A coastal track to beach beauties Orokawa Bay and Homunga Bay.
WORDS CAROLYN ENTING
A coastal track to beach beauties Orokawa Bay and Homunga Bay in the beautiful Bay of Plenty. Undoubtedly two of the most scenic beaches in the Bay of Plenty, where pōhutukawa is plentiful, Orokawa Bay and Homunga Bay reward with many perfect picnic spots after a hike around the coastline. Starting and finishing at Waihi Beach, this is a wonderful walk that can start and/or end with a swim. Here, with the presence of the Waihi Beach Surf Lifesaving Club, you can swim safely between the flags, and there’s a rope swing on a giant pōhutukawa tree for some additional summer fun. Both welcome activities for giving the feet a rest after a ‘there and back again’ walk to Orokawa Bay, or a longer hike to picturesque Homunga Bay. The most accessible is Orokawa Bay (a 45-minute walk one way). You can find the start of the track at the northern end of Waihi Beach. It pays to check the tide if you don’t want to get your feet wet. Also, sometimes it’s not possible to access the track in a strong swell at high tide. You need to add another two hours to the hike to get to Homunga Bay from Orokawa, so it all depends on how much time and energy you have, though Homunga will not disappoint when you get there. Known for its beauty, seclusion and dense pōhutukawa forest, it also has a natural waterfall that drops from a steep blu onto the beach (best after some rain). Standing beneath the water is a wonderful way to cool o ! Another way to reach Homunga Bay is via Ngatitangata Road (a two-hour return trip), though it’s a steep climb on the return journey, so people who wish to do this walk one way start here and walk through to Waihi Beach. The walk from Waihi Beach to Orokawa Bay begins with a gentle steady climb and rewards with views over the white sands of Waihi Beach and out to the Mount and the Pacific Ocean. It then weaves its way through the bush, in parts peppered with nikau palms, over the top of the headland. Sturdy footwear as opposed to jandals is recommended, as the track is rather hilly and uneven in many places and gets muddy after rain. At Orokawa Bay, revel in walking through a beachside avenue of towering pōhutukawa trees and watch the waves roll in onto golden sand. Unfortunately, swimming at Orokawa Bay is not recommended due to the steep grade of the seafloor and rip-tide currents. It is, however, a glorious place for a picnic and to drink in the view before returning to Waihi Beach to catch some waves or grab an ice cream.