The area offers idyllic campgrounds and picnic areas. Opportunities for outdoor recreation are endless, from enjoying the stunning views, walking historical sites to swimming and fishing.
The East Coast is generally more sheltered with sandy bays suitable for water sports and rocky headlands where fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving are popular.
Enjoy historic sites like Lake Ohia. Approximately 2 kilometres up Inland Road you can experience an old gum-digging site, Lake Ohia Gumhole Reserve. Here you can learn more about this historic area through interpretation signs along the Lake Ohia Gumhole Reserve Walk.
Maitai Bay is seen as the ‘gem’ of the Karikari Peninsula with its long white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. Maitai Bay made up of two coves looking out towards the Pacific Ocean. It is a popular site with fishermen and holidaymakers for its scenic views and sheltered swimming bays. There are plenty of walks and tracks to keep people of all fitness levels happy.
Keep an eye out for the local bird life such as the variable oystercatcher and the New Zealand dotterel who frequent the shores during breeding season (late August – early March). If you see them or their nests, give them space and let other visitors know, so the birds are not disturbed.
Karikari Beach is a beautiful white sandy beach separated from Puwheke Beach by a rocky headland. The area holds many sites significant to local Māori and early European settlement (whaling, gum-digging, fishing).
Idyllic Karikari Beach is inviting you for a swim, or you can just relax in the sun. It is also a great spot for fishing and bird watching.
Walking on Karikari Beach
From nearby Puwheke, the highest point in the area, you can get extensive views of Karikari Bay, Puwheke Bay to the east and Karikari Beach to the west. On a clear day, you can see the entire Karikari Peninsula with Doubtless Bay to the southeast and Rangaunu Bay to the southwest.
View of Puwheke from Karikari Beach
At the northern end of Karikari Beach, Puwheke sits high up on a prominent hill. Shaped similarly to an octopus head (puwheke = octopus), Puwheke was a central point of navigation and historical vantage point for Māori. There are three small pa sites on the headlands of the reserve, which are of significance to the iwi (tribe) Ngati Kahu.
This very scenic spot has views across Doubtless Bay, Rangaunu Bay and further north toward the Parengarenga Harbour. The vegetation is mainly manuka shrubland, with a scattering of pohutukawa.