It seems Ohope really does have a best-kept secret and we thought we might share it with you.
Soaking up the autumn sun rays on the balcony of our beachfront apartment, we decided to take the kids for a walk to one of Ohope’s best-kept secret places – Otarawairere Bay - also known as Shelly Beach as the sand is made up of “tiny pieces of shells”.
Otarawairere is a little bay hidden away just 20 minutes' walk from West End of Ohope Beach. Accessible by foot from both Whakatane or Ohope, we opted for the short walk which is part of the Kohi Point walkway and is suitable for any fitness level. However, if you want to take a longer walk you can take the Nga Tapuwae O Toi (in the footprints of Toi) walking track from Whakatane through coastal native bush, past historic pa sites and along cliff tops with panoramic views of the coast.
The kids ran ahead of us making it a race to the top. The track is well formed with stairs in parts and lookout platforms with incredible views of Ohope Beach along the way. Sitting in the warm sun at the top of the lookout point you can see Cape Runaway in the distance. Watching the swell rolling in surfers and Stand Up Paddle boarders brave the cold water waiting for the perfect wave.
The track winds down through the native bush and if you stop to listen you can hear the Bell birds and Tuis singing. As you walk out of the bush onto the shelly sand you experience a sense of peacefulness with such raw beauty and quiet seclusion.
During summer the sheltered bay makes it ideal for swimming and snorkelling but May is best kept for exploring and walking the length of the beach. At low tide you can walk around the rocky headland and look for starfish and crabs in the rock pools. There’s even a waterfall hidden in the native bush for you to discover. With plenty of pohutukawa trees for shade it really is a beautiful place to relax, take a picnic and enjoy it with your loved ones.
Keen to experience the 18km loop circuit - don’t miss out on the upcoming annual event Toi’s Challenge which is an 18km Run, Relay and Fun Walk and will take place on 12th November 2017. Competitors pick up a punnet of juicy Julians' Berry Farm & Cafe strawberries as they go over the finish line.