If you’re holidaying in New Zealand, head to The Bay of Plenty!
I’ve just had the pleasure of spending the last two weeks in beautiful, sunny Tauranga with my boyfriend and his family who luckily live up there.
The Bay of Plenty is on the Northern Coast of NZ’s North Island. It’s only a 2 and a half hour’s drive away from Auckland which is perfect for over-sees visitors as that’s where the main International Airport is located.
The BOP coastal region is made up of Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, Papamoa, Whakatane, Waihi Beach, KatiKati, Ohope and Te Puke.
Could you pronounce any of those?
Probably not…New Zealand loves their Maori place names 😉
Think white sandy beaches, beautiful sunshine, charming small towns, great shopping and many places to eat and explore.
In the Summer time it gets extremely busy so make sure to book accommodation ahead of time to try and get the best.
This is where I spent most of my time. It’s basically where everyone goes to in the Bay of Plenty for swimming, surfing or eating out.
It’s located just across the harbor from Tauranga and is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean.
“The Mount” which the locals refer to, is actually an extinct Volcano 232m above sea level. You’ll see it as you’re swimming at The Mount Maunganui Beach.
What To Do Here
- Walk up the Mount, or even around it if you don’t have the stamina.
It took me 14 minutes to get to the top and my partner 9 minutes so it’s not extremely hard. There’s two different ways you can go, one way takes you up all the stairs (but is shorter time wise) whereas the other is up a steep track (but is a little longer)
Families do this walk all the time, it’ll defiantly get you hot and sweaty so make sure to take a bottle of water and lather on the Sunscreen!
When you see the view, you’ll be glad you did it.
- Swim at the beach.
According to Tripadvisor, Mount Maunganui Beach is “The best beach in New Zealand” so while you’re there, pack your togs (Kiwi word for swimmers), a towel and a bottle of sunscreen before heading down to the white sandy shore.
In the Summer time the beach is the place to be as there’s usually ocean and beach events on. If you’re in the area, click here to see what’s on.
- Learn to surf
At the Hibiscus Surf School, Guy and Rebecca will teach you how to surf! Guy has 16 years experience and they’re both fully certified. All equipment is provided and all ages are welcome. Head to http://www.surfschool.co.nz to find out more.
- Do a Dolphin Seafari
Dolphin Seafaris have been operating for many years and are the leading professional eco tour operator and provider of watching and swimming with dolphins in the Bay of Plenty area. They have a Certificate of Excellence on Tripadvisor and take you to watch and swim with Dolphins in their natural habitat. Their vessel, the ‘Guardian’ has a huge rear swim platform and has walk through access to the water with 2 large dive ladders for easy access in and out of the water.
Tauranga is one of New Zealand’s main cities for business, international trade, culture, fashion and horticultural science.
In the Summer time the weather is nearly always nice and sunny which makes for a lot of families heading there on their Summer Christmas Vacation.
Neighbouring town Mount Maunganui and Papamoa Beach are the most visited areas around Tauranga so if you can’t quite get accommodation right on the beach, staying in Tauranga is the next best thing.
Waihi Beach (Pronounced ” Why He”)
A 50 Minutes drive away from central Tauranga, Waihi Beach is a small beach-side town with plenty of accommodation ranging from holiday resorts to camp grounds.
” a great location if you want the flexibility to travel to the Coromandel, ‘Hobbiton’, Rotorua, Tauranga and the Waitomo Caves all from one base.”
What To Do Here
- Waihi Beach
Pretty much the main thing to do here is go to the beach!
With 9km of Ocean and sand, pack yourself a picnic and spend the day at Waihi Beach.
- Go For a Walk
At the northern end of the beach near the carpark, you’ll find the start of a popular 3.3km walkway which leads you through pohutukawa forest and beautiful beach scenery to Orokawa Bay. The walk takes nearly an hour so bring some good footwear and a camera.
- Anzac Bay
If you’re wanting to swim in really calm waters or have children with you, Anzac Bay is the place to go. The area has beautiful pohutukawa trees which bloom into life every December. It’s a lovely place to escape the crowds of Tauranga and The Mount.
Voted ‘NZ’s Most Loved Beach’, Ohope is full of Sunshine, white sand and fabulous cafes. The western end of the beach is a popular surfing area during the summer and Christmas period whereas the rest of the beach is filled with holiday-goers sun-bathing, swimming and jet skiing.
There’s also a large choice of accommodation available in the holidays with the ‘Ohope Beach Top 10 Holiday Park’ being one of the top choices.
If you’re looking for Sunshine, Ohope has one of the warmest climates and highest sunshine hours in the country!
What To Do Here
The west end of the beach is great for surfing. It’s sheltered from the northwest wind, plus the water’s often really warm.
Take a walk to Otarawairere Bay which only takes around 20 minutes. If you’re fit or you’ve never run a day in your life, you’ll enjoy this walk as it’s pretty easy.
Carry on walking and you’ll go over Kohi Point and down into the CBD of Whakatane (about 2 hours)
I’m personally not a golf player, but if you want to head away from the beach, Ōhope International Golf Club offers super golfing with views of the Pacific Ocean on one side and Ohiwa Harbour on the other. Play a round of golf and have a main evening meal for the low price of $30 per person on Mondays.