Many of my posts will be about New Zealand locations. These are the places I escape to during the weekend. It is a rare month when I don’t get out of Wellington at least once. Some of the places are well known tourist destinations: Queenstown, Auckland and Christchurch etc. Others are lesser known internationally but are favourites among Kiwis. This post about Ohope is an example of the latter.
For many New Zealanders, especially from the North Island, they can recall a childhood memory from Ohope. Ohope often tops polls for New Zealand’s favourite beach. Why is this? Why do generations of Kiwis make the journey over the hill?
I think there are 6 reasons why Ohope is the quintessential Kiwi beach and why regardless of where you’re from you must visit Ohope.
1. Safe but fun surf
The main attraction in Ohope is the long surf beach. The sand isn’t white. It’s grey and hot. Once you have slightly burnt your feet making it to the water you are rewarded by the refreshing surf. It’s not massive. Enough for a novice body boarder or surfer. The surf is enough to be pushed over by the waves. To roll over in the waves and find your way to the surface all ready for the next wave. It’s really, really fun!
2. Port Ohope
When you get sick of swimming in the surf you can literally cross the road and swim in Ohiwa Harbour. It’s a lovely calm harbour. You can swim, fish but my favourite thing is to hire kayaks and explore the islands around the harbour. It’s a safe place to swim and jump off the wharf.
Okay this isn’t the most important thing when you’re a kid but it can be when you get to my age (early 30s). Whenever I can, I venture around the harbour to the Ohiwa Oyster Farm. This unassuming building on the side of the road has fantastic oysters and a stunning view. The chips aren’t the best in the world but the fish is fresh and the battered oysters ($1 each) are amazing.
4. The campground
The Top 10 Holiday Park http://www.ohopebeach.co.nz is a kiwi icon. It is has everything you can think of. Tent sites, budget cabins, beautiful apartments, a pool (complete with a slide) and plenty of activities for the kids. I barely remember seeing my family when we stayed there as kids. There was so much to keep us occupied and prevent my brother and me from fighting. I even got married there. How’s that for an endorsement? We stayed in the apartments and pretty much all of guests stayed at campground is various accommodation according to their budget. We had so much fun visiting everyone the night before drinking and catching up with everyone. It was a fabulous day and it was a perfect, casual day.
5. It’s beautiful with so many kiwi icons
Crimson pohutukawa flowers (NZ Christmas trees) cling to the cliffs above Westend. The water is clean and clear. From the beach you can see an active volcano (how NZ is that?). White Island is an active volcano you can visit. Plus the water has been known to glow at night
6. It’s actually pretty quiet
Even at the height of summer you can still find a place on the beach. You can spread out on your towels and still have at least 5m between you and your neighbours. There’s no one charging you for a spot or trying to sell you anything.
My favourite time to go to Ohope is February. Kids are back at school so it’s a little quieter. The weather is settled. Surf, fishing, oysters and ice cream. That’s my perfect beach holiday. So make sure you go and experience it for yourself!
What do you think makes a perfect beach? Does Ohope fit your ideal beach?
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