Whitianga is located on the eastern side of The Coromandel Peninsula and is the main settlement of Mercury Bay. In November 1769 Captain James Cook, an English explorer, sailed into Cooks Beach to watch the passage of the planet Mercury across the sun, hence the name Mercury Bay.
Today Whitianga is a flourishing coastal town with over 4,000 permanent residents; its deep-water harbour is popular departure point for big game fishing enthusiasts and is the home of the Mercury Bay Boating club.
Whitianga has a wide variety of places to stay, from budget to international standards; there is an excellent selection of restaurants and cafes within walking distance of each other. The sheltered bay makes Whitianga beach an excellent place for surfcasting, swimming, sailboard riding, and yachting. On land there are numerous things to do from mini golf to horse trekking.