AROUND OPOUTERE

At the southern end of Opoutere Beach lies the winding entrance to the Wharekawa Harbour which is protected by a spectacular sandspit. The spit is a breeding ground for several endangered species of native sea birds including the New Zealand Dotterel and Variable Oystercatcher. A DOC Ranger is on duty at the refuge during breeding season from November through to February.

There are numerous harbour and reserve walks right from the camp and there are easy walks along the beach to Ohui rockpools at the northern end of the beach and into the state forest to visit the historic Phoenix goldmine. If you want a bit more of a challenge a track winds up Maungaruawahine Pa hill through native bush from Opoutere Road to the lookout vantage point on the top. There are still some stone ramparts that formed part of the Maori fortifications to be seen in some places near the summit. The walk is well worth the effort for the view across the harbour to the site of the sister Pa on Ruahiwihiwi point and the elevated view of the sandspit, harbour and outlying islands.

You could also try surfcasting at the beach and harbour mouth or snorkelling around Hikunui Island and south coastline to Pokohino (when conditions permit) and there are plentiful cockles and pipis in the harbour and tuatua in the surf.

The harbour is perfect for a leisurely sea kayak and the mountain biking options are endless.