1 Best Sight in Tairua, Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty

Wharekawa Harbour Wildlife Refuge

Take a detour to the dazzling, white-sand Opoutere Beach and Wharekawa Harbour Wildlife Refuge, reached by a five-minute drive off State Highway 25, turning left 8½ km (5 miles) south of Tairua. The road follows the Wharekawa Estuary to a parking lot. From here cross a wooden footbridge and follow the trail for 10 minutes through the forest to the long white beach. Much of the estuary and headland area here is a wildlife refuge, a breeding ground for shorebirds, including the endangered New Zealand dotterel. Take care not to enter fenced areas as these protect the barely visible eggs that lie in shallow nests in the sand. For more information, ask at the Tairua or Whangamata information center.