Waihi Beach, 19 km (12 miles) north of Katikati, is ideal for swimming and surfing and has access to numerous walkways. With 9 km (5½ miles) of sweeping white sand, the beach is one of the region's safest for swimming, surfing, and kayaking, and is particularly popular in peak summer (January). A surf club offers beach patrols at the beach's northern end and, in summer, at the far Bowentown end in the south, though you'll find people splashing about all along the long white stretch. At low tide, people dig in the sand looking for tuatua and pipi—delicious shellfish that you boil until they open. Don't miss the drive to the top of the Bowentown heads at the southern end of Waihi Beach. This is an old Māori pā (fortified village) with stunning views. A short but steep walk from here leads to Cave Bay directly below the viewing point. Don't swim at Cave Bay; there are dangerous currents. The Waihi Beach township encompasses restaurants and shops and there is a full range of accommodations, from holiday parks to boutique lodges. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguard; toilets; parking; surf school. Best for: kayaking; swimming; sunrise; surfing; walking; windsurfing.