Nestled along the northern coast of New Zealand’s North Island lies what Captain James Cook described as a ‘bay of plenty’. The name stuck and the Bay of Plenty today has come to embody its name as a number of cities and pristine beaches line the 120 km stretch of sunshine and good times. Located 200 km south of Auckland, the Bay of Plenty is known for having some of the country’s best surfing beaches and draws travellers from all over the globe. The regions around Tauranga are famous for being home to orchards, kiwi fruit and avocado plantations, among other produce. The Bay of Plenty is also home to a number of geothermal hot springs and other natural attractions.
Dolphin safaris, skydiving, sea kayaking, stand up paddling, and a host of other activities highlight why the Bay of Plenty is a favourite destination of those looking for an adventure filled vacation. Swimming amongst dolphins in their natural habitat is one of the highlights of visiting the area. The waters around Tauranga are well known dolphin sighting locations and sometimes even the occasional orca is known to be spotted, making it ideal for swimmers looking for that unique experience. Moutohora, or Whale Island, is home to a number of endangered and endemic species of animals and wildlife tours are regularly conducted on the island. The island also has a number of geothermally heated pools and hot springs that visitors can lounge in.
Kayaking is another highly popular activity in the Bay of Plenty and there are a myriad of options to choose from. Travellers can choose to go sea kayaking through the beautiful Wairoa River. Kayaking tour operators such as Waimarino Kayak Tours take guided tours for travellers along the river as it opens up into Tauranga Harbor. The region is also home to some of the finest surf beaches in the country including Ohope Beach and Waihi Beach. There are surf schools on Ohope Beach, making it an ideal and beginner friendly surfing beach for travellers. Another popular activity is to hike up to the summit of Mauao, the highest point in the area. The hill is also a site that is of significant cultural importance to the Maori people. New Zealand’s oldest living Kauri tree and the surrounding Tane forest are another major tourist draw. A virtual show that educates people about the forest and the area’s culture is a great experience.
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