The Eastern Bay of Plenty
The Eastern Bay of Plenty is an area of land whose coastal boundaries run from Matata in the west to Cape Runaway in the East. There is a dramatic difference in landscape and population between the west and east.
Thornton and the Rangitaiki plains are located on the western edge of the Eastern Bay of Plenty. This stretch of coastline includes white sand beaches, awesome surf, stunning harbours and a contemporary lifestyle with Whakatane being the centre for business, shopping and tourism in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
As we travel further east the landscape becomes more and more sparsely populated and is dominated by rugged hills and streams which enter the pacific ocean mostly on rocky outcrops or pebbly beaches. This area, east of Opotiki is commonly referred to as "up the coast" and includes small settlements and towns like Torere, Opape, Omaio and Te Kaha.
There are a number of Islands in the Eastern Bay of Plenty but the largest and most accessible for fishing and diving is Moutohora / Whale Island which dominates the view out to sea from Thornton and Whakatane.
The areas largest tourist attraction is Whakaari / White Island where thousands of visitors travel every year to Whakatane to board one of the tourist operator vessells that take the 52km trip out to the active volcano.
The Eastern Bay of Plenty population is mostly well spread out, Whakatane is the largest town and has a population of around 18,000. The rest of the area is dotted with several smaller sized settlements. However this grows in summer due to the areas popularity as a holiday destination and it's warm and sunny climate during Summer.
The proximity to public beaches and outdoor activity make the area a favourite amongst those who live here and the people who visit.