Whitianga is located at Mercury Bay on the eastern coast of the Coromandel peninsular, a 3 hour drive from Auckland and 1 1/2 hours from Thames. Captain Cook arrived there in 1769 to observe the transit of Mercury and hence the bay was named. This small bustling town once played a major part in the kauri logging industry with over 150 million metres of timber being exported between 1830 and the end of the century. The Whitianga museum, housed in the old dairy factory displays an interesting collection designed to relay engrossing tales of the time.
Today the town has a many cafes and craft shops with its income derived mainly from tourists. The summer months bring visitors to enjoy fishing, surfcasting and swimming along the palm fringed beaches. But the largest attraction is probably the big game marlin fishing with many charters available to hunt in the rich waters of the Pacific Ocean.
On the other side of the harbour is Australasia's oldest stone wharf from where a passenger ferry takes visitors to the delightful Cooks Beach just a 5 minute walk along the road. Nearby is Buffalo Beach, named after H.M.S. Buffalo, a ship taking convicts and settlers to South Australia that blew aground in 1840. As well as Opito Bay, Flaxmill Bay and Kuaotuna Beach to name but a few of the many locations easily visited from Whitianga, the region is well worth a visit.
Explore the volcanic coastline with its many caves, blowholes and golden beaches all from the comfort and safety of an ex coastguard 28 ft cruiser. Departing from Whitianga Wharf journey past the towering Shakespeare's Cliffs and historic Cooks Beach. Visit Cathedral Cove and the islands in the marine reserve. There is also a chance to swim with the abundant fish in the reserve (on board snorkel gear provided - don't forget your swimsuit and towel). For those who prefer to stay dry an underwater camera relays images to an onboard TV.
Explore the spectacular coastline of Te Whanganui-a-hei Marine Reserve, including its most famous feature the hidden paradise of Cathedral Cove. On board you'll peer through the glass bottom of the boat enjoying amazing views of the diverse marine life that inhabit the reserve. You can also snorkel the reserve if you want an even closer encounter. The Te Whanganui-A-Hei is the only marine reserve in the Coromandel and is rich with marine life. There are many different species of fish to be seen including schools of snapper, blue moamoa, red moki, parore, blue cod, trigger fish, wrasses and more. Watch as the fish swim right past the glass as if you had your own personal aquarium. Keep your eyes peeled for other marine life such as sting rays, octopus, crayfish, moray eels, dolphins and other marine creatures you may find on the tour.
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