Time Off at Waihi Beach

January 13, 2011

Another great holiday was had last week with good friends at Waihi Beach (thanks to www.bookabach.co.nz).
Weather was superb, water warm and the scenery fantastic – even managed to look around some great art shops in Waihi!
Historical Facts:
View of Waihi Beach from Lookout
Waihi means rising water and is the stream flowing through the camping ground near the surf club at the northern end of the beach. The beach and the gold mining town take the same name.
Katikati is originally the name where Bowentown is now. It means “nibbling” and there are differing legends how that name came into being. ( Sir George Bowen was an early governor of New Zealand)
View of Bowentown
Bowentown like Mt Maunganui was once a volcanic Island. The joining of these two to the mainland by sand (Tombolos) along with the Matakana sandspit formed the Tauranga harbour.
This area was fought over by several tribes through many generations. Two of the tribes being Ngai Te Rangi from Matakana and Ngati Maru of Paeroa. There are remains of fortified pas on several hills and headlands.
My husband and I overlooking Bowentown
The wires (Telegraph wires from Auckland to Wellington in the 1850’s, 60’s and 70’s passed along here). At Bowentown there was a boarding house, store, stables and telegraph office. Tourists came through this way from Auckland by boat and horse to visit Rotorua and the Terraces there.
Early European landowners were George Vesey Stewart and then James Shaw. There were gold mines sunk in the hills at the northern headland but they were not successful. In 1941 Mrs Shaw generously donated her northern property as a domain which is now the lovely Orakawa reserve. 
Once the only access to Waihi Beach was over the shallow estuary at Athenree – for many years known as Athenree Ford.

A great place with lots to do, beautiful walks and friendly people (a lot like Auckland!).

For more information on Waihi Beach visit their website.

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