Take the 90 minute drive north from the Tryphena ferry terminal and you’ll pass safe, sheltered and gently sloping sandy beaches where small children play, and come across breathtaking views of dramatic surf beaches at Medlands, Awana, and Okiwi.
Leave the main road and drive down an arterial route to the coast and you will discover more beaches, rocky headlands, and harbours at Okupu / Blind Bay, Whangaparapara, Port Fitzroy, Karaka Bay, Port Abercrombie with Nagle’s Cove in the distance. The road to Kawa and Motairahe will take you to Katherine Bay with two marae providing the heart of Aotea’s iwi community: Ngati Rehua / Ngati Wai ki Aotea.
Slip a kayak or small boat into the water and explore secluded coves where no other footprint appears on the sand.
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If you are driving or walking around Tryphena Harbour you can find the southern wharf which is used by commercial and recreational boats. Around the coastline you will discover a number of sandy beaches with gently shelving sand that are popular with families and small children. There are also general stores and cafes for ice creams and drinks.
Take the turn towards Puriri Bay and discover sandy coves where pohutukawa overhang the tideline.
Medlands Beach is the iconic New Zealaind white sand beach with surf for the enthusiast or body-boarder.
Awana Bay is deep sloping and famous for its surf. Walk along the Awana estuary between the campgrounds and the beach to spot dotterels and wetland birds.
Harataonga Bay has a beautiful campsite, graceful historic trees and a beach that is a favourite for locals and visitors alike.
Okiwi Bar has the best right hand surf break on the island…maybe in New Zealand. You can get there by wading across the estuary at low tide – watch out for stingrays which bask on the sandy floor of the estuary.
Whangapoua Beach is part of the same coastline. You can get there along Mabey Road, it’s well worth the drive because you are likely to find yourself on a pristine white surf beach with not a soul in sight.