Get Out the Camera ... There’s Plenty to See on the Waikouaiti Coast

Waikouaiti Beach – at the far end of Beach St, lies an idyllic sandy bay where you can walk for miles and hardly see another soul. Race horses from nearby stables are often exercised along the water’s edge.

Hawksbury Lagoon – one of Waikouaiti’s best kept secrets, the 64ha Hawksbury Lagoon and Wildlife Refuge can be accessed from three points: Inverary St, Scotia St and Stewart St. This semi-tidal wetland and coastal lagoon provides a haven for endemic and visiting wetland birds with easy, convenient access for birdwatching and recreational walking.

Matanaka – another "secret" of the Coast, Matanaka is believed to be the oldest farm in New Zealand. It was settled by the famous Johnny Jones who was instrumental in setting up much of the original Waikouaiti township. The buildings remain in their original condition – including the three-seater privy – on a windswept cliff overlooking the Pacific.

Waikouaiti River – popular with fishermen, kayakers, swimmers and birdwatchers, the banks have been planted with hundreds of natives which help attract the abundantly diverse wildlife. 

Coast Road – this scenic route between Hawksbury and Evansdale is well worth the detour off SH1 at the Karitane turnoff. It offers superb views of the coast and over Karitane and Waikouaiti Bay. The road is narrow in places but sealed. At Karitane is Kingscliff, the historic home once owned by the founder of the Plunket Society, Truby King.

The cliff-top Huriawa Peninsula walkway with spectacular 180° views from Tairoa Heads to Matanaka is one of the rewards of visiting Karitane. Once a Maori pa site, it has been turned into a picturesque historic trail with plaques detailing the history and sites of such landmarks as the Old Waikouaiti Whaling Station and Tavern.