WESTERN BAY OF PLENTY
🚗 self-drive itinerary
🛏️ minimum 2 night stay recommended
🍽️ dining suggestions offered
📅 visit any time of year
Blessed with some of New Zealand's most beautiful beaches, a harbour and world class vistas help to make this picturesque region a nature's playground. Whether you're after adventure, beach lifestyle, or a bit of indulgence, visit the Western Bay of Plenty. A great all year round destination.
Highlights can include:
- the views are impressive when standing atop Mauao - choose the challenging but rewarding Mount Maunganui Summit Walk or gentler Base Walk and enjoy ocean and beach views 👟📸
- popular surf beach Mount Maunganui’s Main Beach constantly has atmosphere - in contrast Pilot Bay is only a short walk away, offering a tranquil, calm harbour 🌊 🐚 🏖️
- endless scenery and surf to enjoy at Newdicks Beach, a raw, untouched, rugged New Zealand beach near Maketu 🐚 🌊
- Looking Glass Garden is a wonderland of fairy tales and nursery rhymes come to life in art, sculpture, colourful quirkiness 🔎
- Mount Maunganui Hot Salt Water Pools are the perfect place to sit, relax and enjoy the stunning views of the Mount ♨️
- an amazing way to spend a few hours, Orokawa Bay Track has beautiful coastal views and lovely picnic spots 👟🐚
- at 286 metres above sea level Minden Lookout provides panoramic views over the Bay of Plenty region 📸
- harness the wind in a fun, fast paced way at BloKart Recreation Park combining hang gliding and land sailing into one 🌬️
- Hairy Maclary & Friends Sculpture Park brings much loved children’s book characters to life 🐕 👨👩👦👦
- passionate about surfing, the team at Hibiscus Surf School offers first class instruction for all ages and abilities 🌊🏄
- fulfil your dream and swim with dolphins with Dolphin Seafaris offer safe swimming encounters with dolphins 🐬
- Bay Explorer Island & Wildlife Cruise connects you to marine wildlife, an island stopover, and a chance to kayak 🛥️
- bathe in our 100% pure natural mineral water surrounded by spectacular native bush at Fernland Spa ♨️
- visit Kiwifruit Country's landscape, an idyllic kiwifruit orchard perfect to experience the best of the kiwi industry 🥝
- combine kayaking with glow worm viewing on a magical and truly unique experience with Waimarino GlowWorm Kayaking 🛶
- an oasis for bird enthusiasts, Katikati Bird Gardens feature gardens and natural wetlands with native and exotic birds
- explore Kaiate Falls (Te Rerekawau Falls) where water tumbles down a ravine into a swimming hole 👟
- popular McLaren Falls Park has extensive walkways, plenty of parkland to picnic and one of best collection of trees in NZ 🌳
- Tauranga Tasting Tours will treat you to a personal culinary experience savouring local flavours and world class wineries 🍷
- Waimarino Adventure Park features climbing walls, The Blob, a ropes course and kayak slide - plenty of family fun 👨👩👦👦
- try Drift Triking, a little like bumper cars but even better
- walk through native bush to the stunning Omanawa Falls, the type of place that goes viral on social media (currently closed)
AT A GLANCE
📍 # of Visitors 4.5
🐚 Beaches 7.5
🌦️ Chance of Rain 3.0
👨👩👦👦 Family Fun 5.5
🛒 Shopping 7.0
🍽️ Food + Wine 6.0
🏳️🌈 LGBTQI+ friendly 👍
Note: the highest possible score is an 8.0
🎥video courtesy of Waimarino Group on YouTube
WESTERN BAY OF PLENTY
Sit back and relax. We've planned it all for you.
Day 1 : Arrive in the Western Bay of Plenty
You'll travel to the Western Bay of Plenty, either by car, coach, or by flying into Tauranga. Upon arrival you'll check in to your accommodation, settle in and get acquainted with your surroundings for the next 2 nights.
If your energy levels are high, jump into some decent running/walking shoes and hike to the summit of Mauao on Mount Maunganui's Summit Track. You'll likely be out of breath when you reach the top, but the views greeting you will reward your efforts - linger at the top with a refreshment before descending again.
If upon arrival the heights of Mauao look a little daunting, Mount Maunganui's Base Track offers a much gentler stroll around the base of the mountain. Your views are entirely different though, and you'll be rewarded to beautiful hidden coves, beaches and ocean waves. A popular option with locals too, don't be surprised if you're greeted by passers by.
After your walk, you're bound to have worked up an appetite, so we'll let you know the best places to dine early, as your dessert tonight will be a treat for the eyes.
Waimarino GlowWorm Kayaking is a great way to combine viewing glow worms in their natural environment, while enjoying the fun of kayaking on a calm lake. It's an unforgettable experience that'll leave you pinching yourself
Day 2 : Kiwi fruit and beach relaxation Kiwi-style
If you haven't woken early to tackle the Mount Maunganui Summit Track or Base Track again, you might want to stroll along Mount Maunganui's Main Beach or better yet, catch an early morning surf, with a board and a bit of local advice from Hibiscus Surf School. Or enjoy a stroll along Pilot Bay and take a moment to just relax, watching the world go by around you.
Today, you might want to adventure into the world of Kiwifruit Country, offering insights into a working orchard in this unique region, able to produce one of the worlds healthiest fruits, better than anywhere else.
Alternatively, jump aboard the Bay Explorer and embark on a full day cruise, complete with open-air sun deck. Spot marine wildlife, visit an island for a bush walk, or kayak, stand-up paddle board or swim. The Island & Wildlife Cruise offers BBQ facilities to cook your own lunch, and you can purchase beer and regional wine from their onboard bar to complete your adventure.
The Mount Salt Water Hot Pools can provide an excuse to relax some time away, at least until your fingers pucker like prunes, signalling time for a massage.
After your day, we've arranged for you to delight in dinner and celebrate your last night in this region at one of our favourite restaurants in the area.
Day 3 : Depart the Western Bay of Plenty
Take in the view from Minden Lookout or wander the coastal paradise of Orokawa Bay Track before departing this region. Hairy MacLary & Friends Sculpture Park is a firm family favourite in every Kiwi household, so might be worth a stop at the playground here too if you have young ones to consider. We'll let you know the best way to get from this region to the next part of your New Zealand trip, wherever you want that to be.