The bay is full of fishing boats and pleasure craft belonging to big-game anglers and divers. Kupe, the legendary Polynesian seafarer, is said to have fished here. It was here too that Captain Cook hoisted the British flag in 1769 and took possession of New Zealand in the name of George III; the scientists traveling with him observed the transit of Mercury, thereby giving the bay its name.
Whitianga, New Zealand
Some 70km north of Thames, beautifully situated in Mercury Bay, is the popular holiday resort of Whitianga (pop. 3,000).Vast quantities of kauri timber and thousands of tonnes of resin from the Coromandel Peninsula were shipped from Whitianga.
Whitianga - Shakespeare Cliffs
At Shakespeare Cliffs (easily reached from Ferry Landing) is a monument to Captain Cook, who lay at anchor here in his ship, the Endeavor.
Hahei, New Zealand
A few kilometers east of Whitianga is Hahei, with a beautiful beach, at the end of which is the Cathedral Cave.
Cathedral cave is a wide sea cave hollowed out by the force of the waves. There is a lane from the town center to a parking lot from which the cave can be reached on foot.
Hot Water Beach
To the south of Hahei is Hot Water Beach, where thermal springs gush out of the ground right on the beach.
Kuaotunu, New Zealand
Northeast of Whitianga is Kuaotunu, once a flourishing gold-mining town but now almost deserted.