Whakatāne and the East Coast have an abundance of activities for visitors and locals to enjoy. Here are some gems in these areas you may not have been to yet or heard about through the grapevine. Summer is the perfect time to check them out.
1. Blueberry Corner
Those whose taste buds delight in the flavour of blueberry will be in heaven at Blueberry Corner.
This gem is a fully-functioning berry orchard, specialising in blueberries for export and domestic supply. It has an onsite shop where you can experience everything blueberry - including viewing the grading and packing through glass viewing windows.
Beat the summer heat with delicious natural fruit icecreams, along with fresh berries straight from the orchard.
2. Wairaka Centennial Park
Families can have a morning or afternoon of fun and get active at Wairaka Centennial Park.
The park sits alongside the Whakatāne River at the Whakatāne Heads.
It includes a zero-depth water play area, a playground, and a swimming area for older children.
There is plenty to keep the kids entertained, and the barbecues, picnic tables and shade structures mean a day of it can be made with some delicious kai too.
3. Otarawairere Bay
Take a dip to cool down in the summer heat at Otarawairere Bay and let the children (carefully) explore the rock pools featured at each end of the beach.
This hidden jewel has walking and boating access only. The tracks from Otarawairere village and from the Kohi Point walking tracks are suitable for active people.
The sheltered, white-shell beach backed by mature forest is a perfect example of a "pōhutukawa paradise".
You can make a beach day of it by taking along a packed or picnic lunch, perhaps a book to enjoy, and don't forget the sunscreen!
4. Motu Trails
Those who like get out, active and feel the wind in their hair can explore the Motu Trails.
Whether you are cycling, walking or running, it offers a beautiful outdoor experience worth all the effort.
Motu Trails is one of the Great Rides on The New Zealand Cycle Trail, starting from Opotiki in the eastern Bay of Plenty.
There are three main trails to choose from, with other trails across the district.
Guided tours are available with Mighty Motu Bike Tours (www.mightymotu.co.nz).
5. Te Waiu o Pukemaire/Braemar Springs
Braemar Springs is just one of the many beautiful swimming holes in the district - and a perfect way to refresh on a hot summer day.
It is filled with fresh water from deep underground and provides an ideal spot to lay out the blankets and enjoy a whānau picnic or a tranquil meal with your loved one.
6. Ōpōtiki Museum
Those who enjoy history and being transported back into the past will find plenty to immerse themselves in at the Ōpōtiki Museum.
On the ground floor, there is an extensive collection of implements and vehicles.
There are displays highlighting saddlery, printing, candle-making, shearing, engineering, the dairy industry, along with a barber's shop.
Early pioneer photographs and an exhibition focused on the importance of shipping in early Ōpōtiki occupy the mezzanine floor, while 12 heritage rooms trace history from the arrival of pioneers to the 1930s on the Elvira Sundell third floor, along with the Whakatohea Research and Archives Taonga (Treasures of the past).
Make sure you head along to learn all about the past of Ōpōtiki and what has led to it becoming the charming town it is today.
7. Ōhope Harbourside Trail
The Ōhope Harbourside Trail is a great, easy option for cyclists and walkers alike of all ages and abilities.
It runs along the shoreline of Ōhiwa Harbour, and with a multitude of birdlife, shellfish and fish species, the harbour has long held cultural significance to tangata whenua.
Those traversing the walk can do so with their mind at ease, as it has been designed to ensure the least disruption to the natural environment while allowing for stunning views.
8. Ngā Tapuwae o Toi Trail
Ngā Tapuwae o Toi, or the "Footprints of Toi", is a walking trail with an abundance of things to see, and a must-do for those who are passionate walkers.
It includes pā sites of major historic significance, native forest, spectacular pōhutukawa stands, coastal views, seabird colonies, forest birds, plantation forest and rural vistas.
The track includes three major scenic reserves - Kohi Point Scenic Reserve, Ōhope Scenic Reserve and Mokorua Scenic Reserve.
If you intend to complete the entire 16-kilometre round trip, it is recommended you do so in a clockwise direction, as the track is far more challenging going in the opposite direction.
9. Mataatua Wharenui
After more than 130 years away, New Zealand's only repatriated and most-travelled Māori meeting house, Mataatua Wharenui, has come home. It stands once again as the unifying soul of the Ngāti Awa, one of the Māori tribes of the Bay of Plenty.
Built in 1875, Mataatua Wharenui travelled to Sydney, Melbourne, Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK, Dunedin and Otago. Finally, in 2011 it was rebuilt in its place of origin, Whakatāne.
Mataatua's experiences provide an opportunity for intimate engagement with the people of Ngāti Awa.
Those who visit will be enthralled as the carvings and legends of Ngāti Awa are brought to life through world-class digital technology.
10. Awakeri Rail Adventures
The Awakeri Rail Adventures are a unique, fun-filled way to travel along a piece of New Zealand's rich rail history.
The experience truly is an adventure, as the railcars are fully self-drive and the track includes four bridges, numerous cuttings and bush scenes.
Being in complete control of the rail vehicle means there is no shortage of opportunity to get some scenic photographs to add to the 'Gram or photo album.