Tutukaka Coast: Bays and Pools
Tutukaka Coast is one of the many places in New Zealand that every traveler shouldn’t miss. If you love the sea, sun, and sand, this is paradise; if you don’t, the coast might change your mind. This is one of the best locations that we have visited since living in NZ.
The second day, of our four-day holiday, was set for exploring the beaches and the ever-famous Mermaid Pools.
If you cruise along Matapouri Road towards Marina Road from Sandy Bay Retreat, you’ll drive past some great spots including Sandy Bay, Woolley’s Bay, Whale Bay, and Matapouri Bay. We decided to park at the Whale Bay entrance and then figure out where the path towards the Mermaid Pools is located.
At the entrance, there was a map explaining the different routes leading to Matapouri Bay. However, there was no mention of Mermaid Pools. Upon consulting with Google, many bloggers have posted some information about the “possible” location which was somewhere around the Matapouri Bay area. So, we made the decision of following the trail until we locate the Mermaid Pools.
The first stop was Whale Bay. We could lounge here all day! The water was calm, clear, clean, refreshing, and most importantly “shallow” (haha!). It’s a great place to snorkel, we got to see the occasional schools of white bait swimming close to the shore and some goby wandering amongst the rocks, not as many fish species as Poor Knights Islands but it was still a beautiful sight.
As we continued to follow the track, we saw the most amazing sight! (The photo does not justify the actual view) The Whale Bay Lookout gives you a great view of the bays and the islands in the area. It is a really steep area without any railings though, so make sure you take extra care when taking those selfies.
Before finally arriving in Matapouri Bay, we made a quick stop at Pebble Bay. As the name entails, rather than seeing white/ brown sand similar to Whale Bay, you’ll instead be welcomed by a nice carpet of tiny, smooth stones. It’s a nice and quiet spot, great for people hoping for a bit of privacy. Although, be warned that the sea can be rough around this area especially during high tide.
The end of the track led to Matapouri Bay. After re-reading the information on one of the blogs, we realized that it was a bit of a mission to continue to the Mermaid Pools while the tide was still high. So we just spent the rest of the time lounging and taking a quick nap before heading back to the Whale Bay car park.
Kay & Gelo