We’d had the Bay of Plenty on our must-visit list, because of the active marine volcano (Whaakari or White Island, named by Cook for its permanent shroud of mist and steam) that lies 50km offshore from the township of Whakatane. Ideally, we would’ve loved to have taken a boat trip or heli ride there and walked around the crater, but it was sooo expensive!
Māori have lived in the Bay for about 700 years. Toi is an important ancestor of the Mataatua tribes, and the bay is also known as Te Moana a Toi (the sea of Toi). The Endeavour, commanded by Captain James Cook, sailed into the bay in 1769. Cook named it ‘Bay of Plenty’, because the people were generous and there were lots of fish, timber and other supplies. From the 1870s onwards European settlers arrived in numbers.
As usual, we stayed off the beaten tourist track, in the tiny township of Pukehina, in a super cute bach right on the beach…this is a little slice of paradise, we were in heaven!
There are only a few shops on the street (the township is just one road).
Although it was warm and sunny, the sea was pretty wild and we didn’t feel comfortable swimming in what looked like strong currents and rips.
Nevertheless, we revelled in the sound of the crashing waves, the smell of salty air, flying kites in the wind with the locals, and surf casting (Jake!).
Next door to our home was a playpark with the best flying fox (zipwire) ever!
With a pizza oven in our garden, we had fun making pizzas one evening with a local girl who we’d befriended at the park!
One day, we visited the small settlement of Ohope, 7km east of Whakatane. Its beach is well-known as one of NZ’s best and we could see why!
Inland from the coast there are many mountain ranges, notably the Kaimai and Raukūmara. The rugged hill country inland from Whakatāne is called Te Urewera.
Pukehina, we did not want to leave you. You are seriously one sweet little place and we think we’ve left little pieces of our hearts here with you. ❣