Hawkesbury Lagoon and Wild Life Refuge (Waikouaiti)
This semi-tidal lagoon has more than 26 different species of birds. Black swans now breed there along with Mallards, Paradise and Shell Duck, NZ Shoveler and many more nest at the side of the Lagoon. Spoonbills have been seen on the lagoon in recent years in groups of 30 or 40. There is a lovely walking track across the causeway which has been planted with NZ Natives leading down to the beach. The Hawkesbury Lagoon website is here..
St John’s Anglican Church (Waikouaiti)
St John’s Anglican Church on Beach Street, Waikouaiti, is the first Church built in Otago. It has a Historic Places Trust “1” classification, registration no. 334. The land for the Church was donated by Johnny Jones in 1857. Johnny Jones also provided the money for the building and arranged a generous endowment for its support. The church was designed by DW Mountford and built with native timber taken from the Hawkesbury bush. The Church was opened on Sunday the 19th of December 1858. It features spectacular lead light windows.
Otago’s first Farm established by Johnny Jones around 1840. There is a stable, a granary, a school house, a privy and a farm shed still standing today. These are probably the oldest surviving farm buildings in NZ and they are sign posted from State Highway One. Inside the farm shed is an old whaling boat. The buildings are cared for by the Historic Places Trust and are open to the public.
Waikouaiti Coast Heritage Centre
The Waikouaiti Coast Heritage Centre comprises of two buildings and a repica Cobb & Co coach. There is a Heritage NZ category one 1869 BNZ bank building, open to the public for a $5 guided tour (children free). The second building is the new modern heritage centre including a gift shop, which displays and sells local craft/art items, quality gift items and souvenirs, most are unique to the area. There is also a display of heritage items and an extensive collection of research information in relation to the history of the surrounding area. OPEN 1-4pm Wednesday and Thursday, 10-4pm Friday to Sunday and most public holidays.
Waikouaiti Beach is approximately 4km long and the picturesque bay curves between the township of Waikouaiti and Karitane. Local race horse trainers train their horses along the beach at low tide most days. This is a great beach for walking or biking at low tide, or take a seat along Matanaka Drive and enjoy the beautiful view.
Waikouaiti River and Estuary
The beautiful Waikouaiti River is popular for white baiting, eeling, fishing, kayaking, swimming and birdwatching. In the summer months families enjoy searching for cockles and crabs in the sand at the river mouth. There is a great view of Sir Truby King’s historic homestead from the river mouth. The local River Care group has planted hundreds of natives plants along the banks of the river and large groups of spoonbills can be seen feeding at low tide.
Waikouaiti Golf Course
The Waikouaiti Golf Course is situated on Edinburgh Street in Waikouaiti bordered by the beach on one side and the scenic Hawkesbury Lagoon on the other. It is a 9 hole course with 18 tee areas. Green fee players are welcome. Women’s competition day is Tuesday and Club competition Saturday.
Waikouaiti Community Library
The Waikouaiti Community Library is located on State Highway One in Waikouaiti, Ph 4657 807. The public library first opened in Waikouaiti in 1862. It is now one of four community libraries in the Dunedin Libraries’ Network. The library is a warm, welcoming facility offering a broad range of books, magazines, DVD’s, CD’s and talking books for adults. The Children’s section is a fun, friendly place to spend time, with a comprehensive range of books, puzzles and games to keep children entertained. Internet searching is free and fast. The library also has daily newspapers, an extensive local history collection, catalogue online, book discussion groups, meeting spaces, sunny window seats, toilet and baby changing facilities. A great place to visit.
Karitane is a coastal town on the mouth of the Waikouaiti River, and has some commercial sea fishing vessels and a paua farm. It has an important history, including that of the early Maori, whalers, the first white settlers in Otago and Sir Truby King.
Karitane has a primary school, a community hall, a small shop, holiday accommodation, a cafe, a swimming beach, and an inlet formed by the Waikouaiti River.
Huriawa Peninsula Reserve and Walkway (Karitane)
Huriawa Peninsula is the site of Pa a Te Wera, where Te Wera outlasted Taoka in a six month siege of the pa.. This area has been developed by the Department of Conservation and Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki. When using the walkway remember that this is private land owned by the Runaka. Out of respect for the local people please do not dig or remove plants. The walkway passes the blow holes where the incoming tide is forced up through the rocks. Views from the walkway are spectacular out over Taiaroa Heads to the South and Matainaka and Butterfly bay to the North. Plaques along the way tell the history of the area and show the site of the old Waikouaiti Whaling Station and Tavern.
On the Water
Karitāne Māori Tours is owned and operated by Kāti Huirapa ki Puketeraki, the local Maori iwi (people) of the area who wanted to share their passion for waka (canoes) and cultural practices with people from all over the world. The waka are a combination of old and new, double-hulled and outrigger. The revitalisation of waka on the Waikouaiti River follows the strong cultural traditions of the past in the area, and links the people of Kāti Huirapa to the landscape.
Karitāne Māori Tours also hires kayaks, perfect for a relaxed paddle around the lower river and estuary. The Waikouaiti River is home to seals, sealions, and a multitude of bird life.
Karitane beach is a popular surfing beach and even in the winter time surfers can be seen enjoying the waves. In summer time the population of Karitane increases dramatically as the Cribbies come out to enjoy the beaches and river. Enjoy searching for crabs, starfish and shell fish off the rocks at either end of the beach of simply walking along the beach. Sea lions can often be seen basking in the sun on the beach. Natures playground for Children.
This is a purpose built facility on the Main Road in Waikouaiti that caters for a range of uses:
- Sports Events
- Cultural Activities
- Social Functions
The Johnny Jones Auditorium:
The auditorium has basket ball, volley ball, netball & badminton courts marked across it. There are change room facilities including metered showers. The stage area is a feature of the Auditorium, but can be hired separately. The kitchen facilities are close to the Auditorium. This provides the opportunity for catering for large functions such as weddings and reunions.
Committee Room and John Brown Function Room:
These two smaller areas can be hired individually or opened up to create a larger space suitable for small functions and meetings. Access to the kitchen and foyer are adjacent to these rooms.
Andrew Noone Board Room:
The board room is an upstairs venue designed for meetings and smaller functions.
This area can be hired on its own for activities such as displays.
This upstairs area, providing views into the Johnny Jones Auditorium, caters for 60 people. Children must be supervised while up here.
Other items available:
Within the venue include crockery and cutlery for hire for large functions, internet connection and telephone connection.
Maximum Room Capacities:
The total maximum capacity for the East Otago Events Centre complex is 500 people. This includes the Doctors Surgery and the Plunket room.
Meeting Room 20 people
John Brown Function Room 65 people
Andrew Noone Board Room 25 people
Foyer 120 people.
First Floor Viewing area 60 people
Phone: 027 340 8176