Waipu and Waipu Cove are at the centre of Bream Bay, a giant arc of white sand shaped by the often gentle but sometimes tumultuous Pacific Ocean.
This huge sweep of pristine beach is framed by dramatic headlands and the alluring but forbidden Hen and Chicken Islands, home of tuatara and tieke (saddleback).
Wander for hours along the sandy shores, body surf on the rolling waves, cast a line and catch your dinner from boat or shoreline, or share your thoughts with the visiting and resident seabirds that take refuge at the Waipu estuary; amongst them you will spot the New Zealand dotterel, variable oyster catcher, wrybill, reef heron and the now critically endangered NZ fairy tern.
The quaint village ambience of Waipu belies the struggles of the town’s founders who migrated from the Scottish Highlands to Nova Scotia in the 1700s then on to Waipu via Australia in the 1850s, a remarkable journey told in fascinating detail at the local museum.
Take a drive to the popular Piroa Falls located in the Waipu Gorge Scenic Reserve. From Waipu, head south along SH1 to the foot of the Brynderwyn Hills (northern slope), turn right into Waipu Gorge Road and follow for about 7 km until you reach the car park. The track is signposted with a DOC and AA sign.
What to do
- Admire the glow worms in the Waipu Caves
- Delve into the town’s Scottish history at the Waipu Museum
- Look for nesting godwits at nearby Ruakaka
- Stroll along the beach at Waipu Cove
- Take a walk and a swim at the Piroa Falls waterfall