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Things to do in the Bay of Plenty

June 23, 2024

There are so many great things to do in the Bay of Plenty. Check out just a few here and head out for great family fun these school holidays!

Hike Mount Maunganui (Mauao)

No trip to Tauranga is complete without hiking (or running) up Mount Maunganui, also known as Mauao. This must-do activity offers a variety of walking tracks up and around the mountain, with the 30-minute climb to the summit rewarding you with breathtaking 360-degree views of the beaches, Tauranga city, the Pacific Ocean, and on clear days, even the Coromandel Peninsula.

Visit McLaren Falls Park

A local favorite, McLaren Falls Park is just a 20-minute drive from Tauranga. Spend a full day exploring the park's diverse sections of native and exotic trees, walking around the reflective Lake McLaren, and marveling at the McLaren Falls at the park's entrance.

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Book a Marine Wildlife Tour

Experience Tauranga’s stunning coastline with Bay Explorer or Dolphin Seafaris. These tours offer the chance to see dolphins, whales, orcas, and other sea life, guided by passionate locals who share their knowledge of the unique aquatic environment.

Visit the Katikati Bird Gardens

Located on the edge of the inner Tauranga harbour, the Katikati Bird Gardens are a serene destination with water-lily ponds, mature trees, flower gardens, and natural wetlands. The gardens are home to a variety of birds, both free-roaming and in aviaries, making this a truly unique corner of New Zealand.

Check Out the Blowholes on Leisure Island

Leisure Island (Moturiki) is easily accessible via a footbridge from Mt Maunganui’s main beach. A 10-minute walk takes you to a blowhole, making this leisurely stroll one of the top activities in Mount Maunganui.

Paddle Around Tauranga's Coastline

Explore the region’s coastline and inner bays by booking a tour or hiring a kayak. KG Kayaks, East Coast Paddler, and Waimarino offer memorable paddling adventures, including evening glow worm tours, SUP lessons, and coastal adventures.

Visit Ōhope Beach

Ōhope Beach is perfect for a summer getaway with its abundant sunshine, warm waters, and safe swimming. This 11 km stretch of white sand was voted NZ’s Most Loved Beach, stretching from Ōhiwa Harbour to West End.

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Explore the Tauranga Art Gallery

The free-entry Tauranga Art Gallery features ever-changing exhibitions and artwork. It’s a great spot to find inspiration and a popular activity for kids.

Scenic Helicopter Flight

For a spectacular experience, book a scenic flight with Adventure Helicopters. They offer flights over stunning areas of the Bay of Plenty and special packages combining food, wine, and scenic tours.

Relax at the Mount Saltwater Hot Pools

On chilly days, unwind at the Mount Hot Pools at the base of Mt Maunganui. With general admission around NZ$20, it’s an affordable way to relax.

Learn to Surf

The Bay of Plenty’s 125 km of pristine coastline makes it an ideal spot to learn to surf. Book a lesson with one of the many surf schools along the beach fronts and start catching waves.

Enjoy a Tauranga Glow Worm Kayak Evening Tour

Relax by tranquil Lake McLaren, enjoy local refreshments, and at dusk, embark on a guided kayak tour to see the enchanting glow worm canyon with Waimarino Kayak Tours.

Hit the Tauranga Markets

Tauranga and Mt Maunganui host vibrant markets. Visit the Little Big Markets in Coronation Park, Mt Maunganui, on the first Saturday of each month during summer, and the Tauranga Farmers Market at Tauranga Primary School on Saturdays. The Tauranga Market at the Historic Village is held on the first and third Sundays of each month.

Visit Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park

Discover the towering trees, rushing rivers, diverse habitats, and rich history of Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park. Located within easy driving distance of Whakatāne, this unique forest is a must-see biodiversity hotspot.


White Water Action on a Riverbug

Experience the fun of riding whitewater rapids on a riverbug. Explore the scenic Wairoa river valley near Tauranga on the ‘Fun Bug’ tour for families and kids, or tackle the ‘Action Bug’ tour on the Rangitāiki river for a thrilling adventure.

Craft Beer Tour

Hop on the Brewbus and discover Tauranga’s local micro-breweries. Learn about the brewing process and enjoy tasting some of the best craft beers.

Street Art Crawl

Explore Tauranga’s impressive street murals, which provide great photo opportunities. Visit the car parks and parking buildings around Spring Street, the huge mural on Grey Street, and more artworks on The Strand, Cameron Road, and Dive Crescent.

Katikati Murals

Katikati, known as New Zealand’s Mural Town, features over 80 outdoor murals and sculptures. Grab a map from The Arts Junction and explore the town’s artworks, many of which depict historical scenes.

Explore Moutohorā (Whale Island)

Join a guided tour to Moutohorā, a protected wildlife sanctuary home to rare flora and fauna. Discover the island’s hot water beach and spot dolphins, penguins, and rare native birds.

Take a trip to Papamoa

Papamoa, Tauranga’s largest suburb, offers 16 km of golden-sand beach. Enjoy beach activities or explore hikes and mountain bike trails in the Papamoa Hills.

Moutohorā Wildlife Sanctuary

Take a guided walking or kayak tour to the Moutohorā/Whale Island wildlife sanctuary. Spot dolphins, penguins, seals, and rare native birds on this 143-hectare volcanic island.

Bike Tours

Explore Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty by bike. Day Trippers Cycle Tours offer guided tours and bike hire for a fun way to see the region.

Te Puna Quarry Park

Visit the Te Puna Quarry Park, a disused quarry turned into a spectacular garden. Maintained by volunteers, the park features sculptures, native and exotic plants, and numerous photo opportunities along its easy walkways. It's great for a family outing!

Where's your favourite go-to place in the Bay of Plenty? Let us know in the comments below and go in the draw this July 2024 to WIN a $25 voucher from any place of your choice in the beautiful Bay of Plenty!!

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