Tauranga Mount Maunganui is the Bay of Plenty's coastal holiday centre and has a laid back atmosphere which attracts Kiwis and international visitors looking for relaxed New Zealand seaside holidays.
And South East of Tauranga, the beautiful coastal town of Whakatane should be a must visit if you are in the region. With a real holiday vibe, it's a lovely spot to wander the pretty streets and relax at one of the many eateries.
If you like your golf, take a drive to Ohope Beach and have a game at Ohope Beach International Golf Course. This rolling, twisting links course will test golfers of all levels. Relax with a post-game drink on the outside terrace which offers wonderful course and coastal views.
This beautiful region, with a population of over 260,000, is located on the eastern coast of New Zealand's North Island, and has a wide range of accommodation in the major towns of Mount Maunganui (population around 20,000), Tauranga (population around 140,000) and Whakatane (population around 35,000).
This warm, sunny region offers a wide range of attractions, many based around the beautiful coastline.
Want to visit the region? Check out our FREE itineraries HERE.
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Here are some quick links to all you need to know about Tauranga, Mt Maunganui and the Bay of Plenty.
From Auckland - if you are traveling by road from Auckland, Tauranga is around 3 hours drive via State Highways 2, 27 and 29 (around 211 kilometers).
From Wellington the journey to Tauranga covers around 511 kilometers via State Highway 1, and takes around seven hours.
A worthwhile option
The stunning Pacific Coast Highway follows the scenic Bay of Plenty coastline, and links Tauranga Mt Maunganui and the Bay of Plenty, the Coromandel coast and the Gisborne regions , with Auckland (to the north), and with the Hawkes Bay region (to the south).
Imagine mile after mile of beautiful coastline. And if you are fortunate enough to travel the highway in the early morning, you could be one of the first in the world to see the sunrise.
If you are coming to the region we highly recommend you take a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway.
Please see our State Highways map.
The main airport for Tauranga Mt Maunganui and the Bay of Plenty is located at Tauranga.
At the time of writing, Tauranga Airport has regular domestic flights to and from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch (South Island).
Rotorua Airport (around one hours drive from Tauranga) also has domestic flights to and from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Tauranga New Zealand, the region's main city, is located at the entrance
to one of New Zealand's largest natural harbours, and beside Mount
Maunganui. Known as Mauao to the Maori people, it is a sacred place, and
a popular walking spot for locals and visitors.
The nearby coastal towns Mount Maunganui
and Papamoa are popular summer beach holiday destinations, and offer
surfing, fishing, and diving, as well as many other attractions.
The region's fertile land and warm climate make it a perfect environment for a wide range of crops. Te Puke is the kiwifruit capital of New Zealand, and most of New Zealand's kiwifruit crop is grown in the Bay of Plenty, along with avocados, grapes, citrus and many subtropical fruits.
Tauranga Mount Maunganui - Heritage
The Maori people first settled in the area in the late 13th or early 14th century. Maori legend has it that they arrived from their spiritual homeland Hawaiki on three waka (canoes) - Te Arawa, Takitimu and Mataatua. Many local Maori trace their descent back to these canoes.
The region's west was settled by the iwi (tribes) of Ngati Ranginui, Ngaiterangi and Ngati Pukenga from the Takitumu and Mataatua canoes. Te Arawa descendants inhabited the east and south to Rotorua.
Maori named the area Te Moana a Toi or 'sea of Toi', honouring their great ancestral explorer, Toitetuatahi. The British explorer Captain James Cook gave the name Bay of Plenty because of the region's welcoming people and abundant resources.
The region is rich in Maori culture and history with sacred spots such
as Mauao, Papamoa Hills and Maketu, and many pa (fortified village)
sites. Guided tours to many of these historic sites highlight the area's
Mauao, the sacred mountain at Tauranga's harbour entrance, translates as 'caught in the light of the day', and according to Maori legend, the once nameless mountain was spurned in love by another mountain, the beautiful Puwhenua. One night
Mauao begged the fairy-like creatures of the forest to drag him to the
ocean and end his misery, but the creatures fled as the morning sun-rays
struck leaving Mauao transfixed to his spot.
Papamoa Hills Cultural Heritage regional park (Te Rae o Papamoa) is a significant site, with 10 ancient village sites that are amongst New Zealand's oldest. A walking track to the summit reveals views of Tauranga harbour and Mauao.
At Maketu, near Te Puke, a foreshore memorial commemorates the landing place of the Te Arawa canoe during the great migration.
Tauranga Mount Maunganui - Adventure / Outdoors
Year-round outdoor activities in the rich marine environment include swimming with dolphins and fishing for snapper, kingfish, hapuku and marlin around Tuhua (Mayor Island), and deep-sea fishing at Motiti.
White Island - New Zealand's only active marine volcano, lies off the Whakatane coast.
In late 2019 the White Island volcano erupted and several lives were lost. At the time of writing, all tours to the island have been suspended indefinitely.
A warm climate, beautiful beaches and matching lifestyle make the region a year-round destination for active or relaxing Kiwi holidays.
Mount Maunganui, or 'The Mount' as the locals call it, has a long white sand beach, which is the site of many activities from beach volleyball to thundercat racing. It's also known for the busiest surf break in the region.
Visitors flock to the area over the Christmas / New Year summer holiday period. Many events are held in the region during this time, making the Bay of Plenty a festive destination.
There Is Lots To See And Do In Tauranga Mount Maunganui
Here are a few ideas:
* Take a walk to the top of Mount Maunganui for amazing views of the region.
* Visit White Island for a guided tour of this unique volcanic island. Please note - tours are currently on hold following the eruption in late 2019.
* Visit Mayor Island / Tuhua - features are an extinct volcano and lakes, and a large Pohutukawa forest containing native bellbird and kiwi.
* Soak the day away in the Mount Maunganui Hot Salt Water Pools, at the base of the mount.
* Visit the surf museum for a glimpse into the surf culture of the region. With over 350 old surfboards and surf related displays, its a great venue for all surfers.
* Tick this one off your bucket list - swim with the dolphins.
* Visit on the Easter weekend and take part in New Zealand's biggest blues and jazz festival.
* Go on a deep sea fishing trip. Local waters are rich in snapper, kingfish, trevally, and many other species.
* Thrilling white water rafting adventures are available on several local rivers. The Rangitaiki River has sections with varying degrees of difficulty, and the Kaituna River features the famous Tutea Falls.
Accommodation in the Bay of Plenty
With everything from camping grounds and hostels, to luxury lodges, the Bay of Plenty has something to suit all accommodation budgets.
Just use the following links to read reviews, and to search for your perfect Bay of Plenty accommodation:
* Accommodation for Bay of Plenty region
* Accommodation for Tauranga
* Accommodation for Mt Maunganui
* Accommodation for Whakatane
A special place to stay - Ohope Beach Resort
Around 10 minutes drive South East of Whakatane, there's a beautiful seaside village called Ohope.
When we were last in the region we found a resort called Ohope Beach Resort, and decided to spend three nights there.
Based on our experience, it's one of the best spots that we have ever stayed.
We were traveling with some friends and wanted a spacious apartment with views. And boy did it deliver.
The hosts helped us with our selection and we settled on a top floor apartment in the Ocean Tower.
The apartment was fully self contained and very roomy. Perhaps the best thing about it was the dual aspect which provided absolutely stunning ocean views from one of the two large decks, and equally impressive harbour views from the other deck.
The location was quiet, and we loved the heated pools and spas.
The Ohope Beach Resort is a great place to relax, unwind, and recharge on your New Zealand holiday.
We can't speak highly enough of it.
Did you know?
* Nearly a million people walk up and around Mauao (Mount Maunganui) each year.
* Mount Maunganui has New Zealand's first artificial surf reef.
* Te Puke is the 'kiwifruit capital of the world'. More than 80 percent of NZ kiwifruit exports are grown in the Bay of Plenty.
* Tuhua (Mayor Island) has the world's largest pohutukawa forest.
Here is a short (about 2 minutes) Tourism Bay of Plenty video: