Matai/Maitai Bay

We are confused, it’s not only us that don’t know how to spell Matai/Maitai Bay, it seems as those in the know don’t either.


The two maps we carry with us also has the different spellings so we guess its either/or.

And what a place, a stunning location which has been aided by the glorious weather, we just cannot believe that this is supposedly winter as we sit outside wearing shorts and T-shirts, basking in glorious sunshine soaking up the warmth.  The Bay itself is very sheltered with hardly a ripple seen on the water.  Our parking site is on the top part overlooking the Bay from about midway.

20northLooking north19southLooking south

One morning there was early morning mist providing good photo opportunities.

5mistatmaitai 6seamist

At the south end of the Bay is another part of the camping area which is a little soft underfoot at this time of the year but we did venture down to look back up the bay to where our vehicles are parked.

8north and vans 10vans

The vans in the middle of the Bay     A close up view

A day out and about was called for so we packed ourselves up to explore more of the Karikari Peninsular with the first stop Tokerau Beach.  This is a huge stretch of golden sand that seems to go on for miles.  We headed out to where we know motorhomes are allowed to park to see what the area is like.  We will definitely be coming here in the next week or two for a stay.  But as it is more exposed, we will have to make sure that we are here at Tokerau Beach when the winds are favourable.

11tokorau 12tokorau

Tokerau Beach looking north             and south

Up behind the beach at Tokerau and through the sand dunes is a large body of fresh water called Coka Cola Lake.  It’s not the bottom of the lake that is the colour of the popular beverage that is apparently best drunk with rum, it’s the actual water itself.  The area is surrounded by a lot of peat and it’s this evidently that gives it the colour.  The water is very soft and is supposedly very good  for your skin and hair. We shall report back later once we have checked out these properties.  The lake also provides great reflections on a still day.

14cokacolalake 15cokacola reflections

On our return journey we popped into Rangiputa Beach on the west side of the peninsular,  as this is a good bolt hole should the wind prove to be a problem on the east.

16rangiputa Rangiputa

Back to Matai Bay, where the hunter gatherers set out to see if they can gather up a feed of mussels from the rocks at the southern end of the bay.  We had seen a fishermen out on the rocks, not that we had watched him land any fish but we were hopeful.

23fisherLone fisherman

18greatwhitehunters   21whitehunters

The great white hunters out and about!!

Unfortunately the hunter gatherers returned with nothing in their catch bags, meanwhile the women had been dutifully collecting the wood to cook the spoils!  Ok, so we had the gas stoves ready to light but its the same thing isn’t it?

Another day, and this time a walk to the north end of the beach where we hoped to find evidence of collectable shellfish.  The waters were incredibly clear but alas no mussels to gather here.


Clear waters


Pohutukawa with what appeared at a distance to be flowers turned out to be dead leaves.


And finally a couple of dotterels that obviously have a nest in the dunes as they were trying very hard to lead us away from a particular area on the beach.

2 Responses to “Matai/Maitai Bay”

  1. Stuartinnz Says:

    My reference book on this is at work, but my recollection is that Matai is now seen to be a corruption / mistake, and Maitai is the correct name relating to its historic Maori origin / meaning. It’s easier for DoC to make a change / be persuaded of the need for a change (bureaucracy at a local level) than Tranzit (bureaucracy at a national level).

  2. sue Says:

    We have great memories of Matai Bay, our first camping holiday with Mike & Ann

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