There’s Never a Dull Moment in Port Waikato!
Port Waikato is an excellent place for weekend getaways with its bucolic vibe and rough, wild charm. Despite its languid pace of life, there are plenty of things to do in Port Waikato – the town and its peripheries are brimming with adventure activities. Only, that’s not all. This coastal idyll has a few other surprises up its sleeve!
The safe place to swim is down the south end of Port Waikato at Sunset Beach, where the award-winning Surf Lifesaving Club patrols the beach every weekend from Labour Weekend through to Easter and throughout the week in the school summer holidays.
This part of the rugged West Coast is known for very strong currents and rips. Therefore, make sure to swim between the flags in front of the Surf Lifesaving Club.
The small wharf riverside beach is ideal for a tamer swimming experience during high tide and the wharf opposite this makes for a great diving board that you’re sure to see many locals enjoy when the river is high enough. Maraetai Bay is a great place to chase the crabs or dig for pipis (shell fish) along the riverside – an unmissable part of a classic Kiwiana beach holiday experience!
What’s a good Port Waikato holiday without catching some fish?! Whether you wish to be a lone angler or join the locals, you may surf cast from Sunset Beach, clamber the rocks for shellfish, net for flounder and mullet, catch trevally with a long line from the dunes at the river mouth or surf cast off the dunes for kahawai.
Port Waikato has also gained fame as a whitebaiting destination. The elusive but iconic Kiwi delicacy is caught in the mighty Waikato River during the months of August-November. This culminates in the famous Port Waikato Whitebait Fritter Competition.
Grab a delicious whitebait fritter from the NZ Whitebait truck, regularly open during the season!
Boating & Kayaking
Port Waikato is great for all kinds of sea and freshwater boating.
The Waikato River is ideal for a paddle in your canoe on an incoming or high tide, for catching the breeze in your sail boat, for fishing in your dinghy, or even just for a splash in the water! Make no mistake, the Waikato is Mighty! Ensure that you check that the tide time is ideal for your skill level.
Adrenaline junkies who prefer a faster pace could bring their own jet ski.
There is a boat ramp at the Yacht Club beside the Wharf Store and the Wharf store carries a log book for boaters safety. It’s not recommended that you try to cross the bar without research or local knowledge, our bar can be dangerous for those who are not familiar with it. Remember to always wear life jackets. Boat parking could be arranged during your stay with us. Please check with the management first.
Are you fascinated by fossils? Port Waikato gives you plenty of opportunities to don the fossil hunter’s hat and discover a slice of Jurassic history!
Home to 65–85 million-year old sedimentary rock formations and even Jurassic-era dinosaur fossils, Port Waikato is a dream location for fossil fossickers. So grab your safari hat and your paleontology chisels (a baseball cap and blunt tent peg should do the trick too!) and embark on a fossil-collecting expedition around the Port’s weathered cliffs and coastal rocks. It’s special to walk around this area and imagine it being the land of dinosaurs 150 million years ago.
Walk between the Sand Dunes
Port Waikato has expansive acres of sand dunes, a magical playground you will love climbing up and rolling down!
So grab your sand shoes (black sand can get hot!) and tumble and romp your way through the windswept sandy fields stretched beside the Waikato River as it meets the Tasman Sea.
Awash with the evening sun, the endlessly beautiful sand dunes are also a perfect spot for gazing at the sunset and, clicking amazing selfies!
The sand dunes entrance is an easy five-minute stroll from the camp ground.