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11 Bay of Plenty heritage attractions to visit

Pacific Coast Highway Bay of Plenty in depth historic exploration between Waihi Beach to Opotiki gateway to the East Cape and Gisborne.

TIP

Check out the companion Pacific Highway, Bay of Plenty art & heritage trail road trip – Best Bits for art galleries and places of interest for art and craft fans.

4 days
3 nights (short break)

Trip Overview

A Pacific Coast Highway alternative road

Start Waihi Beach
Finish Tauranga

BEST TIME TO GO

Late spring to early autumn, December to March. A number of attractions are outdoors.

Can the Bay of Plenty heritage trip be shortened?

Yes, focus on an overnight stay in the vicinity of Tauranga using the regional centre as a hub for your must-go activities

From Tauranga Distance (one way)
Athenree Tauranga 51 km
Katikati Tauranga 37 km
Ohope Tauranga 95 km
Whakatane Tauranga 87 km
Opotiki Tauranga 130.8 km

TIP: The start of the journey connects with

 

BAY OF PLENTY TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Athenree Farmhouse European settler homestead
  2. Katikati Fire Station Museum innovative local museum
  3. Bowentown Domain Pa site with its sweeping Pacific Ocean views
  4. Elms Historic home & gardens 19th century colonial homestead & Victorian garden
  5. Classic Flyer Museum World War I & II military aerial history, vintage plane flights
  6. Gate Pa battle ground site  NZ Land Wars heritage site
  7. Monmouth Redoubt NZ Land Wars heritage site
  8. Tauranga Historic Village 19th century reconstructed village precinct
  9. Ohope Heritage Reserve pre-European Maori pa (village) site
  10. Whakatane Mataatua Meeting House – premier Maori meeting house
  11. Opotiki Museum and burial tree pre-European Maori burial practices

Start Waihi Beach
Finish Tauranga

Route map

Waihi Beach, Tauranga, Whakatane, Opotiki, Lake Rotoma: 381 kms

Day 1

Bowentown domain @Waihi Beach
Bowentown domain @Waihi Beach

Discover the charms of historic farmhouses then it’s onto the attractive seaside town of Katikati with its quirky fire station museum, street murals and art galleries. The day finishes with time spent at the Bowentown Domain contemplating the strategic significance of the pa (fortified village) site and its views of the Pacific Ocean.

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Day 2

Early NZ airways planes at Classic Flyer Museum, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

Short on time? Here’s a treat that is unmissable for its historic significance for modern Aaotearoa New Zealand, The Elms, Battle of Gate Pa and Mission Cemetery in Tauranga. And finish the day with military glory visiting the Classic Flyer Museum.

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Day 3

Ohope Scenic Reserve entrance, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

Pause and soak up the atmosphere of one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s premier Maori meeting house, Mataatua with its elaborately carved entrance way and beautifully woven panel interior. Spend time at the Ohope Scenic Reserve taking in the strategic location of pre-European Maori pa site while enjoying Ohope’s beachside resort vibe. Arrive in Whakatane ready to enjoy an immersive journey into Maori values and culture.

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Day 4

Waiotahi Beach carved Maori poles, Opotiki, Bay of Plenty, NZ

Linger longer in Whakatane or reluctantly return to Tauranga via Opotiki and Okere Falls. Your last day is a classic road trip with the morning in Opotiki then it’s onto the side roads of the Bay of Plenty finding waterfalls and beautiful central North Island lakes to photograph. You arrive in Tauranga ready for the next New Zealand adventure.

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YOUR JOURNEY HAS FINISHED …

WHERE TO GO NEXT FROM  WHAKATANE … CENTRAL NORTH ISLAND CONNECTIONS ARE … ?

Lake Rotoma, New Zealand @myseadoolife
Lake Rotoma+ @myseadoolife

PACIFIC HIGHWAY – BAY OF PLENTY TO GISBORNE

Finish your Bay of Plenty heritage road trip in OPOTIKI  and continue on the Pacific Coast Highway to Gisborne and the East Cape.

TAURANGA LOOP TRIP

The Bay of Plenty heritage road trip can be a loop road trip. Return to Tauranga via a scenic interior route (SH30) passing Lake Rotoma, Lake Okataina and Okere waterfalls and a chance to go rafting on NZ’s highest commercially rafted waterfall. From scenic SH30 you can continue onwards to Tauranga where your journey started.

JOIN THE GEOTHERMAL HIGHWAY AT LAKE OKATAINA … AND EXPLORE ROTORUA

Decide to explore Aotearoa New Zealand’s hot spot, Rotorua. Rotorua is where the earth bubbles, hisses and roars with the power of geothermal energy.

TIP

WAIKATO GEM … Firth Tower & open air historical village – Best Bits a short hop from Tauranga and in the vicinity of Hobbiton.

BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE

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