What to See

There's lots to see in the bay

Beaches...

Waihi Beach

A long stretch of white sand - makes a good long walk.
Once at Waihi Beach, a Department of Conservation walkway into the Orokawa Bay Scenic Reserve offers a dream walk amid native bush and cliff hugging pohutukawa trees. Starting at the western end of the beach, the easy track leads into Orokawa Bay (about 45 minutes each way). Further along, past a steeper 2 km track, nestles the equally picturesque Homunga Bay.
Waihi Beach is a favourite surf spot during summer and commands majestic views of Mayor (Tuhua) Island. At the far end of this coastal stretch is Bowentown Headland. Sited at the northern entrance to Tauranga Harbour, a 128 hectare reserve towers over the safe harbour waters of Anzac Bay and Shelly Bay. The Domain is ideal for picnics and offers safe swimming, boat access, fishing and fine walking tracks.

Bowentown Headland contains several Maori pa, the most famous being Te Kura a Maia. Te Hoe and Otawhiwhi pa sites are also easily reached via a series of walking tracks.
The loop route to the waterside village at Athenree first passes a unique landmark. Waihi Airport is hard to miss with its inviting bright hanger and once a fully restored Bristol Freighter sat permanently grounded and converted into a theme restaurant and cafe. An adjoining sports aviation workshop houses a Rans ultralite assembly plant and microlight flight training centre. The airport offers scenic flights for those wanting a bird's eye view of the Bay. Check out Waihi Beach - NZ for further details.

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Tauranga Harbour

Rapidly getting ringed by Tauranga satellite suburbs. Provides protected boating & fishing.
Tauranga harbour is a natural tidal harbour protected from the Pacific Ocean by Matakana Island, which spans some 24-km between the Katikati entrance at Bowentown and the larger Tauranga entrance at Mount Maunganui.

The harbour is a large tidal estuary with an area of some 200-sq. km. and has a tidal range of up to 1.98m. Approximately 290,000,000 tonnes of water flow through the entrances at each tidal change. This tidal flow can generate currents of up to 7 knots within the entrance channels; small boat operators must respect this entrance current.
The Tauranga harbour entrance is the shipping channel to the Port of Tauranga, New Zealand’s largest export port. Shipping movements can take place at any time, day or night through the main channels; therefore any recreational craft must take care when navigating in these areas.

This area of the Bay of Plenty is a popular holiday destination for a wide range of the population. The sheltered waters of the region’s harbours are a major attraction to many people especially to people who enjoy the more passive pursuits.

Check out Environment - Bay of Plenty for further details.

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Mount Maunganui

"The Mount" - The place to be over christmas and New Years eve if you're young and after a good time.
The main street is undergoing a transformation and has the great Astrolabe to visit. Great views from the top too.

Check out Tauranga District Council for further details. Mount Maunganui is a town located on a peninsula to the north of Tauranga on New Zealand's North Island. It is also the name of the extinct volcanic cone which rises above the town (which is now officially known by its Mâori name Mauao[1]). It is colloquially known in New Zealand simply as The Mount. The town itself is located on top of a sand bar that connects Mauao to the mainland, a geographical formation known as a tombolo. Because of this formation, the residents of Mount Maunganui are lucky enough to have both a harbour beach (Pilot Bay) and an ocean beach to take advantage of, within a short distance (At the base of Mauao, the distance between the harbour and ocean side is a couple of blocks).

The town of Mount Maunganui is a coastal resort with some apartment blocks, and a major port is located on the western (harbour) side. It is also well-known for the quality of its surfing conditions, though parts of the beach are notoriously dangerous. It is regarded by many as a northern suburb of the rapidly growing city of Tauranga, which just to the south. A harbour bridge was opened in 1988 bringing the two communities even closer together.

The conical headland which gives the town its name is 230 metres in height, and dominates the mostly flat surrounding countryside. It was formerly a Mâori pa, and the remains of trenches can be seen in the ridges, as well as ancient shell middens. Today, it is open to the public year round, and is a popular place to either walk around, or climb up. From the summit, a good stretch of coastline can be seen in either direction, as well as the Kaimai Ranges to the west.
The Mount is a firm favourite with holiday makers and others wishing to retire. It has many activities and its hot salt water pools at the end of Pilot Bay provides an excellent opportunity to unwind and relax before travelling further afield.

Currently, New Zealand's first artificial reef is being installed at the Mount.

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Papamoa Beach

Very much in the burbs now, but a great long stretch of white sand. The sandy beach is pristine, yet only a couple of minutes away from the local shops and restaurant. The large Palm Beach Plaza shopping centre, the regional Bayfair Shopping Mall, and the patrolled beach at the Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club are only a few minutes drive. Originally a place for baches and holiday homes, the area is rapidly developing into an impressive array of quality family homes set on the dune on one of New Zealand's finest beaches.

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Maketu

One of the oldest settlements of the bay.
In Captain Cooks time he estimated a population of 10,000 hereabouts. Maketu, located about 15 minutes from Te Puke, was the landing place of the Arawa canoe following the migration of early Maori from Hawaiki. A memorial on the foreshore commemorates the landing.
Surfers and mussel lovers head for the privately-owned Newdicks beach which differs greatly from the beaches at Mount Maunganui with Pohutukawa trees, boulders, rocks and steep cliff faces. Enjoy a horse trek along the beach, get your board out at the popular surf spot or soak up the atmosphere and stunning views.
In season, the Kaituna river mouth – referred to as the Kaituna cut – near Maketu is awash with nets as locals try their luck at gathering whitebait. This is also a favourite swimming, boating and fishing area.

Famous in New Zealand and an icon of the area also are Maketu Pies. The pies originated in the kitchen of Nancy Robert and were sold in the old country store. Her son Grant now runs Maketu Pies, which are now sold by the thousands all across the country, the pies are still based on the old family recipe.

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Pukehina Beach

Pukehina seaside village is surrounded by rich and fertile farmlands. Other facilities include two dairies and takeaways, licensed bar and restaurant, surf life saving club, boat ramp only metres down the road, two tennis courts, children's playground, Te Puke Golf Club only 10 minutes drive, big game fishing tours nearby. The warm and temperate climate enables holidaymakers to take advantage of the beach and facilities all year round.

A great centrally located base for sight seeing and shopping...

  • 15 minutes from Te Puke, the "Kiwi Fruit Capital" of the world
  • 35 minutes from Mount Maunganui, Whakatane, Rotorua and the Lakes
  • Tours nearby for the spectacular volcanic White Island

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Kohioawa Beach - Matata

A nice long sweep of beach with the railway running between the main road and the beach.

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Whakatane

Lots of history, on the banks of the Whakatane river.
Check out Whakatane District for further details.
The Whakatane District in the Eastern Bay of Plenty is one of the most diversely beautiful areas in New Zealand. Sandy beaches are predominant along the 54 kilometres of coastline that stretches from Otamarakau in the west to Ohiwa in the east. Central areas include fertile lowlands and farming areas on the Rangitaiki Plains through to Murupara. Te Urewera National Park in the south, which makes 41% of the district, is protected native forest and is home to a rich array of flora and fauna. The total area of the district covers 433,000ha or 4,442km2.

The climate is superb and many people are choosing to relocate, buy or set up business in a place where life can be enjoyed. Whakatane records the highest temperature in New Zealand about 55 days of each year. Average annual sunshine is 2332 hours with an average annual rainfall of 1207mm.

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Ohope Beach

Now the burbs of Whakatane but still a great place to visit in summertime.
Check out Ohope Beach or Whakatane District for further details.
Ohope Beach is simply New Zealand's best beach. And I guess that makes it one of the best places to be in the World. Ohope is an ocean beach, an unbroken 11km of white sand with breathtaking views out to an active volcano of White Island (Whakaari) and Whale Island (Moutohora). Sweeping views out towards the East Cape. The area offers plenty to do and total relaxation in a pristine beach environment.

Cherish this wonderful place and do what ever you can to preserve the environment for the future. To our visitors I welcome you to the district and know you have probably travelled many miles to enjoy the sun, surf and sand. I am sure you will relax and enjoy leaving your footsteps on Ohope Beach, as you will again and again. When in Ohope make sure you visit the Ohope Scenic Reserve and walk through true native Pohutukawa Forest. Pohutukawa is known as the New Zealand Christmas tree and blooms before and over the festive season.

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Ohiwa Harbour

Stop here for the oysters at the road side stall - great stuff! Good boating and fishing too.
Check out Whakatane District for further details.
Ohiwa Harbour is recognised as having outstanding natural feature and landscape values. It is valued locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally as an area of ecological importance. The Harbour is of significant cultural importance to Iwi and Hapu within and external to the district. The Upokorehe hapu have for many centuries been the kaitiaki, 'guardians', of the Harbour.

The coast of the district contains a number of important ecological habitats. One of these is the Ohiwa Harbour. The Ohiwa Harbour is important spiritually, historically, culturally, ecologically, scientifically, and botanically, and is an important area for recreation activities. The Harbour is also a food source for the local iwi and hapu. The foreshore of the harbour is surrounded by many areas of indigenous vegetation which contribute to the district's biodiversity. Also surrounding the Harbour are coastal forest sequences not found elsewhere in the district.

Efforts have been made by Opotiki District Council, Whakatane District Council, Environment BOP, landowners, Iwi and Hapu, and the Department of Conservation to preserve the values of the Ohiwa Harbour environs through such measures as land improvement agreements, consent conditions, discontinuation of intensive stock grazing near the harbour edge, retiring of saltmarsh areas, and the creation of esplanade reserves and esplanade strips.

The majority of the Ohiwa Harbour isin a natural state possessing natural, ecological, landscape, and cultural values, characteristics that contribute to the character of the Zone include;

Shallow tidal estuary which is vulnerable to the effects of adjacent land uses
Concentrated low density residential settlement, and increasing lifestyle lot development
Internationally important wetland
Long history of Maori occupation and association, and sites of significant cultural importance
Presence of significant flora and fauna species

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Opotiki

Situated between the mouths of the Waioeka and Otera Rivers, gives many options for fishing or surfing when the swell is right.
Check out Opotiki - District Highlights for further details.

The town of Opotiki is situated on a harbour inlet formed by the junction of two rivers. Bounded by these rivers on three sides, the Opotiki township comprises 309 hectares and the Opotiki District which extends from Ohiwa to Cape Runaway has a population of 9600.

Opotiki's climate is equal to the best in New Zealand. The town is sheltered from the cold southerlies that are experienced in many other places.

For sheer natural beauty, magnificent coastal scenery and beaches, an equable climate, many places of historical and cultural significance, a gentle pace of life, and friendly Multi-cultural people, the Opotiki District is unparalleld anywhere in New Zealand.

Ideally & centrally situated in a rapidly expanding holiday area, Opotiki is the northern gateway to Eastland and is also in the area known as "The Tourist Diamond of the Pacific" and all its attractions are within easy distance. These include thermal areas with delightful hot pools, many rivers and lakes well stocked with fish, bush country with hunting for deer, wild pigs, goats & opposum and with the Pacific ocean on its back doorstep, Opotiki is an ideal place for deep-sea fishing, boating, surfcasting, surfing & swimming. You may need to slow down a little to get the best out of this district.
We move at a pace that could be a little slower than you are used to!

Opotiki, Gisborne, Wairoa & the East Cape form the Eastland area, which is probably the finest of all holiday playgrounds in New Zealand. Here is an area which can be used all year round. The climate is second to none during the summer and in winter there is a succession of sparkling days and crystal clear starlit nights. The climate can be compared to that of California, but here the air is fresh, clean and unpolluted from city smog. It's a great place for the out-door loving person and a grand place for a family holiday. It is an equable climate and yearly hours of sunshine rate high in the New Zealand tables. Light frosts are experienced in winter but brief periods of heavy rainfall can occur at any time. Neither humididty nor smog create any problem in this area.

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Te Kaha

69 km north of Opotiki and in early european times was a whaling settlement.
A great spot for a stop and a fish.

Te Kaha is one of the most special spots along New Zealands spectacular, isolated East Cape. This is 'Whale Rider country' where Maori have wisely retained approximately 96% ownership of the region's freehold land. It is possible to explore the entire top section of the western (Bay of Plenty) side of the East Cape, at a leisurely pace, from Te Kaha in a day. The drive south to Opotiki takes just over an hour, and also offers fantastic scenery. Beyond Opotiki it is only another half hour or so to Ohope and Whakatane.Te Kaha acts as a service centre for the fairly isolated surrounding region - facilties include grocery store/cafe, fuel stop, pub, camping ground and cabins. Historically one of the regions best kept secrets, Te Kaha is enjoying increasing popularity as a holiday destination, with a new resort and 18 hole golf course (both overlooking the ocean) due to commence construction in 2005.

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Whanarua Bay

Another great fishing, swimming and picnicking beach.Whanarua Bay, with its secluded beaches and rocky outcrops, is considered the prettiest bay on this coast and is popular for diving, fishing, swimming and picnicking. Access to the beach involves crossing private land. Please respect the owners’ wishes (signage clearly posted). Whanarua Stream features beautiful waterfalls, serene bush and glow-worms on private property. Many tropical fruits are grown in the subtropical microclimate, including macadamia nuts, available from an orchard shop.

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Towns ... in the bay of plenty

There's lots to see in the bay

Tauranga

Check out more information on Tauranga under our regions section for Taurange city

The largest city of the Bay, Tauranga is home to folks attracted by the sun. It has many modern hotels / motels and a booming cafe population. Downtown has recently undergone a transformation with new street surfaces and many outdoor mall areas. Tauranga is tipped to become New Zealand's fourth largest city by the end of the decade, with many new housing suburbs opening up.

The Port of Tauranga is New Zealand's largest export port with timber, paper, fresh & frozen market vegetables and fruits and dairy products being some the cargos. Water is never far away from the Tauranga locals, many boats enjoy the inner harbour waters and surf is never far away on the "mount" side of the beach.

Check out the Tauranga District Council or the Bay of Plenty Infonet for further details on the area.
Or visit...

  • Tauranga Visitor Information Center
    8 Dive crescent, Tauranga. Ph 07 578 8103

  • Mt. Maunganui Information Center
    Salisbury Avenue, Mount Maunganui. Ph 07 575 5099

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Whakatane

The middle of the Bay. Steeped in history and a great beach over the hill at Ohope. Many options for staying overnight or a great place to stop driving and have a rest. The only town in New Zealand to have a waterfall in the center of town rather than the more traditional fountain. Trips are available off-shore to visit White Island and Dolphin's abound in the waters too.

 

Check out Whakatane District for further details on the area.
Or visit...

 

Whakatane Visitor Center
Boon Street, Whakatane. Ph 07 308 6058

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Opotiki

At the Eastern end of the Bay and the gateway to Eastland, Opotiki is located at the confluence of the Waioeka and Otara Rivers. The name Opotiki originated from the name of a spring, O-Potiki mai-Tawhiti , situated on the eastern bluff above Waiotahi Beach. The extensive Bay of Plenty coastline provides large stretches of safe beaches or rocky outcrops for swimming, fishing, boating, or scuba diving. There are also numerous rivers for fishing, rafting, jet-boating or sailing.

Check out Opotiki - Gateway to Eastland, or the Opotiki District Council for further details on the area.
Or visit...

 

Opotiki Visitor Center
Cnr St John & Elliot Streets, Opotiki. Ph 07 315 8484

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Te Puke

Just 32 km's south of Tauranga on the road to Opotiki and Rotorua, Te Puke is the center of a large area of fruit and crop growing.

Hailed as the Kiwifruit capital of the world, it is home to the largest kiwifruit in NZ - just outside the town to the south - which points out Kiwifruit Country, well worth a stop off. Also here is the Vintage Auto Barn with many classic vehicles on display and some for sale - the ultimate souvenir!

 

Te Puke Information Office
Jellicoe Street, Te Puke. Ph 07 573 9172

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Katikati

A little north-west of Tauranga and is also a center of fruit and crop growing.
Katikati is known as the "mural town" with many fine murals dotted through the town.
Arts and crafts are well represented in the area.


check out the Gallery next to the Memorial Hall in the center of town.
Check out Katikati - Bay of Plenty for further details on the area.
Or visit...

Katikati Visitor Center
Main Street, Katikati. Ph 07 549 1658

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Rotorua

Rotorua is one of the most famous destinations in New Zealand, and has a long history of welcoming visitors. From the moment people arrive in Rotorua they know they're somewhere quite different. There is a scent of sulphur in the air, and at nearby geothermal hotspots there are spouting geysers, acrid-smelling mud pools bubbling and belching, and warm geothermal pools and ponds that create a kaleidoscope of colour.

Rotorua offers a huge range of sightseeing attractions and activities and has something to captivate everybody who visits, from Geothermal Wonders and Scenic Flights to Fabulous Dining and Nightlife.

Once you've seen the place don't forget to get your photos processed in Rotorua by Batchelors Photo Centre

For more details visit RotoruaNZ and Rotorua-Business.com.

If you want to locate an area within the Bay of Plenty then take a look at this Map.

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Beaches of the Bay

Waihi Beach
Tauranga Harbour
Mount Maunganui
Papamoa Beach
Maketu
Pukehina Beach
Whakatane
Ohope Beach
Ohiwa Harbour
Opotiki
Te Kaha
Whanarua Bay

Towns of the bay

Tauranga
Whakatane
Opotiki
Te Puke
Katikati
Rotorua