The Wharekawa Lodge was once the site of the Wharekawa Native School, which opened in 1909 with 31 students and consisted of the schoolhouse and a house for the teacher. The schoolhouse was built in 1908 in nearby Taungatara and moved by bullock to the Wharekawa River where it was floated along to its current site. These buildings remain at the heart of Wharekawa Lodge today.
In 1912, the school changed its name to Opoutere Māori School, to reflect the name now adopted for the area. Opoutere means “place of floating posts”. Opoutere School moved to its present site on the state highway in 1953 and the original school site opened as a youth hostel soon after. At the start of the 20th century, there was a settlement of about 50 people near the mouth of the harbour, with a store, a bakery and a post office.
Wharekawa Lodge is in a prime location with the views out over the Wharekawa Harbour, the beech forest and the spit. The lodge is surrounded by mature native forest and redwood trees. Birdsong resonates from the resident native birds including tui, kaka and kereru. It is a place with a deep wairua and a place of significance.
The shores of the Wharekawa Harbour are home to a wide range of wetland and inter-tidal plant communities. Opoutere Beach is the last great undeveloped sand surf beach on the Coromandel. As well as bush walks including a track to the top of Maungaruawahine. Wharekawa Lodge is close to the Maungaruawahine Terraces and Midden, and Maungaruawahine Pā site, which are Category 2 Historic Places – places of historical or cultural significance or value. It is a short drive to Whangamatā Ridges Mountain Bike Park, and to Whangamatā and Onemana townships.