The Opunake district has many attractions, both for the casual sightseer and for those who are holidaying for a period, and all within short distances. The most obvious attraction is of course the superb Opunake Beach.
This lovely sheltered sandy bay is ideal for the family group, for swimming is possible at any time of the tide. Although the beach is a very safe one for swimming, the energetic Opunake Surf life Club patrols the beach during weekends and the holiday period in summer. There are plenty of sheltered spots for sunbathing, picnics and barbecues, and the camping ground is of course right on the beach.
There is always plenty of surf along the coast and surfing is a very popular pastime, especially at the north end of Opunake Beach and at Greenmeadows .
The whole coast is renowned for its sea foods including paua, crayfish, whitebait, schnapper and kahawai. Surfcrasting can be expensive however, unless care is taken to avoid the rocky coast. The best area to launch boats for fishing and cruising is at Middleton'S Bay, just north of Opunake Bay. Sandy Bay, just north of the mouth of the Oaonui River is famous for its seagull colony and other birdlife. The pipeline from the Maui oil field came ashore here, but it did not disturb the birdlife.
The Taranaki streams are famous for their trout, and anglers should have success on the Waiau, Otahi and Okahu streams. The lake at Opunake, recently developed by the lions, has become increasingly popular, especially for boating.
It is an ideal place for youngsters to develop skills necessary for rowing, canoeing and yachting for it is sheltered and shallow. It is also excellent for water skiing. A ramp leads down from Layard Street.
Mt Egmont National Park is within a few minutes drive of Opunake and provides the other major attraction of the area and is a paradise for trampers, climbers and skiers. Many well defined paths make a 2-3 hour tramp through the native. bush a very pleasant experience, and spots like Dawson Falls, as well as providing rgood picnic facilities, offer magnificent views over the countryside.
It is possible to' ski in the Dawson Falls area, but better skiing and facilities are available at the Stratford Plateau, one hour from Opunake.
Other places of interest in the area to visit include the Cape Egmont Lighthouse near Pungarehu, the pa site at Te Namu, the historic cemetery by the lake, the buried village in Kahui Road, Parihaka Pa and the redoubt at Pungarehu. And just in case the weather turns wet, Everybody's Theatre runs pictures several night a week, with numerous matinees in the holiday season.
The Opunake Walkway is the longest of the formal South Taranaki walks and takes you beside the opunake Lake, across the clifftops, providing coastal vistas before offering country views and rural scenery. Suitable for walkers with low-medium fitness, the trail has a variable terrain of grass, footpaths and gravel pathways and is hilly in places. The round trip is approximately 7 kilometres and will take 2)1,-3 hours. You can start at any point on the trail, although popular starting points are Lion's Lookout (7), at the Secret Garden (8) or at the lake (10). Cyclists can expect a ride at a 2-3 grade.