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Bay of Plenty

North Island

Bay of Plenty is an area in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand, the largest city in this area is Tauranga. This is a popular spot because of its beautiful beaches and islands, the amount of marine life and New Zealand’s only active volcano is here. The central location of the Bay of Plenty makes it a good stopover to other popular destinations in New Zealand, such as Coromandel, Rotorua and Taupo.

Map New Zealand

Bay of Plenty New Zealand

Must see & do


Tauranga is a wonderful coastal town where you can sail, fish, watch dolphins, take boat trips and even dive. McLaren Falls Park is a 10 minute drive away, this is a popular park for camping, fishing, kayaking and picnics. If you enjoy walking or hiking, head to the nearby Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park. There are several short walking routes, and you can also make multi-day hikes where you spend the night in huts along the route. Huts in New Zealand always need to be booked in advance.

Mt Maunganui Vinkje

A ten minute drive from Tauranga you will find Mt Maunganui, this is a popular surf spot with a wonderful atmosphere. Mt Maunganui has been named the best beach in New Zealand and is also in the top 25 of best beaches in the world. The mountain can be climbed for a beautiful view and there are many nice bars and restaurants in the village.


Mount Maunganui is one of New Zealand’s most popular places to surf. Both beginners and experienced surfers come here to brave the waves. There are many surf schools and rental companies in the area and there is a nice beach atmosphere. Matakana Island is also a good place to surf but to get here you have to find someone with a boat. It is very dangerous and even forbidden to swim here yourself.

Discover the waters Vinkje

More than a hundred dolphins call this bay their home, which is why there is a good chance that you will see them here. There are also opportunities to swim with dolphins in this area. The best months to see the dolphins are the summer months; from November to April. Not only dolphins, but also whales and seals are often spotted here. Find out more about New Zealand’s marine life. The best way to explore these waters is by taking one of the boat trips. Whether you want to go snorkelling, look for marine animals or view the islands, everything is possible here.

Kayaking & Canoeing

A good way to explore the area is by canoe or kayak. This way you can enjoy the beautiful nature and the wild animals that pass by on the quiet Wairoa River. Ohiwa Harbor is also a nice canoe spot because this is a natural harbour that is protected from high waves, therefore you will have calm waters. There are many different birds in this area, but also rays can be seen here, you can do all this on your own or take a guided tour.

Visit the islands

There are several islands in the Bay of Plenty, the best known is Whakaari, or White Island, on this island you will find one of the most active volcanoes in New Zealand. Book a boat trip or a helicopter tour, so you can see the volcano (in a safe way) up close. The beautiful Moutohora is also regularly visited. This island is not open to the general public and can only be visited with a tour. Moutohora is free from harmful insects, which means that the native flora and fauna thrive here. To ensure that the island is not damaged by exotic insects or forest fires, a tour is the only option. Another island worth visiting is Matakana Island. This island has white beaches, pine forests and farmland. It is also a popular surfing spot.


Getting there

The Bay of Plenty is centrally located in the middle of the North Island of New Zealand on the east coast. Tauranga is a 2.5 hour drive from Auckland, and Rotorua is only an hour away. The Coromandel is also easy to visit from the Bay of Plenty, this is also 2 to 2.5 hours away. Tauranga has an airport for domestic flights.

Day trips


Raglan is a surfers village on the west coast of the North Island. Here you will find a relaxed atmosphere and very good surfing waves. Raglan is very suitable for experienced surfers, but there is also a surf school for beginners. Besides surfing you can swim, bodyboard, hike and cycle. The village itself has many cafes, bars, surf shops and art galleries.

The Coromandel

The Coromandel area near the Bay of Plenty is known for its pristine beaches, forests and relaxed atmosphere. Hike one of the most scenic coastal trails, visit the Whenuakura Wildlife Sanctuary, canoe in Cathedral Cove or dig your own hot water pool on the Hot Water beach. Read more about The Coromandel.

Rotorua Vinkje

Rotorua is known for its geothermal activities, Maori culture and outdoor sports. You can see (and smell) geothermal activities all around Rotorua. In Wai-O-Tapu you see and learn all about it. You can also enjoy these activities through natural hot springs. If you are interested in Maori culture, surrounding villages offer cultural evenings where you can enjoy an evening full of singing, dancing, food and much more. For adrenaline activities you can also go to Rotorua. Read more about Rotorua here.

Waitomo caves

The Waitomo Caves are about 2 hours from Tauranga and are a highlight for many travellers. The Waitomo Caves are a labyrinth of caves, sinkholes and underground rivers. Glow worms are the main attraction in these caves. You can visit these caves by means of a walking or boat tour, but adventurous traveler can also experience it in a different way. They can climb, swim, tub, zipline, abseil and raft through the caves, there is something for everyone! Book your tour easily here.


If you are a Lord of the Rings or Hobbit fan, you have to go to Matamata, this is where you will find the Hobbiton movie set. Here you can walk through the Shire and see famous spots from the movie, such as Bag End (Bilbo Baggin’s house). After a tour you can have a drink at the Green Dragon Inn. Find out more about the Lord of the Rings filming locations in New Zealand.

Makoha tips

Mauao – “The Mount”

Mauao is an extinct volcano that lies on the coast of Mount Maunganui, also called “The Mount”. This volcano is 232 meters high and it is a very popular activity to climb it. The walk up takes about 40 minutes and is quite tiring. From the top you have a beautiful 360 degree view of the Bay of Plenty. Don’t be surprised if the locals literally run past you, it is a popular workout spot for them.

Putaruru Blue Spring

The Putaruru Blue Spring is about an hour’s drive from Tauranga. Then it’s about an hour’s walk from the Whites Road car park or about 10 minutes from the Leslie Road car park. But it is well worth the trip, this water is internationally acclaimed for being so pure. That is why about 60% of the spring water in New Zealand comes from this spring. The Blue Spring is a beautiful location that is absolutely non-touristy. It is truly a hidden treasure that is only frequented by the locals. It is a nice place to, for example, have a picnic and enjoy nature that way. You can also go into the water, but it is very, very cold!

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Bay of Plenty New Zealand

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Other destinations near the Bay of Plenty

The Coromandel



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