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Cook's Coast beaches
From the seaside town of Whitianga you can catch a ferry across the harbour mouth to the Stone Steps Wharf - the start of Cook's Coast. Alternatively, you can drive about 35 kilometres around the harbour.

The Stone Steps wharf was built in 1837 by unskilled labour using large stone blocks. From here you can walk or catch a shuttle to Front Beach, Flaxmill Bay, Shakespeare Cliff, Lonely Bay and Cooks Beach.

Front Beach and Flaxmill Bay are sheltered, north-facing beaches that are ideal for swimming and rock pool explorations. Flaxmill or Homestead Bay is at the base of Shakespeare Cliff. In 1769, the famous explorer Captain Cook beached his ship the Endeavour here to carry out maintenance on the hull.

A short walk out onto the top of Shakespeare Cliff reveals sweeping views across the wide Mercury Bay. South of Shakespeare Cliff are Lonely Bay and Cooks Beach. Isolated from other beaches by steep cliffs, the beautiful Lonely Bay can only be reached via a short, steep walking track from the Cook Memorial.

Cooks Beach offers a three-kilometre, gently curving white sand beach - ideal for swimming, walking and sunbathing. This is a popular holiday destination for locals and a pleasant seaside settlement of holiday homes has established itself here over the years.