Whitianga is another of those towns that have over recent years experience very rapid growth. But with Whitianga there is history that is recorded from Captain Cook’s arrival at Cooks Beach. (a ferry ride away). Whitianga is the assumed ‘capitol’ of east Coromandel Peninsula.
This large sheltered bay was named by Captain Cook when he observed in 1769 the transit of Mercury.
The excerpt from Wikipedia… “From Cook's journal - "my reasons for putting in here were the hopes of discerning a good harbour and the desire I had of being in some convenient place to observe the Transit of Mercury, which happens on the 9th instant and will be wholly visible here if the day is clear between 5 and 6 o'clock." The sighting of the Transit of Mercury is commemorated at Cooks Beach by a cairn of Coromandel granite which tells the story; "In this bay was anchored 5 Nov 1769, HMS Endeavour Lieutenant James Cook RN, Commander. He observed the transit of Mercury and named this bay."
The original European settlement was situated on the opposite side of the river from approximately 1836 to 1881.
Whitianga is a great town, is vibrant and worth a number of days visit.