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Your guide to Māhia
All About Māhia
Rugged grassy cliffs slide into white-sand beaches where turquoise waters lap the shore on the edge of the Mahia Peninsula, on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Located in the Hawke’s Bay region, the peninsula sits between the towns of Wairoa and Gisborne. The township is tiny, with a year-round population of only about 500, although this number swells significantly over the summer when visitors flood the region to surf, fish, dive, and kayak here.
A number of beaches dot the peninsula. Māhia Beach is generally safe and relatively shallow, making this a popular choice for families. Black’s Beach is known for its inky black sand. If you’re looking to catch some waves, head to Mahanga Beach and the Reefs for the best surf spots in the region. Māhia Peninsula Scenic Reserve is one of the largest areas of lowland coastal forest. You can take a two-mile track through the reserve that can be steep in places, but there are plenty of rest areas and picnic spots among the native trees to catch your breath and refuel along the two-hour loop.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Māhia
Māhia’s location in the Southern Hemisphere means that its seasons are opposite from the ones you’re used to in the U.S. The best months to visit are the summer months of December to February, when the beaches are at their warmest. You’ll experience long days with mild temperatures.
Fall and spring offer cool, temperate weather, perfect for hiking around the scenic reserve. Winter is from June to August and brings mild, dry days with blue skies and temperatures remaining cool but never too cold. The Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival featuring live music, theater, and circus performances occurs for ten days in October.
Top things to do in Māhia
About a 30-minute drive to the west of Māhia township is the town of Wairoa, which sits on the banks of the Wairoa River. Check out the small community museum in a former bank building, with exhibitions on the history and heritage of the area, as well as a Victorian wooden lighthouse you can explore.
New Zealand Wine Trail
The New Zealand Wine Trail is a great way to explore three of the country’s main wine regions. From your accommodation in Māhia, you can pick up the trail at Hawke’s Bay in Napier or Hastings, two towns with Art Deco-style architecture from the 1930s, and follow it all the way to Blenheim on the South Island.
Piko O Te Rangi
Piko O Te Rangi, or the Coronation Reserve, is located on the eastern side of the peninsula, and the hollow rock basin here was used for baptisms in the mid-19th century. You’ll find rocky outcrops and rock pools to explore at Piko O Te Rangi, along with places to fish.