Whakatane is a coastal town in the eastern Bay of Plenty on New Zealand's North Island. It is one of the sunniest towns in New Zealand.
Whakatane is less than 100 kilometres from the cities of Rotorua and Tauranga. It is less than 4 hours drive from Auckland and Hawkes Bay and 2.5 hours from Gisborne, Hamilton and Taupo. Wellington is a 6.5+ hour drive through beautiful scenery.
Another scenic drive is The Pacific Coast Highway , "traversing the spectacular east coast of New Zealand's North Island, is one of the great touring routes in the world. The Pacific Coast Highway is well signposted along the entire route, giving a safe and easy way to navigate through some of the most spectacular coastal scenery New Zealand has to offer". Whakatane is about half way along this scenic highway, which starts in Auckland and finishes in Hawkes Bay. The scenery is stunning, but you should note, Whakatane is probably the last big town before reaching Gisborne, so ensure you take some food along with you. There are no shopping malls between Gisborne and Opotiki!
InterCity has daily services to Whakatane from Auckland, Hamilton, and other towns in the Bay of Plenty. Fares start at $1 (+ booking fee) and all InterCity buses are equipped with free WiFi. Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone or throughout the country at numerous agents, including the i-SITE network.
A regular local bus service  operates between Whakatane, Ohope, Kawerau, Opotiki and Tauranga. The Ohope - Whakatane and Ohope - Tauranga line runs Monday to Saturday, while the Whakatane - Opotiki, Whakatane - Kawerau run 2x weekly. The fares are cheap as they have been subsidised by the regional council.
Whakatane has limited public transport. The Bay Bus Service  runs to Ohope, Tauranga, Kawerau and Opotiki, but not every day.
Renting a car is the easiest way to get around Whakatane and see all the local sights. Parking is free generally (there is only one area you have to pay - and not many locals will take this option) but they do have strict time limits.
- Nga Tapuwae o Toi Walkways (in the Footsteps of Toi) is a walkway that shows off Whakatane's natural beauties. Many of the locals walk or run these walks as they train for events. The walkway is a loop between Whakatane township and Ohope Beach: one side takes you along the coast line and through major reserves; the other takes you through beautiful bush settings. The total trip can be completed in 5-7 hours and can be demanding at times. Pack a rain coat and warm clothes, as the weather can change quickly. There are signposts detailing important history of the area. Some of the places are pa (Maori fortified village) sites, so please be respectful of these.
- Horse riding.
- Jet boat.
- Dolphin tour.
- Diveworks Dolphin and Seal Encounters (Whales and Dolphin Watch), 96 The Strand (Near Information Centre), ☎ 07 308 2001, . 0800-1630. Dolphin and seal watching or swimming. 4 hour trips in the vicinity of White and Whale Islands. Fast stable boats with trained crews. All equipment supplied. A Department of Conservation concessionaire and approved by Qualmark New Zealand as a certified visitor activity also holder of Bronze Environmental award. Moutohora (Whale) Island guided land tours and Day charters also available for inshore and deepsea fishing, diving and sightseeing. Groups 1-15. Tackle and equipment for hire. $90- $160.
- Kayaking. Local operators KG Kayaks run guided tours to offshore Whale Island as well as guided tours and kayak hire at nearby Ohiwa Harbour. Dolphins, orca and seals are regularly sighted along this stretch of coast.
- Whale island tours (Diveworks Charters), 96 The Strand (Near Information Center), ☎ 07 308 2001, . 0900-1700. Moutohora(Whale)Island is Whakatanes closest ocean landmark. Administered by a Joint Management Committee (JMC) including the Department of Conservation and Ngati Awa Maori. Access is via concession holder Diveworks Charters who have had 20 years of involvement with the Islands restoration from barren to pristine habitat for many of new Zealand rarer species including brown Kiwi and saddle-back. Tours to the Island are 3-4 hours. Moutohora is a quarantined Island so bags, clothing, food and boots will be examined for unwanted pests. $65-$99.
- Bean Café, 72, The Strand (Across the road from the i-site), ☎ +64 7 307 0494, . Patrick and Wendy's lovely little café; free WiFi. Two prices above are for coffee, then for snacks (bagels, mostly). Coffee is roasted on-site, ultra fresh and tasty. Lovely folks let customers linger, charge their laptops and use WiFi. WiFi is not cheap in NZ, so this is really kind. NZ$3-4; NZ$5-9.
- Julian's Berry Farm & Cafe, 12 Huna Road, RD1 (Near State Highway 30, western outskirts of town), ☎ 64 7 308 4253, . 8am - 6pm. This cafe is located on the outskirts of the Whakatane Township. They grow their own berries (which you can pick yourself if you want), and use it to make it into jams, ice-creams and other meals, or just sell it in punnets. However they are only open during berry season, which is between October and February.
The town has numerous motels, backpackers, and holiday parks/campsites.
- Tourist Court Motel, 50 Landing Road, ☎ 0800 308 709, . 2km from town center, and 5 minute walk to Kopeopeo shopping center. Units contain TVs with Sky and DVD players, Room service available. From NZ$95+.
- 37 The Landing Motel, 37 Landing Road, ☎ 0800 437 526, . All units contain LCD TVs, lounge space, writing desks, BBQ's and Continental breakfasts available. From NZ$135+.
- Naumai Motel, 61 Landing Road, ☎ 0800 802 883, . 18 units, off-street parking. From NZ$95+.
- Amber Court Motel, 22 Valley Road, ☎ 0800 26 23 77, . 2km from town center. 9 units, all containing queen-sized beds, air-conditioning, SKY TV, and kitchen facilities. NZ$115.
- Livingston Inn, 42 Landing Road, ☎ +64 7 308 6400, . 4 Star motel, all units have TVs with DVD players, fans/heaters, and kitchen facilities.