Affordable Activities

  • Awakeri Hot Springs

    Costs: Around $20 for a family of 4
    Open: All year round
    Travel Time: 10mins

    Is it raining? Go to the Awakeri Hot Pools to warm up. Relax and unwind at Awakeri Hot Springs – thermal mineral pools heated to between 37 and 39 degrees Celsius. The beautifully soft water comes direct from nature!
    Phone 07 304 9290 

  • Tarawera Falls

    Costs: $5 per vehicle
    Open: During the hours of daylight
    Travel time: 60mins

    Recognised as one of New Zealands best short walks, the falls surge out of fissures in a large rock cliff-face surrounded by native bush.

    Access to Tarawera Outlet is from Kawerau township via private forestry roads which require a permit. A map, directions and permit are avaliable at the Kawerau Information Centre.

    Kawerau Information Centre
    Plunket St, Kawerau
    Phone 07 323 6300 

  • Lake Rotoma

    Costs: Free
    Open: Summer months for swimming
    Travel Time: 35mins

    Lake Rotoma is the fourth largest lake of the 11 lakes in the Rotorua Lakes district. A crystal clear lake with visibility up to around 13 metres deep. Surrounded by native forest Lake Rotoma provides beautiful swimming in summer. There is ramp access if you bring the boat, a playground and bbq facilities.

  • Onepu Mountain Bike Park

    Costs: Free
    Open: All year round
    Travel Time:  20mins

    The Onepu Mountain Bike Park is a great place for all types of riders. The terrain is flat to rolling which means there is only gentle climbing even the smallest member of your group will make it around the trails.

  • Lathams Hill Track

    Costs: Free
    Open: All year round
    Travel time: 10mins

    The walk starts with a relatively gentle climb over rolling farmland which leads up to native bush and a trig station where you can enjoy superb views over the Rangitaiki Plains.  The track ends here, however an unauthorised route descends to the Awakeri Hot Springs complex.
  • River Mouth Fishing for Kahawai

    Costs: Free
    Open: All year round
    Travel time: 10min walk

    Thornton Beach is the ‘Kahawai Capital of the World’ at certain times of the year Kahawai will run the river in hundreds chasing bait fish. Call us to find out when they are running and experience something very special.

  • Julians Berry Farm

    Costs: Free Admission
    Open: Between October and February
    Travel time: 10mins

    Julians Berry Farm and Cafe is a unique New Zealand experience.  We have freshly picked, frozen and pick your own berries. Animal Farm and Cafe. We have a beautiful outdoor sheltered cafe overlooking our farm and serve delicious home cooked meals and berry baking.
    Phone 07 308 4253

  • Whakatane Aquatic Centre

    Costs: Around $20 for a family of 4
    Open: All year round
    Travel time: 15 mins

    Throw yourself down a hydroslide, soak in the heated indoor pools or play under the water features at the Whakatane Aquatic & Leisure Centre.

    Phone 07 308 4192

  • Whakatane Skate Park & Ocean Playground

    Costs: Free
    Open: All year round
    Travel time: 15mins

    One of the better Skate Parks in New Zealand, quite a large park with a real good flow to it. The Ocean Playground is a modern, integrated adventure facility, providing exciting challenges for all children and located near the Skate Park.
  • Whakatane Observatory

    Costs: $35 Family Pass
    Open: Tuesdays and Fridays 7:30pm (weather ppermitting)
    Travel time: 15mins

    View the Southern Skies on public viewing nights (Tuesdays and Fridays) and discover the heavens of stars and planets light years away.  Wrap up warm and bring your insect repellent!  The Whakatane Observatory has three telescopes in two observatories.
    Phone  07 308 6495 or Mobile 027 2218993
  • Kohi Point Walk

    Costs: Free
    Open: All year round
    Travel time: 15mins

    Walk from Whakatane to Ohope Beach. This three hour Kohi Point Walk takes in several great mini adventures into one moderate walk.

  • Salt Spray Surf School

    Costs: Board Hire $20.00 per person for 1 hour
    Open: Summer Months
    Travel time: 25mins

    Hire a surf board and learn to ride the waves at Ohope Beach. If your a newbie a lesson would really help, they are available but more expensive at $80.00 per person for 2. Learning to surf the waves is truly an exhilarating experience and there is no better place to learn then the white sands of Ohope Beach.
    Phone 07 312 4909 or Mobile 021 149 1972

Tour Operated Activities

  • Whale and Dolphin Watch
    There are several operators that offer boat trips from Whakatane that take you out to watch or goswimming with dolphins. Take the unique opportunity to swim with some of the largest concentrated schools of dolphins in the world. Whales are often spotted off the coast too. You will love exploring these natural wonders in the subtropical Bay of Plenty waters. Bookings are essential!
  • Kiwi Jet Boat Tours
    Bill Roberts, 4 times New Zealand Jet Boating Champion and former World Champion and his team will take you on an unforgettable jet boat tour departing from the North Islands largest man made earth Dam, where you then travel up the stunning Rangitaiki River. The ever-changing scenery of ignibrite cliffs and a scenic weeping gorge, combined with exciting white water rapids will linger in your mind forever. Allow 1 ¼ hours to Jetboat to the Aniwhenua Falls, a real jet boating experience you will never forget!
  • KG Kayaks
    If you are a visitor looking to explore some hidden corners, KG Guided Tours are the answer! We’ll entertain you with salty yarns and provide you with an intimate environmental and historical perspective of the Eastern Bay of Plenty. This great activity provides a range of options for independent paddlers, family groups, businesses or schools. We offer four distinct tours: OHIWA EXPLORER, WILD BLUE YONDER, WHALE ISLAND and MOONLIGHT KAYAKING.
  • Tui Glen Farm Horse Treks
    Explore New Zealand’s native bush on the back of a horse, with Tui Glen Farm Horse Treks. They offer friendly and relaxed 1, 1.5 and 2 hour guided tours and there are horses available to suit all abilities. Choose from beach rides and gentle treks for the whole family or some more adventurous treks for confident riders. Ride into the hills and through crystal clear trout stream over 400 hectares of farmland. This is the perfect Ohope activity to explore the local landscape.
  • PeeJay White Island Tours
    Professional marine operators will take you on a 6 hour journey to New Zealand’s only active marine volcano White Island. This steaming beauty lies 49km off the coast of Whakatane. Step aboard PeeJay, 1 of 2 boats purpose built for White Island Tours, and let the cheerful and professional crew take you on a journey you will never forget.
  • Frontier Helicopters
    Frontier Helicopters White Island Volcano Adventure takes you to the edge of the crater of a continuously active, living and breathing geological giant. As you fly towards White Island, the volcano grows in stature until you are high above it circling in full awe of its spectacular presence. The view from the helicopter is absolutely unmatched, providing a superb platform for strategic aerial photographing of White Island’s unique geological formations, colours and raw power.
  • Dive White Island
    White Island is a live volcano that can be found 48 off shore from Whakatane. The volcano is clearly visible from Thornton Beach Holiday Park but if you would like to have a closer look, take this unique trip. Dive White Island runs regular scheduled dive trips to the island all year around. All trips have a PADI certified dive master or instructor accompanying divers. Lunch and refreshments are provided.

Country Cafes

  • Red Barn Bakery Cafe

    The Red Barn Bakery Cafe is located inside the Red Barn on Thornton Road – only a few minutes from Thornton Beach Holiday Park. The Red Barn Bakery Cafe is also conveniantly located next to The Red Barn Gift Shop

    Enjoy their freshly baked breads or try something from the mouth watering menu. The Red Barn Bakers bakers source out only the finest ingredients so they can prepare the delicious creations for you. Relax in the country garden location or dine inside. Bring the kids and show them the black and white sheep found at the Whakatane Homestay Leaburn Farm situated behind us.

  • The White House Cafe
    The owners have vast experience in the hospitality industry and have taken this experience to create a food venue and catering services second to none.

    The Whitehouse Café & Gallery provides an environment for both young and old, Jan says “we like to make people feel at home and the old villa creates its own wairua (spirit) and our customers love it”

    So the next time your’e passing by the Whitehouse Café & Gallery why not stop in and say hi to Jan and the Team, you’ll find them on the outskirts of Whakatane corner of State Highway 30 and Thornton Road.

  • Julians Berry Farm

    Julians Berry Farm and Cafe is open during October and February, primarily through the berry harvesting season. It is a unique New Zealand experience with the cafe, berry farm and animal farm for the kids.

    Julians have freshly picked, frozen and pick your own berries aswell as a comprehensive and award winning cafe. Beautiful outdoor sheltered dining overlooks the farm and they serve delicious home cooked meals and berry baking.

    Their most famous product (apart from our lovely) is the delicious ice cream made from our own berries. There is also a playground and animal farm for children, so come on out, relax and enjoy.

Golf Courses

  • Whakatane Golf Course

    Cost: $20-45
    Specials: $20 Monday and Friday
    Travel time: 7-8mins
    Par: 71
    Carts Available: Yes
    Pro Shop supplies: Yes 8-5pm (normally / most days)
    19th Hole: Tuesday, Thursday & Weekends, 11am – 5pm

    At the Whakatane Golf Club we are fortunate to possess one of the finest golf courses in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. With our fast running greens and lush forgiving fairways, the course is an open but challenging links style course.

    Whakatane Golf Course, 181 Golf Links Rd, Thornton.
    Office 07 308 8117 press option 1
    Pro Shop  07 308 8117 – press option2

  • Te Teko Golf Course

    Cost: $15
    Specials: It’s already a bargain!
    Travel time: 12-13mins
    Par: 73
    Carts Available: No
    Pro Shop supplies: Depends…
    19th Hole: Depends…

    A delightful course set in farmland behined Te Teko. Given the reputations of other courses in the area this course quite happily takes a back seat. However, that said the seat is reclinable has great country views and is a comfortable home for a number of lucky players. On it’s day Te Teko is a beautiful change of pace.

    Tahuna Road Te Teko, Bay of Plenty 3192
    Phone: 07 322 9394 
  • Kawerau Golf Course

    Cost: $15-$25
    Specials: $20 Sundays
    Travel time: 25mins
    Par: 71
    Carts Available:
    Pro Shop supplies:
    19th Hole:

    Kawerau golf course is a parkland style course set in a large valley that also accomodates the reknowned Trawera river. To many members including the writer it is the most underated course in B.O.P. On it’s day Kawerau fights with the Bay of Plenty heavy weights with respect to both course layout and scenery. It’s signature hole the par 15th requires you to hit accross the river to make it to the safety of the green.

    82 Cobham Drive Kawerau, Bay of Plenty
    Phone: 07 323 7095 

  • Ohope Golf Course

    Cost: $35
    Specials: Unknown
    Travel time: 20mins
    Par: 72
    Carts Available yes:
    Pro Shop supplies: Yes 9-5pm
    19th Hole: (normally / most days)

    Greg Turner in 2012 commented on Ohope International Golf Club
    “The seaside terrain is as dramatic as anything in the British Isles and the views are exceptional.  This is links golf to match the very best anywhere!” 

    …Say no more!

    Ohope International Golf Club. Harbour Rd. P O Box 3037 Ohope 3121, Phone 07 3124486

  • Te Puke Golf Course

    Cost: $45 per round $30 after 3pm
    Specials: $20 Sundays
    Travel time: 30mins
    Par: 72
    Carts Available: Yes
    Pro Shop supplies: Yes 8am-5pm
    19th Hole: (normally / most days)

    Te Puke golf course creates a challenge for all levels of golfer, set in rolling kiwi fruit country it is one of New Zealand’s longest courses, at 6600m. The open and relatively flat nature helps it’s length, but to counter, there are many medium to large trees guarding the fairways. In summary a top quality course however miss the fairway and the trees will normally release prisoners but often not before a sentence is served.

    847 SH 2 Te Puke, Bay of Plenty
    Phone: 07 533 1115

Fishing Around Thornton

  • Boat Fishing

    From Thornton the Rau Rimas and Whale Island are a 10 minute run in flat calm conditions. These islands provide respite if the wind gets up and also good fishing and diving opportunities.

    However, most inshore species of fish can be regularly caught well within a 10 minute run of the bar entrance. We do not recieve the fishing Pressure Whakatane does.

    The 4 berth boat ramp is well designed and has a relaxed feel. It is preferable to use the 2 births at the north end of the wharf. The southern end is split level and has a steel bar separating them which is not forgiving incase a mistake is made.

    Boats up to 7.5m and the odd larger one comfortably navigate the Thornton bar entrance in favourable conditions and tide times. It is a bar that is shallow at low tide. The coast guard advises it to be generally workable 3 hours either side of high tide.

  • Diving
    There is good diving around the Rau Rimas and Whale Island. Mainly crayfish and Kinas are the norm, but Mussells and scallops are also found but are a closely guarded secret.

    Dive tanks can be filled at a number of spots in Whakatane. Sea Marine, Hunting & Fishing and also Forestland Safety Products.

  • Surfcasting / Longlining

    There are endless stretches of beach to fish in the region. The first decision is how you are going to access the stretch of beach you wish to fish. There are really 3 options.

    1. Bring your quad bike or 4WD and access the area in front of the Park between Thornton and the Tarawera rivers or cross over the river back at the main road and fish to the east.

    2. Walk down and surfcast in front of the Park or at the river mouth for Kahawai.

    3. If you have a 2WD passenger car head towards Matata and fish along the renknown Matata straights gaining access via the many walking tracks on the side of the road.

  • River Mouth Fishing
    River Mouth Fishing for Kahawai is probably the most exilerating form of landbased fishing in New Zealand. When the fish are on they are visible in large schoals running through waves as they break on the river mouth.

    It can often be a misconception that catching them must therefore be like shooting fish in a barrell. Sometimes this is the case but quite often the right coloured lure or spinner in the right size is required.

    You must also be respectful of those who are there already fishing. When there are numbers of fishermen stay in the depth or line of people who are already fishing, ask if you can fit in, or go to any area that has space. Do not cast your lure and line over another persons line and be mindful of the water currents.