Plenty For Everyone
By Sam Mickell
The coastal Bay of Plenty is located along the pristine Pacific Coast Highway and takes in 125km of white sandy beaches. Stretching from Waihi Beach to New Zealand's best kept secret, Ohope, the region oozes a laidback sophistication, offering a mix of outdoor activities, scenic attractions, culture and top dining experiences. Check out our Top 10 Must-Do;s in the Bay of Plenty.
#1 Explore Mauao and Mount Maunganui
Mauao (Mount Maunganui) is the focal point of the coastal Bay of Plenty. Standing at 232 metres high, Mauao is one of the most significant spots for tangata whenua (people of the land) and the local community. The summit and base tracks are among the most popular in New Zealand.
Nestled at the base of Mauao, lies Mount Maunganui Main Beach, recently awarded the best beach in New Zealand, 2nd best in the South Pacific and ranking within the top 25 beaches in the world.
The beach is located a short stroll from the bustling Mount Main Street's boutique shopping and thriving cafe culture.
#2 Mount Maunganui Hot Salt Water Pools
After wandering the shops and cafes, enjoy a soak at the Mount Maunganui Hot Salt Water Pools, in the shadows of towering Mauao. The Mount Maunganui Hot Salt Water Pools provide an opportunity to unwind and relax, with a large hot pool, cooler pools, a fountain, and two private pools.
#3 Discover Whakaari, White Island by boat or Helicopter
Travel by boat or helicopter to Whakaari, White Island, 50 kilometres off the shores of cultural hub, Whakatane. Explore New Zealand’s only active marine volcano and feel the power of nature rumble beneath your feet whilst staring into the bubbling crater.
#4 Kayak through enchanted glow worm canyons
Relax on the water’s edge of Lake McLaren with a glass of NZ wine and enjoy local cheese’s; let the guides lead you onto the calm Lake McLaren at dusk, gently paddle into the evening and discover the magic of the enchanting glow worm canyon with Waimarino.
#5 Spend a day spotting and swimming with dolphins in their natural habitat
Swim with the dolphins in their natural habitat, fulfil your dream of encountering the majestic dolphins in the open waters of the Bay. Dolphin Seafaris offer both free swimming encounters with dolphins as well as safe swim bars to hold onto while in the water. This is an unforgettable dolphin excursion that is perfect for the whole family.
#6 Visit the Kiwi Capital of the World!
Head to Whakatane, recently heralded as the Kiwi Capital of the World and an easy 1 hour drive from Tauranga CBD.
NATIVConnectioNZ offers an opportunity to encounter New Zealand's most loved icon in its own habitat. The completely wild nature of the experience means they can't guarantee you'll see a kiwi; however, trained 'kiwi tracker' guides, six kiwi in a relatively small area and powerful infrared night vision technology give you the best chance possible.
#7 Ohope Beach
Abundant sunshine, warm waters and safe swimming make Ohope Beach the perfect summer holiday destination. Recently voted New Zealand’s Most Loved Beach by nationwide AA travel poll, Ohope is the best kept secret in the Bay of Plenty.
#8 Arts and Crafts
Tauranga city is at the core for creativity in arts and culture. Discover Creative Tauranga, the Tauranga Art Gallery and the Cargo Shed, showcasing local and national art and crafts. In a world first in street art, enjoy our “Larger than Life – Owen Dippie” giant masterpiece murals that span up to three storeys high, painted with spray cans on city centre buildings. For a local flavour, discover the Little Big Markets, your one stop shop for all things crafty, designer and hand made.
#9 Walk one of many coastal or bush tracks in the Bay of Plenty
Choose to explore one of many walkways throughout the region, from the coastal Orokawa Bay track in Waihi Beach to the Whirinaki Forest located on the edge of Whakatane Township in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Enjoy panoramic views from the summit of Mauao or peak of the Papamoa Hills Regional Park.
#10 Blokart Recreation Park
Visit the home of blokart and have a blast on the land sailing machine which has taken the world by storm. Super easy to use and great fun, these machines are awesome when the wind blows.
There’s plenty for those with a serious case of wanderlust here!
For more information visit www.bayofplentynz.com