About an hour's drive south of Gisborne, Mahia Peninsula is a favourite spot for holidaymakers and campers, and is known for its distinctive fish-hook shape. The Maori settlement of Mahia Beach township dates back to the 12th century, when the Kurahaupo canoe made landfall here. Later, it became an important whaling station, and was the site of the former Mokatahi Station.

The Mahia Peninsula area is a mecca for surfers and the sweeping, golden sand beaches provide some of the country's best waves, including beach, point and reef breaks. Mahanga Beach is well known for its surf, and also provides safe swimming and boogie boarding. Offshore, the clear waters offer excellent diving and game fishing, and for nature enthusiasts, there is birdwatching at Mangawhio Reserve. North of Mahia Beach, visitors can relax in the natural hot springs at the town of Morere. Other activities include bushwalking at the area's scenic reserves, mountain biking and marae visits.