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10 things to do in the Bay of Plenty

10 things to do in the Bay of Plenty

Renowned for its high sunshine hours and laid-back living, there’s so much more to the Bay of Plenty than just spectacular beaches – although there’s plenty of them, too.

10 things to do in the Bay of Plenty

1. Hike to the top of Mauao (Mount Maunganui)

It wouldn’t be a trip to the Bay of Plenty without checking out the iconic view from the top of the Mount.

It’s a strenuous, if short, climb up the mountain, but with plenty of shady stops along the way you can easily go at your own pace.

At the top, you’ll be rewarded with expansive views up the Pāpāmoa coastline and out to the Kaimāī Ranges.

2. Learn to surf

From Waihī Beach to Ōhope, the Bay of Plenty is home to some of the best beaches in Aotearoa – with gentle swells making it the ideal spot for beginners.

Head along to one of the local surf schools like MountMaunganui’s Hibiscus Surf School or Waihī Beach Surf School to learn from the pros.

3. Explore the big blue backyard

The Bay of Plenty is famous for its crystal-clear waters and stunning marine wildlife.

Hop onto the Bay Explorer or join Dolphin Seafaris to get up close with dolphins, seals, whales and penguins in their natural habitat.

4. Discover Moutohorā

This uninhabited island is one of the Bay’s best-kept secrets.

Located off the coast of Whakatāne, Moutohorā (Whale Island) is a protected wildlife sanctuary, home to endangered birds and wildlife including kiwi, tuatara and blue penguins – it even boasts its own hot water beach.

Kayak around the island, cruise the coast on a boat or explore the underwater treasures on a snorkelling trip.

5. Wander through ancient forests

Throw on your hiking boots and set foot in one of the Bay’s amazing forests. The Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park is a must-see.

One of the world’s last prehistoric rainforests, here you’ll discover towering native trees, diverse birdlife, epic waterfalls and mountain biking trails.

6. Immerse yourself in the history and culture

As one of the first homes of the great Māori navigators, the Bay of Plenty has arich and fascinating history.

Witness the intricate carvings and craftsmanship of Mataatua wharenui, a fully carved Māori ancestral house that travelled the world for over a century and now lies in the home of the Ngāti Awa tribe.

The annual Tauranga Jazz Festival (1 – 4 April 2021) is a highlight of the cultural calendar, showcasing world-class jazz concerts and performances.

7. Relax in heavenly hot pools

Due to its unique geothermal landscape, the Bay of Plenty is a thermal wonderland.

At the end of a day of exploring, treat yourself to a relaxing soak at one of the many hot pools and natural springs throughout the region, such as the Mount Hot Pools or Fernland Spa.

8. Experience the thrill of blokarting

If you’re looking for a unique Bay of Plenty adventure, set sail on land at Bay Station, the home of blokarting. Hop in a fun and fast wind-powered go-kart for a thrill-seeking activity like no other.

9. Find hidden beaches and secluded bays

Orakawa Bay is one Bay of Plenty’s best-kept secrets

Some of the best hidden gems in the Bay of Plenty are only found on foot. Wander up Waihī beach to find the Orokawa Scenic Reservetrack, the pōhutukawa-lined path leading you to a secluded white sandy bay.

Or visit the turquoise waters of Ōhope’s Ōtarawairere beach, accessible via short walk or kayak.

10. Taste glorious food

With an abundance of fresh seafood and produce on the doorstep, the Bay of Plenty is a true foodie’s dream.

Enjoy the flavours of Japanese Māorifusion at Tauranga’s Izakai Bar and Eatery, get your coffee fix at Waihī’sbeachside Flat white café or take at our of the tasting rooms at local craft breweries Mount Brewing Co and Mata Brewery.

Planning your visit

The Bay of Plenty’s125km coastline is sheltered by the Coromandel, Kaimāī and Mamaku ranges, which means it receives less rainfall than other parts of NZ. In fact, Whakatāne is New Zealand’s sunniest town, with more than 2,000 hours of sunshine every year.

Air New Zealand flies daily to Tauranga with direct flights to and from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

For more information, visit

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