Stop at the dazzling, white-sand Opoutere Beach and Wharekawa (fah-ray-ka-wa) Wildlife Refuge, reached by a five minute drive turning of SH25, 8.5km (5.3mi) south of Tairua. The road travels along Wharekawa Estuary to a car park. From here cross a wooden footbridge and follow the trail for 10 minutes through the forest to the beach. The long beach is bounded at either end by headlands, and there are outlooks to Slipper Island. Much of the estuary and headland area
is part of the wildlife refuge, a breeding ground for shorebirds including the endangered New Zealand dotterel. For information and maps about the Wharekawa Wildlife Refuge, ask at the Tairua or Whangamata information centers.