Hidden just around the corner from Waihi Beach are a couple of stunning beach coves – both sheltered by looming pohutukawa trees with pristine sand, clear waters and not a house in sight.
Both require a hike to get to – but the best things in life come from a bit of effort, right? Effort also equates to less crowds, which is sometimes just what we’re after when it comes to a bit of beach time.
We’d suggest bringing in a backpack with everything you’ll want for a relaxing beach day – because once you get to either of these spots, you won’t want to leave.
Read on to find beach paradise!
Option 1: Waihi Beach to Orokawa Bay (40 minutes each way of moderate hiking)
At the northernmost end of Waihi Beach, you’ll find the start of the hike to Orokawa Bay. The walk follows a well-marked and maintained path, through some forested sections and open spaces with ocean views.
The path climbs up for about 10 minutes, then undulates gently until you descend to the beach. Along the way, you’ll come across a handful of locals doing a trail run and some other hikers, but for the most part this hike isn’t usually very crowded.
The entire walk is a treat, but Orokawa Bay certainly takes the cake – once you get to this beautiful cove you’ll have no trouble finding a peaceful, quiet spot to relax in for as long as you wish. There are huge pohutukawa trees offering shade – the best for a little beach nap.
When you’re done hanging out at the beach, walk back the same way you came in. Another option is to continue on to William Wright Falls and/or Homunga Bay (which is 1.5 hours from Orokawa Bay) – but we have a different preferred way to get to Homunga, which you can read about just below.
Option 2: Ngatitangata Road to Homunga Bay (40 minutes each way of moderate hiking)
So, first things first – Homunga Bay is one of our favorite beaches in all of New Zealand, if not anywhere – it’s that good.
Why, you might ask? Well, it’s a quintessential beach paradise – hardly any people, white sands and blue, blue waters backed by greenery, and a waterfall. Yes, a waterfall.
While you can walk to Homunga Bay from Waihi Beach, it’s a bit of a long hike (around 5 hours round trip). We like to take the “shortcut” way – which also happens to have the most epic views and is just incredible! The walk itself is almost as good as the beach. Almost.
From the top of the Ngatitangata Road carpark, you’ll descend through a working farm. Make sure to stay to the path as it crosses private property. Along the way, you’ll see the cutest cows, the greenest grass on the planet and panoramic ocean views – in the springtime, the smell of honeysuckle pervades the walk, and in summer, foxgloves are sprinkled throughout the area. There are also wild fig trees that grow in the forest at the bottom of the path. It’s seriously paradise!
When you get to Homunga Bay, you won’t know where to go first, as it’s all just too pretty to choose. If you head to the right, you’ll find the beach waterfall – we usually like to hang out somewhere near here. You can swim in the salty sea, then rinse off under the fresh waterfall – nature’s perfect shower.
You’re going to want some food, beers, water and sunscreen so you can hang as long as you please. Note that there aren’t any bathrooms or other facilities at the beach so just come prepared and you’ll have the best day ever.
When you leave, you’ll need to hike back up the same way you came down – it’s a bit of a climb, but the views make it completely doable and it’ll be over before you know it.
Where to stay:
Waihi Beach is close to both of these beaches and is a lovely place to stay. You can walk to Orokawa Bay easily from Waihi Beach or drive to the Ngatitangata Road carpark to get to Homunga Bay (the drive to the carpark takes about 20 minutes from Waihi Beach).
There are two different Top 10 Holiday Parks in Waihi Beach – we’ve stayed in cabins at both, and they were just perfect! Waihi Beach Top 10 is right near the beach and has ultra plush facilities, while Beachaven Top 10 is about a three minute walk from the beach and has a pizza oven for guests to use – you can’t go wrong with either.
There’s nothing like a burger to satiate post-hike hunger, and the Surf Shack serves up some of the best. Enjoy your meal out on their patio in the sunshine.
If you stay in Waihi Beach, make sure to catch a sunrise over the water – and don’t forget to admire the shells that seem to wash up on this beach in multitudes.
Enjoy these beautiful beaches and please remember to leave no trace!