NZ Gps: 35° 1' 37.3584" S 173° 55' 6.7872" E
This bay is a stunner! This is one of the rare bays that you get to see from above before you descend down to it. The usual approach to most bays is along the stream that flows into the bay…and thus, you rarely see down onto the bay you’re approaching. The other notable exception is Piha…remember how pretty it looked from above? Not only do you get to look down on Matauri’s green/yellow/blue splendor… there are also the islands dotting the seascape, making this a view you’ll remember!
At the beach you’ll find a large day-use area and a superb beachside full-service campground. Tent sites are only $12pp—a real bargain—these are beachfront sites! The camp store also has petrol, booze, ice, groceries and scuba-diving supplies.
Matauri Bay’s calling card, other than its beauty, is it’s the jumping off point for dives on the sunken “Rainbow Warrior.” The Greenpeace boat was bombed and sunk in 1985 by French secret service personnel while it sat in Auckland harbour. This was the first act of terrorism ever on New Zealand soil. In 1987 the wreck was brought here—the Cavalli Islands, to become a scuba-dive site.
Atop Matauri Bay’s headland, via a 7-minute path, is a sculpture memorial to the Rainbow Warrior, and a stunning view of a stunning place—a must see!