting area for the endangered New Zealand dotterels and variable oystercatchers. High tide provides rich feeding grounds on the mudflats of the Whangateau harbour. The Omaha Shorebird Protection Trust is a group of dedicated volunteers ensuring the well being of the spit reserve and is its voice in the community.
  • The beaches are glorious with extensive facilities from toilets, nearby cafes and lifeguards.

Walking trails

  • Former quarry is now being replanted with the aim of a native corridor from Taniko Forest to Tawharanui Regional Park. Walking tracks through the area as part of the Taniko Walkway. The views are outstanding, although the walk includes a steep climb up 130 steps.
  • Walk all the way to Tawharanui, via Pink Beach at the Southern end of the beach. The walk is approximately 4 km however it is rocky and uneven. Grade medium and watch the tides.
  • Ti Point track follows the harbour at Ti Point Wharf.
  • An uphill climb walking track is Mt Tamahunga, past the Vivian Art Gallery on Big Omaha
  • Walking tracks connect with the cycleway out of town to Point Wells, and to Matakana (8km one way) including a tough but short hill climb
Ti Point Wharf, Auckland, New Zealand @LocalMatters
Ti Point Wharf @LocalMatters

Taniko Scientific Reserve includes

The Omaha Sequence biodiversity focus area includes:

  • one of the largest and most important swamp forest remnants in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland
  • an extensive saltmarsh area in the Whangateau Harbour south of the Omaha causeway which grades into freshwater wetland and stormwater ponds
  • sand dunes at the northern end of Omaha Spit including important shorebird and wading bird habitat
  • pōhutukawa treeland on the cliffs at the southern end of Omaha Beach.

The intact vegetation sequence from mangrove to saltmarsh (SA1) to mānuka-dominated freshwater wetland (WL12) to swamp forest (WF8) is now rare in Tāmaki Makaurau.Source Omaha Sequence

Support Omaha Shorebird Protection Trust

The Value of Mangroves in Whangateau Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand @whangateauharbour The Value of Mangroves in Whangateau Harbour @whangateauharbour
Pōhutukawa treeland, Auckland, New Zealand @NZHistory Pōhutukawa treeland @NZHistory
Omaha Beach Golf Club, Auckland, New Zealand @Omaha Beach Golf Club & Community Centre
Omaha Beach Golf Club @Omaha Beach Golf Club & Community Centre

Omaha Golf Course

Flanked by ocean, estuary and forest the 18 hole golf course is considered to be in the top 10% of New Zealand courses.

Omaha hosts an annual Pro-Am, as well as taking part in numerous other National level tournaments.

A range of coaching options is also available.

The course welcomes green fee players, although bookings are essential during summer.

Other sports in Omaha Beach include Beach Tennis Club and Bowling Club,  both clubs welcoming visitors. Omaha Sea Swimming Club Sunday mornings at the Surf Club at 9am, wetsuits optional.

Omaha Beach Bowls Club, Auckland, New Zealand @Omaha Beach Bowls Club Omaha Beach Bowls Club @Omaha Beach Bowls Club
Omaha Beach Surf Club, Auckland, New Zealand @Omaha Beach SLSC Inc Omaha Beach Surf Club @Omaha Beach SLSC Inc

NEARBY

  • Matakana with its shops and eateries is just a hop, skip and a jump away. Leigh and Tawharanui Regional Parks offer scope to explore yet another beautiful coastal bush reserve and beaches.

FAME

  • Celebrities have holiday homes in the Ohama Beach area from former prime ministers to clothing designers and IT entrepreneurs.

WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS

  • Beach activities, learn to surf, build sandcastles
  • Visit the nature reserve at the end of the spit
Omaha Beach, Auckland, New Zealand @NZ Herald
Omaha Beach @NZ Herald
Omaha Wharf, Auckland, New Zealand @moli_nesia
Omaha Wharf @moli_nesia

WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIES

  • Plenty of choice from yourself lolling on the beach, to walks where you people watch
  • Yourself checking out what to do nearby
  • Big Omaha Wharf Road will take you to the historic Big Omaha Wharf where boats were unloaded and loaded before the road was built. The shed on top has been restored and there are information signs. From the wharf the view is across Whangateau Harbour to Point Wells and Omaha.

SOCIAL MEDIA

WHAT KEEPS THE PLACE TICKING?

  • Wealthy Aucklanders establishing a second holiday home has seem shades of Pauanui millionaires club reputation develop

POPULATION

  • 577 permanent residents (Ohama)

JUDGMENT

  • Ohama beach’s sophisticated urban vibe is not to everyone’s idea of a summer holiday
  • Hang out across the causeway in Whangateau for a chilled board shorts barefoot holiday
Whangateau Holiday Park,Auckland, New Zealand @leighbythesea
Whangateau Holiday Park @leighbythesea

WHANGATEAU BEACH

A great place to kayak with mangrove trees, schools of mullet, crabs and shrimps in the tidal waters. Shorebird herons feed on the sand flats. The Whangateau Domain has a holiday park on one side, public playgrounds, shady trees, toilets and picnic areas adjoining the beach. For walks in the area check What’s so great about Leigh and What’s so great about Omaha Beach. At low tide you can walk across to Horseshoe Island, but take care if signs say there are nesting birds. The harbour is closed to cockle and pipi collecting.

Whangateau Domain

This large flat grassed area has sports fields with the holiday park at one end and Rodney Rams, a local sports club at the northern end. There is a BBQ, children’s playground, netball, basketball and tennis courts and a small boat ramp. A path runs alongside the shore and there are plenty of picnic options. Dogs are allowed under control on leash.

INTERESTING FACT

During World War II American soldiers trained and camped in this idyllic spot before moving onto the theatre of war in the Pacific.

FESTIVAL

  • In Whangateau a raft race is held in the harbour (January), the rule is no nails.

TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION

Whangateau to Omaha Beach distance

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