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Bay of Plenty
-> Map of the Bay of Plenty

Our Bay of Plenty travel tips:

Bay of Plenty - View from Mount Maunganui

  • The Bay of Plenty region is an ideal stop between Coromandel and Rotorua
  • Early morning or sunset are the best times to climb to the top of Mount Maunganui
  • If you've ever wondered where New Zealand’s kiwifruit comes from - the region around Te Puke produces more than 80% of it
  • The Waihi open cast gold mine is quite an unusual and interesting view
  • Only a bit further on towards the East Cape is White Island, one of the most spectacular sights in New Zealand

Bay of Plenty region: White Island

Living life at the edge of the sea

The popularity of the Bay of Plenty region continues to soar as more people discover the region's irresistible mix of coastal lifestyle, adventure activities and great dining experiences.

Spectacular beaches attract surfers year round, with Mount Maunganui providing a focus for wave culture. For diving and angling enthusiasts, there are offshore islands, reefs and fishing grounds to visit.

In terms of adventure, local specialities include blokarting (land sailing), sky diving and dolphin encounters. Or if you're looking for pampering and relaxation, hot pools and spas can be found in many locations.

The name Bay of Plenty pays tribute to the region's ability to produce great food. Around the city of Tauranga are swathes of orchards and gardens growing everything from kiwifruit and citrus fruit to avocados and culinary herbs. Add to this a thriving local wine industry and plentiful fresh seafood and you'll see why the region's restaurant culture is so well developed.

Mauao (Mount Maunganui): Guarding the entrance to Tauranga Harbour, Mauao was the landing place of the Takitimu waka. Takitimu was one of the ocean-going migration canoes that made the trip from Hawaiki to New Zealand in about 1290 AD.

Bay of Plenty region: White Island mudpoolBeach life: The stylish surf town of Mount Maunganui buzzes with adventure and activity. There’s everything from surf lifesaving and beach volleyball to kite surfing, parasailing, jet skiing and surfing competitions.

White Island: Walking on an active volcano is a once in a lifetime opportunity. White Island hisses, fumes, belches and rumbles with geothermal action. It's accessible by launch and helicopter from Whakatane.

See here for accommodation in the Bay of Plenty.

Source: Tourism New Zealand

Bay of Plenty region highlights

  • Bay of Plenty region: Elms Mission houseMount Maunganui: This viewpoint is the main destination for overseas visitors, the small settlement of the same name is located at the end of a long sandspit and beach, complete with a surf beach, hot springs, cafe esplanade and the volcano itself: Mount Maunganui, the 'big mountain', also known as Mauao. The climb up is steep, but the views from top above Tauranga harbour and the beach are awesome, especially before sunset.
  • Tauranga: The Strand at the harbour front is the centre of Tauranga, don't miss visiting the Te Awanui canoe in its shelter, and further along the Monmouth Redoubt from 1864 with its interesting trenches. On Mission Street you'll find 'The Elms', one of New Zealand's oldest houses from 1838, now an interesting museum with a lovely garden.
  • Waihi and Waihi Beach: For something unusual, check out the huge opencast goldmine lookouts in the wild west style township of Waihi. It was at one stage bigger than Hamilton and the goldmine has contributed an impressive amount to the New Zealand GDP. The first mine's 175 kilometres of tunnels were flooded down to 600 metres, after yielding 174 tonnes of gold. The current gigantic mine will one day face the same fate, depending on the price of gold. Waihi Beach 11 kilometres away is a 10 kilometre long stretch of sand and is very popular with holidaymakers. At the Bowentown Heads you'll get amazing views from the summit of an ancient pa site, similar to Mount Maunganui.
  • Bay of Plenty region: Whakatane rockKarangahake Gorge: If you drive through this gorge anyway it's worth stopping, this is a great place to stretch your legs! You'll find a wonderful 7 kilometre long track along the river, following an old tramway line complete with tunnel (torch beneficial) as well as swing bridges near the car park.
  • Whakatane and White Island: From this sunny little seaside town with its strong Maori presence (you'll notice a big rock in the centre - a sacred site for Maori) you can not only explore the peaceful Whakatane Heads but also take a boat trip to White Island (Whakaari) which could be well be the most spectacular stop on your travels. Depending on the activity of this is amazing marine volcano you may have to carry a gas mask to inspect this popular film location. There are also tours to another island off Whakatane, the wildlife reserve Whale Island.

Best Bay of Plenty walks

  • Bay of Plenty region: Te Puna QuarryTe Puna Quarry Park - a range of walks in an old quarry, Quarry Road along State Highway 2, 15 kms the west of Tauranga
  • Orokawa Scenic Reserve - a range of coastal walks, north end of Waihi Beach
  • Omanawa Falls - beautiful waterfall (1 h return), access from Omanawa Road along State Highway 29, south of Tauranga
  • Karangahake Gorge Windows Walk - along old railway tracks (1 h return)
  • Kaimai Summit Loop Track - through native bush (20 min), State Highway 29
  • Nga Toi o Tapuwae Walkway tracks - with good views, between Whakatane and Ohope
  • White Pine Bush Track - beautiful bush walk (30 min return), White Pine Bush Road, State Highway 2, near Whakatane

Best Bay of Plenty lookouts

  • Bay of Plenty region: Lindemann LookoutMartha Mine Lookout and Pit Rim Walkway, Moresby Avenue, Waihi
  • Mauao - Mount Maunganui (232 m high, 40 min one way)
  • Bowentown Heads - views from Te Ho Pa
  • Lindemann Road Lookout, Lindemann Road, along State Highway 2, north of Katikati
  • Sentinel Rock (5 h return), Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park, Hot Springs Road, south of Katikati
  • Puketapu Lookout and Papaka Redoubt - beautiful views of Whakatane, intersection Seaview Road and Hillcrest Road, Whakatane
  • Kohi Point Lookout - views over Whakatane, Kohi Point Lookout Road, Whakatane

Best Bay of Plenty museums

  • Whakatane Museum, Boon Street, Whakatane
  • Mataatua, Te Manuka Tutahi - wonderful publicly accessible Marae with guided tours, Muriwai Drive, Whakatane
  • Tauranga Art Gallery, Willow Street, Tauranga

Map of the Bay of Plenty

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