Ferry Landing, Cooks Beach and Shakespeare's Cliff
Ferry Landing - accross the harbour from Whitianga, ferry passengers alight at the oldest stone wharf in Australasia, built in 1837. Front Beach & Flaxmill Bay are sheltered north-facing beaches, providing great swimming and rock exploring.
Located between Cooks Beach and Flaxmill Bay is Shakespeare Cliff, an interesting scenic reserve. A very short track leads to a vantage point with memorable views of Mercury Bay. At the site a cairn records the arrival in 1769 of the HMS Endeavour under the command of Lieutenant Captain Cook. "No sea can hurt her..." The famous words of Captain James Cook referring to the original H.M.S. Endeavour. Lonely Bay (walk down from the Shakespeare Reserve) is a highlight of the area.
Cooks Beach is situated just south of Whitianga. Cooks Beach is a 3km crescent of fine golden sand with safe waters flanked by Shakespeare Cliff to the west and the picnic spot of the Purangi River to the east. It can be accessed via Highway 25 (taking the Hot Water Beach turn off) or from Whitianga by passenger Ferry to Ferry Landing; from there it's a 5 minute drive by taxi.