"Opunake" – translates to "the place of the prow of the canoe", which in the Maori language originally referred to the bay or the beach.
Situated on the beachfront overlooking a magnificent black sand surf beach, Opunake is world famous for its surf and is known as the “Home of the Big Wave”. Opunake also offers a wide range of retail shops - from food services through to amazing boutique gift shops and art galleries.
Egmont National Park draws tourists from far and wide, and has become a year round attraction to walkers, campers as well as gaining reputation as a popular ski field during the winter months.
The famous Surf Highway 45 runs through this quirky coastal town. Opunake is known for its great surf breaks both here and along the coast. There is an artificial surf reef, and you can expect great deep sea fishing, boating, and windsurfing opportunities- in fact, this is the place for virtually any water sport you can think of!
Opunake has a relaxed beachy atmoshphere, attracting a large number holiday makers and artisans. It is a friendly community with numerous facilities and activities including a community-owned picture theatre, colourful murals, and an indoor heated swimming pool. And of course some very friendly locals!
Numerous celebrities and well-known New Zealanders were born or lived in coastal Opunake. These include former Prime Minister Jim Bolger, All Blacks Graeme Mourie, Carl Hayman and Mark Robinson, Olympic Gold medalist Peter Snell, opera singer Dame Malvina Major, Sir Roderick Deane, Chairman of Telecom NZ, and Lord Ernest Rutherford who discovered the atomic nucleus and won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1908!