Bay of Plenty New Zealand North Island Waihi

Waihi Beach

One long weekend we didn’t have any plans so decided to take a spontaneous trip to Waihi Beach. It’s only an hour away from Tauranga and we’d never been there before and were keen to check it out.

After parking at the main town, we got some terrible advice from the person at the information desk who told us that the beach carpark would likely be super packed due to a surf lifesaving competition, and suggested we walk there instead. It’s super close, he promised. We soon found out that it was an almost half an hour walk there, not close at all!!!

But we made it to the beach, (noting that there were plenty of carparks near and around the beach!!) and watched the competition for a while before heading towards the steps leading to the Waihi Beach Orokawa Bay walk. There was a little bit of black sand on the beach.

It’s one of the most beautiful walks we’ve done that give you the most bang for your buck. An easy climb up (nowhere near Mount levels) and around the coast for about an hour takes you to the Orokawa Bay beach, which is a lot more secluded than the main Waihi Beach, and a ton more rugged and pretty (not that anywhere along the coast is ugly!).

There were signs saying an additional 45 min walk would take us to the Wright Waterfall. We were keen. Off we went, thinking we’d have lunch (a salad and sandwich which we bought at the surf lifesaving club) and a nice dip once we reached the waterfall. It took us about an hour to get there, walking in thin grass taller than us that cut our poor exposed arms and legs. My friend Georgina (hi Georgie!) calls it “cutty grass” which makes me lol but is totally about right!! I legit still have scars from the grass on my arms and legs!!!

Anyways, it was really pretty, and we soon figured out that walking along the riverbank was much quicker (relatively) than trying to mow our way through the cutty grass. We still had to be careful balancing on the slippery rocks as we made our way to the waterfall.

Our conversation along the way included how we could see how the walk was for experienced walkers with moderate fitness (so said the sign at the start), and how it would definitely be a no-go to bring kids on this walk. Oh how we ate our words as we passed a family with kids, one strapped to the dad and the other skipping her way along the rocks with her own backpack. They would both have been under five. Respect!

Biggest unco ever…!

But of course this is the photo that made it onto instagram ;)

When we finally reached the waterfall, it was a bit of an anti-climax…. The waterfall was quite short and the flow was slow. There were also two ladies who decided it was the perfect moment to take some topless photos (taken by one of the women’s primary school aged daughter) right in front of the waterfall. For about five minutes. So there was a bit of awkward positioning ourselves away on another rock as we ate our lunch, waiting for them to come out from the water. They finally decided to emerge from the pool to sunbake on the rocks after their swim but by then we were kind of ‘meh let’s go’. Super tired and hot, and only having rested for about 10 minutes, we started to make our way back to the beach.

We finally managed to go for a dip in the water which was FREEZING but fun. When we towelled off I found a little warm stream to put my feet in. Never wanted to get out!

When we were ready we started our walk back to the main Waihi Beach, and then had to walk the rest of the thirty minutes back to our car. I think we did close to 20km that day, and we were super pooped by the time we got back to the car. Sleepy, with suntans, we stopped at New World to buy some Coromandel smoked mussels to eat with cheese and a margarita for dinner.

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