Whitianga is a beach town on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, on the north-eastern coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It is an excellent base to explore the east coast beaches and is a popular destination for visitors from Auckland and overseas.
- 1 Whitianga i-Site Visitor Centre, 66 Albert St. Daily.
Intercity Coachlines operate NZ's national bus network with daily departures. Tickets can be purchased online or throughout the country at numerous agents including the i-site network.
The Whitianga passenger ferry runs continuously across Whitianga Harbour, between the Whitianga wharf on the Esplanade in the township and Ferry Landing on the Cook's Beach side.
- 1 Mercury Bay Museum, 11A The Esplanade. Daily 10am–4pm except Good Friday, 25 Apr (Anzac Day), 25 Dec; winter 11am–3pm except school holidays. Local history from early explorer Kupe, to later explorer Capt Cook, and onwards, also natural history. Adult $7.50, child $2.
- Cathedral Cove, where the 2nd Chronicles of Narnia Film was filmed. Be sure to take your camera – you will recognize the arch!
- Banana Boat, ☎ . Run by Steve and Kali Young at Buffalo Beach. Everyday between Boxing Day and 1 February. Fall off on the Hellbender or take the more relaxing Scenic ride. Great Value! $10-$30.
- 1 Countdown, 24 Joan Gaskell Dr. Daily 7am–9pm. Supermarket.
- 2 New World, 1 Joan Gaskell Dr. Daily 7am–9pm. Supermarket.
- 3 Espy Cafe, 10 Esplanade. Daily from 7:30am, closing between 3:30pm & 5pm depending on day & season. On the waterfront esplanade, hence the name. Includes outdoor seating where you can watch the boats. Liquor license. Lunch $9.50–21.
- 4 French Fig, 41 Albert St. Daily 7:30AM–5PM. Nice cafe.
- 5 Jandals Cafe, 5 Albert St. Daily 7:30am–4pm. $12–22.50.
- 6 Blue Ginger, 1/10 Blacksmith Lane. Lunch Tu-F 11am–2pm, dinner Tu–Sa 5pm-late. Southeast Asian food. Mains $22–28.
- 7 Squids Bar & Restaurant, Shop 15, 1 Blacksmith Lane. Lunch M–F 11:30am–02:30pm, dinner daily 5:30–9pm (may vary). Specialises in seafood. Lunch $15–18, dinner seafood main $26–28, steak $32, desert $6–9.
- 8 Poivre & Sel, 2 Mill Rd. Tu–Sa (with exceptions), occasionally Su, drinks from 5pm, dinner from 6pm. Fine French cuisine from French restaurateurs. Two courses $55, 3 courses $72.
- 9 Salt Restaurant & Bar, 2 Blacksmith Lane. W–Th from 4pm, F–Su from 11.30am. Has a deck area looking out on the marina. Mains $29–42, desert $16.
Be sure to bring a sweater. It can be chilly sometimes. Also try to book in advance if there is anything you really want to do.
- Hahei – not far due west as the crow flies, but 35 km (about half an hour) by road
- Hot Water Beach, a popular and busy tourist destination half an hour's drive south, signposted off the main road to Tairua at Whenuakite. Water from two hot springs comes up through the sand within two hours each side of low tide, and you can dig your own hot pool. Spades for hire at the cafes for $5.
- Kuaotunu – to the north
- Tairua – very scenic location to the south