The name of Whangamata comes from the mata stones (obsidian) which washed up on the beach. Whanga = bay, mata = a hard stone
The town of Whangamata is sited on the southeast coast of the Coromandel Peninsula in the North Island of New Zealand. It is located 30 kilometres north of Waihi, to the north of the western extremity of the Bay of Plenty.
A number of off-shore islands can be seen from the beach.
Hauturu or Clark Island is accessible by wading at low tide and is popular in summer months for rock-pool fossickers and kayakers.
Whenuakura, sometimes known as Donut Island, sits about a kilometre east of the southern part of Whangamata beach (Otahu Beach). Tuatara roamed on Whenuakura until fairly recently. Whenuakura Island has a large collapsed blow hole which has formed a small beach inside the island - hence the alternative name.
The town has two ocean beaches, both of which are extremely safe for swimming and surfing.
There is a safe boating harbour at the North end of the town and another estuary at the South end. Both the harbour and estuary provide good swimming for families. 15 minutes drive south of Whangamata is the quietly popular beach Whiritoa. Other beaches just north of Whangamata are Onemana and Opoutere. There are a number of clubs, restaurants and hotels, which are able to provide meals, refreshments, and entertainment for visitors.
The Whangamata estuary is the shallowest on the North Island, with approximately 75% of the estuary’s water volume leaving on the low tide. The new marina basin at low tide is below sea level.
HISTORY of Whangamata Video
Meet Ella Williams - Whangamata local and Women's World Champion Surfer.