From Napier, follow State Highway 2 north for two hours.
- Old Portland Island Lighthouse, Marine Parade (beside the bridge). The lighthouse was shifted to Wairoa from Portland Island at the tip of Mahia Peninsula.
- The third Wairoa bridge. The other two were washed away.
- If you're really lucky occasionally sharks swim up the river
- Go to the restored fantastic Gaiety Theatre and watch a movie on the second largest screen in New Zealand.
- Chase the wild birds on the Marine Parade. The marine parade isn’t actually beside the sea, but it is where the river widens before forming a lagoon. All sorts of interesting stuff (100 year old trees and the like) get washed down the river.
The town has four ATM machines but it’s probably not a good idea to carry too much cash with you. Many merchants in the surrounding region do not have EFTPOS meaning you need to pay in cash. The town has a few boutique shops that are owner-operated and the town is virtually untouched by large chain stores.
Food in Wairoa is mostly good, as it reaps the quality benefits of being near the East Cape.
- Cafe 287, 287 State Highway 2 (on the road to Napier, 2.5 km from the built-up area). Looks across the road to the Wairoa River.
- EastEnd Cafe and Bar, 250 Marine Parade.
- Osler's Bakery and Cafe, 116 Marine Parade. Consistently exceptional. On average it has the best pies (a meat filling packed inside pastry) available anywhere in New Zealand. A must stop. Last count they had about 56 pie awards. Many diverse flavours such as 'Boil up' (reflecting the local culture), 'Ostrich' and 'Cock' (trust them, they are the experts).
- Riverside Motor Camp, 19 Marine Parade.
- Three Oaks Motel, cnr Campbell St & Clyde Rd, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. As you enter Wairoa there is a sign for it. Bookings generally not necessary. From $105.
- Vista Motor Lodge, 2 Bridge St (north side of the river). Has on-site licensed restaurant. From $110.