Whitianga is the main town on Mercury Bay, on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. This former timber port is a popular holiday town for Kiwis, and gets quite busy during the summer months. The development along its harbour front is becoming conspicuous. Whitianga has a nice selection of restaurants and bars, and good local seafood.
There are a number of good beaches around town. Whitianga’s main one, Buffalo Beach (named for the 1840 wreck of the HMS Buffalo) has excellent swimming and fishing, and is home to frolicking dolphins. All sorts of recreational activities are available in the area: kayaking, diving, windsurfing, horse trekking. Whitianga’s deep harbour makes it a popular big game fishing spot; charters and fishing trips are available.
Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach are the main attractions around Whitianga. Hahei is closer, but there are several boat trips to Cathedral Cove that depart from Whitianga.