Tolaga Bay is our gateway to the coast, steeped in historical and cultural significance. Our Eastcoast region is a region of firsts. First to see the sun, in the world, first for our Maori people via Maui and first for our European people via Captain Cook. It is rich in beauty, history and raw Eastcoast hospitality.
The Tolaga Bay Inn was originally built in 1886 by Blind Charlie for Captain Glover. Years later it was destroyed in a tragic fire and rebuilt again in 1930. Architecturally designed by French-Canadian architect Sholto Smith, the Tolaga Bay Inn is a classic example of the Tudor House design he became famous for. The Tolaga Bay Inn is one of just 100 buildings the celebrated Smith designed in New Zealand, and one of just two commercial buildings he designed in this style.
About the hotel
The Tolaga Bay Inn is one of the last remaining historic hotels on the East Coast, with a history of caring for locals, traders and travellers for over a century. We are currently undergoing a restoration and preservation project of the Inn. It is our turn to give back to her as she has serviced our community for over 130 years.
Your host is Lily Stender, a descendant of the coast and one of the trustees of the Tolaga Bay Inn Charitable Trust. Our vision is to keep our history alive for future generations. Our mission is to restore and preserve the Inn by utilising her as a vehicle for economic, social and cultural development in our community.
Some of our initiatives are the creation of an in-house information centre, fostering the development of local tourism experiences and showcasing arts and crafts from our local people. We have also aligned with several key organisations to provide training opportunities - EIT (Eastern Institute of Technology, Super Grans, Digital Wings, Stepping Up & 20/20 Trust.
About Tolaga Bay
Tolaga Bay was named by Lt. James Cook in 1769, but the original Māori name is Uawa Nui A Ruamatua.
Our region is rugged, remote and absolutely stunning.
Tolaga Bay boasts a number of world class swimming and surfing beaches. These come alive over the Christmas and New Year freedom camping period. But, those looking for a more secluded getaway can always find their own pocket of paradise. The Tolaga Bay Inn provides sanctuary to campers and beach goers – whether it’s respite from the heat and a cold ice-cream on a scorching summer’s day, or a decent coffee for those with a craving.
Tolaga Bay is also home to the Tolaga Bay Wharf - the longest in New Zealand at 600m. It was built in the 1920s to accommodate visiting vessels and the last cargo ship to use the wharf loaded a cargo of maize in 1967. By 1998, the wharf had deteriorated and was in danger of being closed. In response, the Tolaga Bay Save the Wharf Trust raised funds and gained technical help to restore it. The wharf has now been completely refurbished and is a key visitor attraction for the town.