WHAT TO DO IN TAURANGA
Discover a place of rest or anchorage, Tauranga’s Maori meaning aptly sums up a perfect holiday in Tauranga. The harbour, the thread of beaches and coast creates an ideal place to recharge. Absorb the urban vibe of Bay of Plenty’s largest city where life and activities remain woven around natural places. Nature, sand beneath your feet and tumbling rivers are a cycle / walk / boat ride away.
Bay of Plenty
Delve into the creative and regional hub of the Bay. Discover what Tauranga and Mount Maunganui offer visitors with their flow of energy, creative spirit and summer bounce. The Bay of Plenty is home to world class beaches, spectacular natural landscapes, foodie treats from succulent kiwi fruit or ice cream bursting with fruity goodness.
Let’s follow the path from The Strand, Tauranga CBD to The Mount and discover local attractions.
Can you walk between Tauranga and Mount Maunganui?
Yes, check out Bay of Plenty top 10 walks for details. The two towns have effectively merged together into a larger urban area.
Tauranga to Mount Maunganui distance 18 km.
BEST TIME TO GO TAURANGA
Year round, a temperate climate and plenty of indoor attractions makes Tauranga / Mount Maunganui & Bay of Plenty is great option for a winter break.
WEATHER IN TAURANGA
The summers are warm and dry supporting an outdoors holiday and winters frost free and mild.
TOP 5 SIGHTS & THINGS TO DO IN TAURANGA
HISTORICAL VILLAGE – THE KOLLECTIVE
Heritage facades, replica Victorian village to explore, shop and relax with The Kollective offers new and emerging artisan and crafty goods for a holiday souvenir. The Village hosts weekend markets, entertainers and summer festivals with free entry to events.
CLASSIC FLYERS AVIATION MUSEUM
A cafe with retro fly geer, a genuine flying school, beautifully restored vintage planes. There is the option of taking up flying lessons or enjoying a flight in a vintage trainer plane.
MCLAREN FALLS PARK
Waterfalls, picnic areas, a lake to swim in and nightlife glow worms. The park with farm animals for petting, glorious autumn foliage encouraging visitors to toss leaves and plenty of space for a private picnic spot.
ATTEND A SUMMER FESTIVAL
Warm evenings, pop up foodie trucks with mouth watering treats, happenings and gigs wowing the crowds. A summer date in the Bay of Plenty is a sure thing when the music starts at Bay Dreams.
TAURANGA ART TRAIL
A one of kind photo moments, let your own creativity behind the camera shine from Katikati street murals and over 70 street art displays in Tauranga’s city centre.
Urban lifestyle meets beachside relaxation
Just five minutes apart, Tauranga and Mount Maunganui seamlessly flow from urban attractions to a kiwi beach culture. It’s brilliant. Sweep over the bridge and harbour to Mount Maunganui.
- Follow the walking track to the top of Mount Maunganui (Mauao) for breathtaking sweeps of harbour, beach and city
- Enjoy a day with sand beneath the feet at Mount Maunganui’s Main Beach, or the calm kids friendly waters of Pilot Bay
- Browse the surf shops, boutique stores and gift galleries along Mount’s Main Street
- Soak in hot pools at the base of Mount Maunganui and enjoy the views of the beach
Celebrity status sits comfortably with Mount Maunganui surf beach. The thread of cafes, restaurants and boutique shops lining the promenade between the ocean and sand is well known. Nothing like Mount Maunganui’s televised appearances giving Bondi Beach a kiwi contender. The Mount’s beach stretches into wide gold sand horizons merging into Papamoa and beyond into Mateku.
MUSEUMS & HERITAGE ATTRACTIONS - TAURANGA / MOUNT MAUNGANUI
Classic Flyers Aviation Museumlearn more
The Elms Te Papa Taurangalearn more
Mission cemeterylearn more
The Historic Villagelearn more
Brain Watkins Houselearn more
Gate Palearn more
Monmouth Redoubtlearn more
Mount Maunganui summit is the most popular lookout point at just over 200 metres. Minden Lookout, approximately 13 km from the city centre offers a panoramic view of the entire Bay of Plenty from Wahaaari (White) Island volcanic activity to Tauranga and beyond.
ART TRAILS & GALLERIES IN TAURANGA
Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga
The gallery is a major public art gallery in the Bay of Plenty. With a focus on local emerging and established artists the exhibition spaces are constantly changing. There is a children’s programme during the school holidays and an interesting gift shop.
Use the downtown Tauranga Art Lover’s Walk map to find the city’s amazing sculptures. The flat easy walk encompasses Tauranga city centre and has over 40 outdoor sculptures, murals and large art installations for visitors to view while shopping or enjoying a coffee in the many cafes. Check travel pack section for map PDF.
Read more about Bay of Plenty road trip, art trails, galleries and museums.
Get into the markets. Catering is sorted, forget firing up the BBQ pop into the various markets and serve up something special.
- Bobby’s Fresh Fish Market
- Gourmet Night Market
- The Farmers Market
- Little Big Markets, a classic with local artisans next to a stall selling French crepes.
- Dinner in the Domain food truck gathering from burgers, sweet treats and vegan snacks
Tauranga and Mount Maunganui are festival centres with the summer choc full of events. And that is excluding the surf towns of Bowentown and Waihi Beach.
- Bay Dreams music festival early January focused on contemporary music
- One Love Music festival – January, it is focused on the reggae beat
- Tauranga Arts Festival – biennial event taking place in October-November. It’s a celebration of all things theatre, music, literature and art. The ten day festival has a number of associated performances and street entertainment.
- Outdoor Summer Shakespeare Season – January in the Historic Village’s cobbled streets
- Tarnished Frocks and Divas. Another biennial event that is managed by passionate volunteers. Celebrating and empowering women over forty. The event showcases funky stage productions, humour and laughter.
- National Jazz Festival – April. Four days of all things jazz all over the town. Get into the mood with jazz sunset cruises and jazz high teas.
SHOPPING – TAURANGA & MOUNT MAUNGANUI
- What a great name Our Place Tauranga. It is an exciting place for foodie treats, shopping trips, impromptu street entertainers. There are second hand fashion outlets, and a Friday night vibe that rocks to live music.
- Need surf gear, new beach tote then head to Mount Maunganui shopping scene for plenty of choices. There are over 100 shops and restaurants. Mount Maunganui is home to the largest shopping mall in the area.
- BAYFAIR MALL which is a tourist attraction due to the size of the centre and stores. The innovative mall managers have opened a dog parking area and the lost and found station. There is an outside / insider architectural feel to the mall creating a sense of space.
- Tauranga’s busy shopping hub is The Strand, a series of streets fronting the harbour with galleries, shops, cafes and general merchandise stores
- TAURANGA CROSSING is a central city shopping mall. The Crossing is predominantly big box brands from The Warehouse, Farmers, Pak’nSave, Torpedo7, Noel Leeming and clothing brand H&M.
- Bethlehem Town Centre is the heart of the Northern Tauranga area in the Bay of Plenty. It is a shopping centre with a high street feel. The mall has over 50 retail stores focused on clothing, retail goods and gift / homeware.
- Fashion Island Shopping Centre is located at Papamoa in Tauranga, is an outlet centre.
- Papamoa Plaza is a smaller shopping centre and its convenient location next to the beach makes it popular with visitors.
The popular bars and nightclubs are predominantly located near or at the beach from Papamoa, Tauranga to the Mount.
- Listen to the beat on the Promenade, Mount Maunganui
- Experience the nightlife on The Strand in Tauranga with live music, pubs and clubs.
TAURANGA ROMANTIC MOMENTS
Immerse yourself in the Bay of Plenty experience from private retreats, hot springs, quiet walks, funky brewery tours or a day exploring an island sanctuary. Perhaps an urban fix strolling The Promenade. Spend time in Mount Maunganui soaking up the sights and sounds of the Main Beach, walking up the summit, checking out the cafes, restaurants and shops. Enjoy Tauranga’s harbour stairs and find the street art trail for the best photo locations.
GARDENS, PARKS & RESERVES IN TAURANGA
Tauranga & Mount Maunganui offer visitors numerous green open spaces to stretch the legs.
Papamoa Hills Regional Park (Te Rae O Pāpāmoa)learn more
McLaren Falls Parklearn more
Gordon Carmichael Reservelearn more
Yatton Parklearn more
Robbins Parklearn more
BEACHES - LOCAL HOT SPOTS
Tauranga is surrounded by a beautiful coastline. Go sailing, fishing or dolphin watching and relish the stunning coastal environment.
- What to do at the beach: Sandcastle building tips
- What to do at the beach, wellness treatment tips and treatment
Tauranga Hot Pools
Sheer undulated pleasure. You are slowly absorbing the warm mineral water creating a perfect zen moment. Mount Maunganui is home to the classic hot pool experience with its open air feel, the use of natural energy to warm therapeutic salt water and sea views. Nearby Tauranga / Mount Maunganui are a thread of hot pools to enjoy.
- Mount Maunganui hot salt water pools are a classic experience in the Bay of Plenty. Great location, heaven nestled at the base of the hill.
- Athenree hot springs by the beach with the sea breeze, perfection
- Omokoroa hot springs, located in the holiday park are heaven
- Oropi hot pools and cafe year round indulgence.
- Moutohora (Whale Island) natural low tide impromptu hot water beachsprings, digging is required
Read more Bay of Plenty Hot Pools trail, places to go and enjoy an authentic New Zealand experience. Geothermal mineralised water deep from the earth.
THINGS TO DO WITH FAMILIES
The Bay of Plenty has a variety of outdoor activities for families from animal parks, water adventure parks in the Wairoa River, walks and playgrounds to explore. Tauranga and the Mount have a number of nearby attractions making life a holiday breeze.
Marshalls Animal Parklearn more
Poripori Water Holeslearn more
Waimarino Water & Adventure Parklearn more
McLaren Fallslearn more
Hairy MacClary Sculpturelearn more
PLAYGROUNDS – TAURANGA & MOUNT MAUNGANUI
Need to get the kids energy levels down? Together with local walks Tauranga / The Mount has a number of well equipped playgrounds for kids to test.
- Waterfront playground with Hairy Maclary statues and harbour tidal stairs. The Strand play area includes a lighthouse tower, a very popular rope pirate ship, snake swings and water splash fountains.
- The Lakes playground faces attractive man-made canals and the contemporary play area is well equipped with a flying fox, a rope swing, a separate toddlers’ play area, with a mini trampoline, tunnels and a rocking horse
- The Lakes water play area is fun (bring a change of clothes) water playground is in Pakanga Grove at The Lakes. Water play is encouraged with a water hole, artfully designed river channels and gates. The gates can be managed by kids to control water flow, water pumps and wheels.
- Memorial Park (The Avenues) playground is situated in 11 hectares of land with two well equipped playgrounds swings, slides, climbing ropes and monkey bars. There is a skate park.
WALKS – TAURANGA
A summer favourite walk is between Mount Maunganui Main Beach and Papamoa Beach following the coast with cafes, restaurants and beach activities tempting walkers to stop and soak up the atmosphere. Tauranga and the surrounding Bay of Plenty is a treasure trove of gardens, parks and walks to explore.
- Tidal stairs are fun with the sea washing up the stairs
- Tauranga street art mural trail (check travel pack section for map)
- Waikareao Estuary walkway is a flat 9 km boardwalk following the coastline through the estuary, wetlands and scenic reserves. A shared pathway for walkers, cyclists and dogs on a leash.
- Mount Maunganui hill walk leisurely, explore the base track or climb the summit to take in the breathtaking views the mountain offers
- Ohauiti Reserve, spend quiet time exploring ferns, shaded gullies and bushwalks and open grasslands
- Kopurererua Valley shared pathway links Bethlehem to Tauranga through bush and waterway trails. The 6 km cycleway is a popular local commuter route into the city.
- Gordon Carmichael Reserve walkway is an excellent walking and cycling link between Bethlehem and Brookfield through 60 hectares of stormwater reserve with native plants and a wide variety of birds
Read more about Top 10 Bay of Plenty walks. Get outdoors into the open spaces and gulp up the fresh air.
Jump, dive, walk or snorkel your way around the stunning Bay of Plenty. Skydive over the Bay of Plenty or parasail over Mount Maunganui with experienced guides. Find an escape room and set yourself a puzzle as you plot your way out. Join a nightlife kayaking tour and explore hidden corners of Lake McLaren and discover glow worms glistening in the dusk on a night kayak with Waimarino Kayak Tours. Waimarino Water Adventure Park has a customised kayak slide, definitely something to try out.
The wild blue underwater marine world is revealed on a snorkelling tour with WILDSIDE Adventures or take a cruise to the islands and spend time.
TECT ALL TERRAIN PARK
Tect All Terrain Park gives Rotorua some competition with flying foxes, rope bridges and zip lining through pine forests.
Baywave TECT Aquatic where the largest wave pool in New Zealand beckons. A local favourite is the bombing platform, who needs to find a jetty when you have BAYWAVE. The swimming pool complex also boasts a new Aqua Play Station, which has three water slides, water guns, a tipping water bucket and lots of water fountains for hours of enjoyment. It’s perfect for ages 3-12 years and is free with entry.
ROCKTOPIA is where adventure meets the thrill of a theme park. Indoor rock climbing for all age groups with clip and climb Mount Maunganui. Swing high, climb up and see you on the wall.
MOUNTAIN BIKING IN TAURANGA
The Bay of Plenty is an ideal place to indulge in your passion of cycling / mountain biking. There are trails for every skill level. There is plenty of choice of operators providing bikes, equipment and shuttle services.
Oropi Grove Mountain Bike Park is a popular destination for experienced and advanced riders.
TECT All Terrain Park along with high wire adventures has superb biking trails. You bounce and peddle through pine and native forest. There are 10 mountain bike trails, from a kids loop to advanced rides.
Summerhill Mountain Bike Park, Papamoa is perfect for intermediate mountain bikers. The bike park is situated within a working farm with sheep ignoring your best efforts. The tracks are steep to intermediate through native and pine forests.
TAURANGA FISHING CHARTERS
The wild blue yonder is a temptation. Got a devoted fishing buff in the group then joined a fishing trip departing from either Tauranga or Mount Maunganui. Deepstar Charters offers a range of daily reef fishing trips to suit a range of people regardless of experience or size of the party. Daily reef fishing consists of bottom fishing for main species of fish such as Tarakihi and Snapper as well as a variety of John Dory, Trevally, Pink Moamoa, Porae and Golden Snapper.
BAY OF PLENTY
Tauranga / Mount Maunganui is the regional hub for a vibrant visitor destination. The Bay of Plenty has a string of coastal settlements Waihi Beach, Ohope Beach, Athenree, Kawerau, Matata, Omokoroa, Opotiki, Katikati & Te Puke offer visitors summer holiday ideas, aquatic water sports and beaches to enjoy. Inland Te Puke is a horticultural town with luisious kiwifruit, avocados and summer berries encouraging visitors to stop at the roadside stalls.
For holiday ideas check out itineraries to get you on the road and exploring further:
BAY OF PLENTY MAORI CULTURAL HIGHLIGHTS
The Bay is a repository of authentic Maori cultural experiences. Similar to Rotorua the cultural experiences are part of the contemporary lives of locals. It is a lived in experience that visitors are invited to share creating a unique moment for guests.
- Whakatane – Mataatua – The House That Came Home is a Maori meeting house open to the public. The exquisite carvings and detailed woven wall panels are part of a digital immersive experience for visitors explaining the importance of the meeting house.
- Tauranga Gate Pa historic site
- Tauranga Mission Cemetery invoking the past, NZ Land Wars
- Bowentown heritage walks past pa (fortified villages) and redoubts
- Opotiki public carvings and Hututaia Domain walk with its ancient burial trees
- Dunes coastal trail with its pre-European history
For more information about Whakatane travel guide.
GETTING AROUND TAURANGA
How do we get to the Tauranga City Centre/CBD?
Bayhopper buses are convenient, regular and an easy way to get to Bayfair Shopping Mall and Tauranga city centre. Check Baybus frequently asked questions from bus fares to routes to assist with up to date information.
Yes Luxury Airport Shuttles and Private Charters and you have the option of travel further afield. Enquire directly for further information.
The T1 buses stop at:
- Mount Maunganui Hot Pools (entry fee not included)
- Bayfair Shopping Mall
- Classic Flyers Aeroplane Museum (entry fee not included)
- The Elms Mission House (entry fee not included)
- Tauranga Art Gallery (opposite i-Site)
- Historic Village
- Tauranga City Centre (outside i-Site)
Then back to the ship.
The service was primarily designed for cruise ships and it is necessary to check for up to date information due to covid19.
CYCLE & BIKING IN TAURANGA
The city is largely flat and it has a number of shared pathways and broad roads.
WHERE TO STAY IN TAURANGA
Tauranga and Mount Maunganui are experienced hosts with luxury hotels, motels and holiday parks dotting the area. AirBnB is a popular choice for many holiday makers. The Mount’s promenade is lined with motels facing the beach and Tauranga’s waterfront is another popular choice.
Check walking distances from your selected accommodation to key places you want to visit.
Tauranga or Mount Maunganui
- Festivals, key cultural events and attractions
For city attractions & the Mount you will not necessarily need to hire a bike or vehicle.
Just outside Tauranga / Mount Maunganui
- Katikati for its arts trail and ease of access to walks and beaches
- Ohope for its award winning beach and nearby Whatakane’s heritage Mataatau Meeting House and footsteps trail
- Waihi Beach to experience a classic kiwi summer at the beach
Travel pack information
- Gordon Charmichael reserve walks, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty PDF
- Kipurererua Valley walkway, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty PDF
BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE