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First discovered by James Cook in 1769, his first impression of this part of New Zealand was its abundant natural resources and the friendliness of Māori, inspiring him to aptly name it the ‘Bay of Plenty.’
No less plentiful today, this region which lies on the eastern North Island of New Zealand, is home to glistening white beaches, an abundance of juicy kiwifruit, and geothermal gems.
A must-see region of New Zealand, here is our rundown of the top five attractions not to miss when visiting the Bay of Plenty:
1. Mount Maunganui
A short distance from Tauranga, Mount Maunganui is one of the area’s most iconic landmarks, rising 232 meters from the sea. Crowned the ‘Best Beach in New Zealand‘ by TripAdvisor, its spectacular beaches draw surfers from all around the world to its shores. Taking roughly 40 minutes to reach the summit, the trails to the top of this extinct volcano provide stunning vistas of the Tauranga Harbour’s white sandy beaches and islands, which span the entire length of the Bay of Plenty.
2. Geothermal gems
At Hells Gate Geothermal Reserve you can experience the healing properties used by local Māori for over 800 years, while surrounded by thousands of years of volcanic activity. The hot springs with their spouting geysers of sulphurous water combined with the warm, silky smooth geothermal mud are a wonderfully, luxuriating way to spend the day and are one of Rotorua’s finest offerings.
3. Kaiate Falls
Known as Te Rerekawau Falls in Māori, this series of cascading waterfalls is undoubtedly the highlight of the forest reserve near Tauranga. With a swimming hole located at the base of the lower falls, this is an idyllic spot for explorers of all ages. Incredibly picturesque, these waterfalls offer a beautiful place to visit on a hot, summer’s day and are also majestic to behold after a heavy downpour.
4. Māori Heritage
Discover the world of Māori with an authentic Māori experience at Tamaki Māori Village, the only cultural experience in New Zealand to be the recipient of the Supreme New Zealand Tourism Award. Journey back to a time of proud warriors and ancient traditions where you will get a chance to experience the traditions and performances of Māori culture.
Puketapu Lookout and Papaka Redoubt were an ancient Māori fortification site for the Ngati Awa tribe for over 600 years and now offer spectacular views of Whakatane, the heart of the Bay of Plenty.
5. The Redwoods – Whakarewarewa Forest
Whether you’re into mountain biking, running, or hiking, this magnificent forest has something to offer everyone. The towering Californian Coast Redwoods standing amongst a diverse range of tree species, together with panoramic views, and proximity to lakes and thermal areas make the Redwoods an invigorating and unique natural environment to explore and are one of the treasures of the Bay of Plenty.
There’s little doubt that these choice picks have whet your appetite for exploring this part of the world, so all that is left now is to get packing!