Despite being a country that is a very popular international travel destination, there are many areas of New Zealand that are often overlooked and rarely visited.
Mokau is one of these locations. Despite being an amazing seaside location for a weekend getaway, it’s almost always missed by travellers.
However, although often overlooked, it really shouldn’t be. There are few better places in New Zealand to enjoy the ocean and have a break from the cities.
Mokau has a few different attractions and there are some things to do in the township itself. But, in this post I want to focus on the beach and how it makes for an ideal getaway.
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A sunset at Mokau Beach!
Mokau is a small town that is located on the west coast of New Zealand. It is located in the Waikato region, just outside of the borders of Taranaki region.
Mokau township is located at the mouth of the Mokau River. The river comes from a natural spring in a forest located further inland. The river is decently sized, and the river-mouth is a common place for travellers to stop.
The town is very small, and less than 500 people live there permanently. However, in the summer months, the area will be far busier as it’s a popular summer destination.
The main road that goes between Auckland (and Hamilton) and New Plymouth also passes straight through the township, making it quite busy at times.
You can find a few small museums and restaurants located within the town, however, you will find that you can explore everything in a matter of hours.
This isn’t the reason that most people visit Mokau though. Rather, they come to get away from the cities and to enjoy the stunning beaches.
I’ve already written a few articles about the many wonderful beaches in New Zealand, and Mokau is yet another one of the beautiful beaches that the country has to offer.
How to Get to Mokau
Getting to Mokau isn’t the easiest or most convenient. Unfortunately, this is the case for many rural locations in New Zealand.
Luckily, there is a way to get to Mokau without personal transport! In saying that however, a private method of transport will make your trip to Mokau far more convenient.
While getting to Mokau is possible, travelling to nearby beaches without a rental car will be very difficult. Since beaches such as Tongaporutu are around 15km away, these are out of the question since Mokau has virtually no public transport.
Getting to Mokau can be done via intercity bus. The best place to get intercity buses currently is Intercity (yes, it’s called Intercity). It’s possible to catch a bus for less than $30, however, the demand will change the price.
As I already mentioned, if you travel to Mokau via bus, you will not have many options when it comes to exploring the nearby beaches. For this reason, a hire car is highly recommended.
If you don’t mind staying around the township and local beaches, a car isn’t needed.
Where to Stay
Cloudy day at Tongaporutu.
There are rather limited accommodation options in Mokau due to the small size and population of the town. However, there are still some nice options that will give you access to the amazing nature of Mokau.
The first option is the Mokau Motel. This motel is located near the township and will give you quick access to the food options in the town, and will also allow you to reach the beach within a short walk.
If you want easy access to the town, this is one of the best options. While it doesn’t have beach access as quick as places such as the Seaview Holiday Park, it still offers access within a few minutes.
A second option that is also very popular is the Seaview Holiday Park. This is where I have usually stayed when visiting as it offers accommodation mere seconds from the beach.
The only issue with the holiday park is that it is located outside of the Mokau township. If you don’t have a rental car, this may not be the best option. While you can walk to the town, it is a decent walk.
The Seaview Holiday Park offers tent and caravan sites as well as cabins. The cabins are small and offer beds for up to 4 people. They also offer a kitchen. However, the bathrooms are shared.
Finally, another option is the Whitebait Inn. This inn is located right inside the town of Mokau and is also the most popular restaurant in the town. Therefore, you will know that you have easy access to dining!
The Whitebait Inn is located just a short walk from the beach. While you can easily see the ocean from the Whitebait Inn, it is located at the top of a cliff face. This means that getting beach access will take a few minutes, even though the beach is easily visible from the inn.
New Zealand offers many great beaches, and Mokau is yet another of those great beaches.
The black sand beaches at Mokau are expansive and continue for kilometres in every direction. There are also multiple river months that can be found along the beach, making for some interesting tidal areas.
It is very important to monitor tide times – especially in this region. Many of the beaches are met with cliff faces, and you want to make sure that you won’t be caught on the beach when the tide rises.
This isn’t a big concern, as you will still have many hours to explore the beaches, however, it is something that you should keep an eye on.
The beaches are black sand as I mentioned, and this means that the sand can get very hot at times. For this reason, it’s important to bring footwear to the sand and to make sure that you have a towel or something else to sit on.
The whole atmosphere of the beach is very calming. While there are great beaches in many of the cities of New Zealand, they often come with sound, crowds, and other downsides.
Mokau Beach, on the other hand, is almost always very quiet and calm. The main road is far enough away that you can’t hear traffic or other sounds, and the whole area just feels calm.
It is for that reason that I think that this is one of the better beaches to go to for a summer vacation. While there are many other vacation spots, not many come with the calmness and serenity of Mokau in the summer.
If you are looking for a place to have the ultimate calming summer vacation (or even in other seasons!), then Mokau is the place to visit.
Everything you need to know about New Plymouth’s Coastal Walkway.
Tongaporutu is a famous beach that is located between New Plymouth and Mokau. It’s located a short drive from Mokau and around an hour away from New Plymouth.
The beach is located at the mouth of the river with the same name (Tongaporutu). The beach is famous for its rock formations, especially the three sisters.
If you are visiting Tongaporutu, expect to get dirty. The river mouth is covered with mud, and you must pass through it to reach the beach.
The mud is very slippery, and even if you try to stay clean and dry it is likely that you will trip over or get dirty somehow. Therefore, sturdy footwear that can get dirty is best.
Walking from the car park to the beach will take around 15 minutes, and the walk itself is quite scenic along the riverbank.
Tongaporutu Beach is perhaps the most iconic beach in the Mokau area, and it’s a fantastic beach for photos. If you are someone who loves photography, then make sure that this beach is on your itinerary.
White Cliffs is another stunning beach located between New Plymouth and Mokau in the northern Taranaki region.
To reach White Cliffs a medium difficulty walk is required. This walk is also very long and takes around five hours. However, the walk is well worth it, and the views are stunning!
From the car park, you will walk over farmland on the cliffs above the beach. Eventually, the path will go down towards the beach and you can enjoy the summer beaches of New Zealand.
If the tide is low, you will be able to walk back to the car park along the beach. For this reason, it’s important to plan the walk in advance. While you will be able to return along the highland, the beach is a nicer walk.
Mokau – The Ultimate Summer Vacation Spot?
All in all, I think I can say that Mokua is a fantastic place for a summer getaway. Whether you are looking to leave the city for a few days, or even a month, you can have a great (and very relaxing) time at Mokau.
The only real downside is that getting to Mokau is quite difficult if you don’t have a personal method of transportation. While Mokau can be reached by bus, you can only get to Mokau – not the other beaches located a few kilometres away.
Are there any summer getaway locations in Taranaki or Waikato that you would recommend? If so, let me know! I would love to add them to the list.