Expedia Expert and New Zealand Market Manager Selina sets her sights on the Bay of Plenty, with tips on where to eat, what to do and how to get there.
Not to be confused with the Bay of Islands (which is north), the Bay of Plenty is on the East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Plenty of Kiwis already know about this beautiful region and holiday here regularly but the Aussies have yet to really unearth it. We should. It’s breathtaking. Perhaps visit it on your way to/from Rotorua (only a 1 hour drive away) or as a quick getaway during an Auckland stop over. It’s a 3 hour drive or a 30 minute flight from Auckland. You can also fly to the Bay of Plenty from Wellington and Christchurch.
So the name. Captain Cook named this region well. The fertile soil comes from a volcanic eruption in the late 18th century and is today used for amazing produce. Expect everything from kiwi fruits and honey to seriously good seafood.
In addition to the great food, the region has a refreshing tropical beach vibe, with 125kms of coastline and beaches, lush greenery, NZ birds singing and a real holiday buzz (even over the winter months).
Weather is similar to Sydney (the area is actually on a similar longitude) and it’s officially the sunniest place in NZ. So in summer expect clear skies and warm swimming weather. In winter rug up and enjoy the smaller crowds.
The main towns are Tauranga and Mount Maunganui, just 10 minutes apart. Tauranga is a harbour port and Mount Maunganui is beachside. They’re both beach holiday destinations that have a similar feel to Australia’s Sunshine Coast, especially Noosa. You’ll find great boutique shopping, loads of quality accommodation, seriously great restaurants and buzzing bars.
Mount Maunganui is framed by a dormant volcano called Mauao; a big lush green mountain with great walking tracks. The mountain looks over Mount Maunganui beach, a long white sandy surf beach. There’s also naturally heated salt water pools that sit at the mountain’s base and are open year round from early until late.