- White Island, Bay of Plenty Right
Officially the sunniest place in New Zealand, the Bay of Plenty is renowned for its clear blue skies and consistent warm and fine weather.
The region encompasses a number of towns and cities offering their own unique lifestyles and wonderful holiday destinations. Mount Maunganui beach, was recently voted New Zealand’s best beach, by Trip Advisor and is New Zealanders’ favourite holiday location. The expansive coastline is popular for its marine life, surfing, fishing, diving and boating.
Mount Mauao (translation: “caught by the dawn”) marks the entrance to Tauranga harbour and sits proudly at the northern end of Mount Maunganui beach. It is an iconic landmark with deep Maori history and is popular with visitors who can book a guided walk of the beautiful base track, or climb to the summit for the best views in the Bay of Plenty.
Across from the stunning harbour at the base of Mauao lies the port of Tauranga, New Zealand’s largest port by tonnage and also host to approximately 90 international cruise liners per season. The Bay of Plenty is a popular cruise destination, with many local attractions and also easy day-trip proximity to Rotorua and The Lord of the Rings, Hobbiton movie location.
The region is naturally fertile and agriculturally rich with avocado, kiwifruit and internationally sought after honey products. Te Puke boasts the largest kiwifruit export industry in New Zealand, living up to its tag line ‘Goodness Grows Here’. Explore abundant orchards and learn more about the natural healing properties of Manuka Honey.
Visit the local Artisans at Waihi Beach or walk along the beautiful Orokawa Reserve to the secluded Orokawa and Homaunga Bays for a picnic or swim. Also home to renowned surf conditions, take part in a lesson or relax on white sandy beach to the sound of rolling waves.
Head to the artistic town of Katikati and count the number of painted murals or visit the only Haiku Pathway in the Southern Hemisphere boasting the largest collection of Haiku stones outside Japan. Self-drive the Katikati Cuisine Trail meeting with local producers designed to take you from plant to plate with fresh seasonal delicacies.
Tauranga, meaning “the place of rest or anchorage’ is New Zealand’s fifth largest, fastest growing city and oozes a laidback sophistication which is recognised through the boutique shopping, thriving café culture and a wide selection of locally sourced and internationally themed eateries. Go back in time at The Elms Mission House and Gardens, the oldest European heritage sites in the Bay of Plenty and located in the heart of the city centre. Stay on or above the water at boutique hotel Trinity Wharf Tauranga, a short stroll along the glistening waterfront to the main hub of the city.
Mount Maunganui, more locally known as simply ‘The Mount’ has long been a favourite holiday destination for New Zealanders – and it’s catching on. Boasting internationally recognised surf breaks and warm ocean waters, go from white sand beaches to boutique shopping and a selection of stylish cafes and cultured restaurants. Finish the day with a relaxing soak at Mount Maunganui’s hot salt water pools, under the shadow of Mauao or enjoy a warm sunset walk around or up the iconic Mount.
Located a short ten minute drive from Mount Maunganui, Papamoa offers a laidback atmosphere and is home to a number of remarkable walking tracks. For the more adventurous, try a hand at blokart’s. Choose from three wheeled, land based yachts or new motorised Drift Karts, designed to provide a revolutionary new speed thrill.
Te Puke is the “home of kiwifruit” and has a purpose built Kiwi360 orchard and experience centre, the only one of its kind in New Zealand. The region also boasts Experience Comvita where you can marvel at the role of the honey bee and nature before shopping for internationally exported Comvita skin care and wellness products.
Maketu, steeped in history, was the landing place of Te Arawa canoe following the migration of early Maori from Hawaiiki. A memorial on the foreshore commemorates the landing. Maketu is also a favourite place for swimming, boating and fishing, and during the winter locals gather shellfish and whitebait.
Travel south on the Pacific Coast Highway to cultural hub Whakatane. Whaakari (White Island), New Zealand’s only active marine volcano lies 49km’s offshore. Tours by boat with White Island Tours or Frontier helicopters (including landing) to the island with a guided walk is simply breath taking and heralded as the “best two hours in New Zealand”. Visit Mataatua Wharenui and be enthralled by the carvings and legends from the Maori tribe Ngati Awa brought to life by world class digital technology.