As you descend from the hills on the Coromandel's east coast, you'll enter Whitianga township. Here you'll find Buffalo Beach, named for the British ship that used to ferry convicts from the United Kingdom to Australia. The ship ran ashore and sank in 1840, and still lies buried in the sandy bottom of the bay.

The beachfront is lined with motels and hostels, all within walking distance of the shops of Whitianga, the main township on this side of the peninsula, and the ferry across Whitianga Harbour to Flaxmill Bay and Cooks Beach. Many people use the town as a base for fishing or boating trips, and others stock up for camping at nearby beaches. Over summer it hosts some great rock music and jazz shows, and people use it as a base for enjoying the region's gorgeous beaches.

The Whitianga i-SITE Visitor Centre can help you choose an excursion and has a full list of the many B&Bs in the area—there are too many good ones to include in this guide!

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