Ōhope Beach, there it is in the eastern Bay of Plenty, on the northeast coast of the North Island, over the hill from Whakatāne. Ōhope translates as "of or belonging to the hips”. It’s said to refer to the extreme treatment of two captives, during the 1880s….A beautiful beach, with a long history of pre-European settlement, and some dispute. And delicious food too.
Most loved beach
There’s a town slogan - sunshine capital of New Zealand. Ōhope might compete with others for the top position of most sunshine hours. But one title it definitely claims is that of most loved beach. Apparently Ōhope was chosen as New Zealand’s most loved beach, in a recent campaign’s poll of about 200 popular beaches.
So, on this most loved beach, take a beach walk along 11 km of white sand beach, check out the nearby harbour, explore some pā site - and find some delicious food.
Over to Ōhiwa Harbour
Nearby Ōhiwa Harbour was one of the most densely settled areas in pre-European Aotearoa.
The harbour and surrounding area have been prized for many centuries - a real seafood basket. And now there’s an oyster farm to visit and sample.
The area was regularly fought over, that explains the many pā, or fortified, sites on headlands and islands. It’s estimated that pā construction began around 1500, more than 90 in total - harbour excavations have found items dating up to 700 years ago. Think moa bone, obsidian (volcanic glass) tools, and bone fish hooks.
And a walk up the pā
For more of that history, try a walk up Tawhare Pā walkway for its great views of Ōhiwa Harbour, and the story of one of the area's oldest pā sites along the way - the site of the last confrontation between Ngati Awa and Whakatohea.
So, if you know where to go, you’ll be rewarded by a sense of connection with the past and an insight into what makes this area special. And, if you know where to go, you’ll find some special food treasures too.
Ōhope food treasures….
Ōhope offers coffee, ice cream, fresh breads, French pastries and tarts, and wood-fired pizzas. And there’s a nearby oyster farm, with seafood, award-winning fish and chips, and take-the-cake sunsets.
Over the hill in Whakatāne, there are berry farms - strawberries, blackberries, raspberries. Yum. And at Ohiwā nearby there’s a macadamia farm. So around here, there’s berries and macadamias….what a combination. For more on that combination, click here.
And for more…
For more on what to find and enjoy on North Island travels, including Ōhope treats, explore food treasures on our North Island Food Travel Guide app - click here. You’ll find all delightful coffee stops and eateries, artisan producers, and a whole lot more.