Whakatane to Ohope via Otarawairere
Kayak around Kohi Point from Whakatane to Ohope or from Westend, Ohope and head to Otarawairere Bay
1. Whakatane to Ohope.
Launch from the car park at the end of Whakatane River and head out of the dinghy channel to th right of the main exit, follow The Heads around Kohi Point, past Otarawairere Bay and round to West End, Ohope. Stop at Otarawairere Bay for a rest in a stunning spot.
2. West End to Otarawairere.
Otarawairere beach is a stunning spot – with craggy rocky outcrops pushing out into the sea. Shags perch in trees high on the cliffs. Seagulls swoop the sky. There’s a good chance of seeing stingrays, seals, and other marine life.
Paddle out through the waves from West End, Ohope. Head around the point and you’ll quickly see the beach. In settled conditions, landing is straightforward, especially at the Northern end. It’s well worth a wander on the rocks and glorious broken shell sands.
At low tide, you can paddle the channels around the rocky outcrops, several of which form mini islands. Keep looking below you for marine life – who knows what you’ll see.
On the return trip, you may have to check carefully before landing back at West End – there may be waves.
Otarawairere is ideally a trip for exploration and discovery, not time! Paddling to the beach only takes about 15 minutes. But it’s worth spending a couple of hours looking around. Note that if you have any non-paddlers, they can walk from West End to Otarawairere in 20 minutes.
There is parking, and toilets, at the road end at West End. There are cafes and dairies at Ohope shops – stop for an icecream. You can also park at the Heads of the Whakatane River. In between, there is no road access: take all you need.
If it’s windy, the swells can get large: wait for another day. Early mornings and late afternoons often see the calmest conditions, but check the weather forecast. This is the open sea, so stable boats and appropriate skills are imperative. Low tide is an ideal time to paddle, as more of the coastal environment becomes visible.