Beaches in Hastings District
Whether you like to go to the beach to surf, dive, swim or just bask in the sun, beaches in the Hastings District are perfect for anyone.
Ocean Beach and Waimarama are both within 35mins drive from Hastings past the trout-laden Tukituki River and nearby wineries. The two beaches are long with golden sand and are popular for surfing and boogie boarding. Waimarama has many kiwi baches (some available to rent), a shop with petrol and a boat launching area.
It is important to check with lifeguards regarding the swimming conditions. Surf-patrolled beaches in summer are at Westshore and Marine Parade in Napier, and at Ocean Beach and Waimarama. As always, care is needed when swimming at any beach.
The sun in Hawke’s Bay can be harsh in the middle of the day, with burn times of just 10 minutes in summer. It is important that you use plenty of sun block and wear protective clothing when out of the shade.
Waimarama is one of the most sought-after coastal resorts in the country. Its long stretches of sandy beach are ideal for walking, jogging, swimming, surfing and fishing. It has mobile phone coverage and a general store (which does fantastic fish and chips).
Waimarama is 20 minutes' drive from Havelock North, past the spectacular Craggy Range winery.
Waimarama Beach is a typical attractive East Coast golden sand beach. Some permanent residents live here, but in the main Waimarama is a popular weekender and picnic venue.
This beach yields an abundance of pipis, while flounders are occasionally speared near the water's edge.
Ocean Beach (a near neighbour of Waimarama Beach) is a relatively undeveloped beach, popular with surfers and families alike. Both Ocean and Waimarama beaches have summer holiday lifesavers on duty.
There are two walks along Ocean Beach:
1. South along the beach to Waimarama (7.5km one way). Make sure you check tide times before you go, tell someone where you are walking and allow 4 1/2 hours return.
2. North along the beach to Whakapau Bluff (8 km one way; allow 4.5hours return). Whakapau Bluff prevents easy access to the stretch of coast north to Cape Kidnappers, although locals know a reef/sandbar just off shore that can be waded at low tide if no surf is running.
Between the Bluff and the Cape, is the site of William Morris' 1838 Rangaiika whaling station, the boiler from the wreck of the Go Ahead (1887), and two rock arches.
Tangoio Beach (2km from SH2) is a small coastal settlement North of Napier, between Waipatiki beach and Whirinaki. The area is popular (particularly in the summer) for recreation activities, including fishing, diving, walking and swimming.
A short distance north from Tangoio is Whakaari Headland, a Maori canoe landing reserve. For early Maori this was a lookout point, and in the 1840's the headland became a whaling station with many local Maori working the boats.
The large flat rock in the sea beside the headland is known as Te Papa or Flat Rock. Further north, on what was once the early section of the coastal walking trail to Wairoa, is Stingray Bay and Punakarau (Tait’s) Beach, a beautiful scenic spot with golden sand. The inland swamp rose four metres as did much of the nearby coastline during the 1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake. Moa bones, traces of kumara pits and other signs of Maori habitation have been found in this area.
Waipatiki Beach, situated 11km from SH2, is a picturesque settlement with native bush and a broad stretch of golden sand. Near the beach is a camping ground, beach picnic area and toilets.
The name Waipatiki means "water...sand flounder" and was so called because it was once an estuarine valley, and a very good place for early Maori to catch these fish.
The long steep decent to the valley brings you to the Waipatiki Scenic Reserve, a 64ha remnant of coastal forest.
In pre-European times this area was well-populated as the estuary was a rich source of flounder. However, the 1931 Earthquake lifted the flats and a stream system formed. The Waipatiki Scenic Reserve contains 64 hectares of coastal bush with nikau palms dominating the lower flat while kanuka and a wide variety of larger native trees cover the hillside.
Tui and native pigeons are plentiful. Within the scenic reserve, traces of the original pre-European foot track, which connected Napier to Wairoa, still remain. By 1860 this had been enlarged to become a bridle track which pack trains used for nearly forty years. By 1900 a dray road had been constructed inland via Tutira and the coastal route fell into disrepair. Waipatiki Domain, a small native bush area, was in danger of being eaten out by goats and possums, but with fencing and predator control the native bush has regenerated.
Haumoana and Te Awanga
Between Napier and Hastings are the seaside villages of Haumoana and Te Awanga, which have a great local art scene. They are the gateway to Cape Kidnappers and are popular with surfers when large easterly swells move into the Bay.
Clifton marks the start of the famous walk or ride around to the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony. It is also a very popular holiday destination, with a campground which fills to capacity in the summer months.
Clifton Beach can be reached by driving through Te Awanga and continuing towards the Cape.