CHEAP CAR RENTAL WHAKATANE AIRPORT
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Cheap Car Hire Whakatane Airport
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A rental car gives you the freedom and flexibility to make the most of your time exploring Whakatane and surrounding areas. Here are a few of the many attractions around Whakatane you might like to consider checking out. The letters on the map match those on the tabs below, where you'll find information about each attraction. For more ideas, check out the Whakatane & Ohope Tourism website.
Not many people can say with hand on heart that they’ve stood on an active volcano. But once you set foot on White Island you’ll never look back.
White Island, also known as Whakaari, is the only active marine volcano in New Zealand. It has experienced dozens of small scale eruptions since the early 1800s.
Lying off the coast of Whakatane, you can see it from the town itself. Getting there involves either flying - you can opt for a scenic flight and bird’s eye view, or touch down in a helicopter and actually disembark on the island - or a boat trip. You’ll cruise the 50 km offshore - who knows, you might even spot whales and dolphins en route - before reaching White Island and its other worldly, almost lunar landscapes.
The desolate land is painted in vivid whites, yellows and reds, with bubbling pools and roiling mud. You will hear as well as see its might - White Island positively hisses and roars as steam rises up from its vents. The geothermal activity is fascinating to observe, as are the remains of a one time sulphur mining factory that once existed on White Island
Walking tours of White Island are quite an extraordinary experience. You can enter the main crater (you’ll need to wear hard hat and gas mask, which will be provided). White Island is about 2 km in diameter and over 300 metres above sea level. However it extends deep into the ocean’s depths - with most of the volcano submerged, this means minimal climbing for you when ashore.
Understandably, tours are weather dependent and departure times may change at short notice.
Marine life is also abundant around White Island. This means that the area is ripe for fishing and diving, too. Operators offer dive tours and you can charter a boat for a fishing outing, even a multi day one.
The Whakatane Museum is spread over two locations, close to our rental depot. The museum and its display galleries are at Esplanade Mall on Kakahoroa Drive and is open seven days. Its collections storage and research centre - currently in line for a major upgrade - are found just minutes away on Boon St and are open Tuesday to Friday. Entry to both is by donation.
The Whakatane Museum - also known as Te Kōputu a Te Whanga a Toi - is the local arts and culture hub. Close to the river, it includes the Horizon Energy library, the museum and three gallery spaces. The modern facilities are a pleasure to browse.
The Whakatane Museum is all about social and physical history, plus art and technology. With close to a million pieces in its collections, the Whakatane Museum includes a host of Maori treasures from Ngati Awa, Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Rangitihi and Te Whakatohea. The Te Kohika collection is notable for housing items from one of the most significant swamp excavations in the country.
Exhibits are artfully arranged and carefully curated, and include features on White Island and Whale Island, as well as Maori stories and legends (including the origins tale of the Mataatua voyaging canoe), alongside the timeline of European settlement. The top notch galleries have frequently revolving exhibitions featuring contemporary artists.
The museum also boasts a major collection of archival material. Among this are historic documents from around the Bay of Plenty region. Its comprehensive photographic collection is an amazing record of the past century or so of the district, with around 500,000 images from the local newspaper, the Whakatane Beacon.
Perched on an elevated hill top behind the town centre, the Whakatane Observatory is just a few minutes from our rental depot. And importantly, it is a great spot to head to gaze at the southern skies. Free of polluting city lights, the night sky here is one of the clearest anywhere in New Zealand. On a good night you can see multi coloured stars near the Southern Cross! You’ll be wowed by the clarity of the stars and planets from here.
Public viewing nights at the Whakatane Observatory are on Tuesdays and Fridays - subject to the weather conditions, of course. It opens from 7.30pm, or later in summer depending on the exact time of sunset. Sometimes group viewings can be arranged outside of these nights. A fee is payable in order to use the telescopes at the observatory; family passes are also available as well. Guidance is provided by a knowledgeable member of the Whakatane Astronomical Society. As you settle in to watch the antipodean heavens you’ll benefit from the knowledge of a local expert. Bundle up warmly and don’t forget your bug repellent!
The Whakatane Observatory owns three telescopes in two observatories. It also has gear designed for solar viewing as well as astro photography, too. The Whakatane Observatory itself has been in operation since 1964.
Small but perfectly formed, the observatory is run by the Whakatane Astronomical Society, a local community non profit run by volunteers with an interest in amateur astronomy. They are affiliated with the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand.
To experience true Maori culture while in Whakatane you must pay a visit to Mataatua - The House that Came Home. After more than a century spent away from its home, travelling to Australia and the UK, this ancient meeting house has returned to its rightful place. This amazing building is the only Maori meeting house to have gone overseas.
Now rebuilt in its original home, it is back where it belongs with Ngati Awa, a Bay of Plenty tribe.You will be guided personally through the building hearing about its travels and its restoration, as well as hear about the tribal ancestors. The building’s intricate carvings are authentic living examples of Maori heritage which you are encouraged to inspect and even touch. It is an intimate, immersive and extraordinary experience in every way.
You can opt for the full marae experience. This ceremonial experience begins with a karakia (prayer), karanga (welcome call) and hongi (greeting with the pressing of noses together). You can also add on a hangi meal for lunch or dinner.
At the end of your tour, the stories of Ngati Awa are further brought to life through an astounding light show facilitated through cutting edge digital technology. This is called HIKO Legends: Carved in Light and has won an award for its creative approach.
Scenic tours branch out to sites that are mentioned in your marae experience, from the sacred waterfall of Te Wairere to a spiritually significant cave at Te Ana o Muriwai.
You will find the Mataatua Wharenui along Muriwai Drive close to the waterfront.
Ohope is a small town and a top holiday destination just out of Whakatane. Its crowning glory is Ohope Beach, a pristine coastal jewel that stretches for 11 km. It’s safe for swimming (with patrols on watch over summer) and surfing, with the western end being especially popular for surfers. Ohope’s gently rolling seas are also conducive to stand up paddle boarding, even for first timers and relative beginners.
The north end is close to many walking tracks to explore on foot. At Ohope Scenic Reserve you’ll be treated to the sight of blooming stands of scarlet pohutukawa trees against the hills. Toi’s Track leads back to Whakatane, past ancient pa sites, native forest, bird colonies and coastal views. Or if you head over the headland from the west end of the beach you’ll reach secluded Otarawairere Bay, where you can relax with a picnic or possibly try your hand at snorkelling in the sheltered waters.
The Ohiwa harbour is ideal for fishing and water skiing, while wind surfers can head to the Ohiwa passage. Its offshore islands can be explored by kayak. There’s plenty of bird life to be seen here, with godwits nesting on the shore after migrating from Alaska each year.
While there’s more than enough to keep you occupied in and around the water - we haven’t even mentioned fishing yet - it would be amiss to not mention the Ohope golf course. It is one of the top links courses in the country and you will be spoiled by amazing views out to the Pacific Ocean and White Island from the green.
Worked up an appetite? There are a handful of restaurants and cafes to choose from at Ohope, or head back to Whakatane for a wider range of choices.
The township of Ohope is conveniently located just a few minutes’ drive from Whakatane in your rental car. It’s worth an afternoon or even a full day trip.
Great value - thanks! Definitely will recommend you to my friends.
Jack Webber (Australia)
Was the best deal we could find and we looked hard. Very happy.
Matt Boser (USA)
Excellent value, We got what you promised. No hidden costs like the rip off we had in Cairns!
Mike Smith (UK)
Great for backpackers like us on a tight budget. Got to do more of the amazing things NZ offers with the money we saved. Awesome!
Sue White (UK)
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