Tauranga is a city on the North Island of New Zealand. It is situated on the western side of the Bay of Plenty, which is on the east coast of the island. Its population of 130,000 makes it the fifth largest city in the country. Tauranga is a Maori word translated roughly to 'a sheltered anchorage
'. This makes sense as the town is located near a very large harbor and protected by Matakana Island. Mount Maunganui is at the headland of the town and regarded as a suburb of Tauranga. The beach at Mt Maunganui is a surfing hot spot. The climate is mostly warm and dry because of the town's sheltered position.
The view from The Mount, Tauranga, New Zealand
The first thing to do in Tauranga is to hike up Mauao in the Mt Maunganui suburb to see the epic views from above and gaze down upon the beautiful beach below. The hike is a bit steep and takes about forty minutes, but is completely worth it when you see the top. Go just before sunset for the best photographs and views.
The Tauranga Art Gallery is one of New Zealand's most sought after public galleries. You can find high-quality exhibitions within the modern space- oh, and it is all completely free! However, donations are appreciated.
White Island is nearby and is famous for the active volcano on its shore. Getting onto the island is a bit of a process, as you must climb ladders and rocks. Therefore, this isn't the best sight to see if you are traveling with children or elderly people. It is pretty incredible to see though if conditions allow. Everyone must also wear gas masks while viewing the volcano as the fumes cause headaches and nausea for some people.
Tauranga is a large city in the Bay of Plenty region. It is called this because it is plentiful in fruit, avocados, wine, and fresh seafood. When James Cook first anchored there in 1769 he noticed that the area was full of plantations and villages, hence the name.
The main center on the eastern end of Bay of Plenty is Whakatane and it is one of the sunniest towns in New Zealand. There are many historical Maori sites in this town as well as opportunities to see dolphins and seals beginning in November. It is also the launch point for excursions to White Island to see the active volcano.
Head to the Katikati Bird Gardens about twenty-five minutes north of Tauranga. There are tons of native birds, including the mischievous Kea bird. For more of a thrill, try dirt surfing at the Kiwi Asylum. Basically, dirt surfing is a combination of skateboarding and biking.
The Strand is a great place to check out for activities such as shopping, dining, and drinking. This area is on the water and you can stroll along to find what you are looking for whether it be a delicious seafood meal or a pint of Speights.
Although a bit further out of town, you could explore the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park, which is near Rotorua. It is seen as the barrier between the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions and is known for its botanical bliss as well as its majestic waterfalls and gorges. There are over three hundred kilometers of tracks throughout the park so if is up to you how long you stay in the forest!
Food and Dining
Eating out is popular among people who live in Tauranga, thus, there are many places to do so. Most people head to The Strand to find places to dine. This area is known as the restaurant hub of Tauranga. One restaurant worth checking out is at the far end of The Strand called Harbourside Brasserie and Bar. The restaurant is beneath an old railway bridge and has great views of the water while maintaining a quiet atmosphere compared to the buzzing center of The Strand. The food is excellent but a little more upscale price-wise. Great choice if you're celebrating a special occasion. Zeytin is another restaurant on The Strand specializing in Turkish and Greek cuisine. This place is always busy, usually a good sign when choosing where to eat.
There is a domestic airport in Tauranga where you can fly directly into from Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington. If you are renting a car, you can reach Tauranga via State Highway 1. There are tons of buses and coaches that can transport you to Tauranga from many places on the North Island. Once you are in town, use the Bayhopper Bus to get around Tauranga and Mt Maunganui. You can also get taxis, rent bicycles, or explore the city on foot!
A Visit to White Island
By backpackguru on Nov 6, 2011 in Entertainment
White Island is New Zealand's only life sea volcano. You can't miss that it's an active volcano that will eventually erupt, because before you're allowed on the island, you are given a hard hat and a gas mask. It's a good idea to wear the gas mask because there are fumes from the island that could cause you a negative effect in the form of headaches or nausea. To actually reach the volcano you must first head to the old dock where you climb over steel ladders and pass along a concrete wharf, go over old steel bridges, and make your way over rocks. Only then do you get to the volcano, but it's a fun adventure, and well worth the hassle.