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Tauranga the odd, unusual and fascinating things to do

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@Whirinaki Forest Footsteps

Best bits your only travel guide

A swimming hole, PoriPori with the threat of a massive torrent of water present or a military cemetery time largely forgotten and forest bathing in the Whirinaki Forest anyone? Consider touring the Mount on a V8 trike thundering down the road or soaring the skies in a World War II open cockpit vintage plane. Then there is a hidden gem that got everything for everyone to do and see.

For more odd, unusual and fascinating places to visit in New Zealand check out New Zealand attractions, things to do… and get excited about what you will find around the next corner.



Thrill seekers beware. Listen for the siren announcing Trust Power is opening the sluice gates and a tremendous amount of water is going to rapidly swirl downstream. Pori Pori waterhole on the Wairoa River is for confident swimmers as the water is naturally deep and then you have to bomb / jump off rocks to enter. Although there are shallow rock pools for safe swimming and exploring, care is needed at all times.

Check the Trustpower website for up to date information on water release dates



Rafting tour operators offer adrenaline adventurers to get onboard and raft the river when the hydroelectric dam flood gates open. Grade 5 white water action is guaranteed. Every Sunday during summer, the power company opens the dam nearby at McLaren Falls which makes rafting and kayaking on the Wairoa River challenging.

Forest Bathing anyone?

Whirinaki Forest Footsteps Cultural Tours invites visitors to a forest bath in their backyard, Whirinaki Forest.

It is explained as being in nature and connecting with it through the sense of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.

According to the tour operator, “Being in nature can restore our mood, give us back our energy and vitality, refresh and rejuvenate us. is like a bridge. By opening our senses, it bridges the gap between us and the natural world.”

Check with Cultural eco-tours and guided forest walks for details.

@Whirinaki Forest Footsteps
@Whirinaki Forest Footsteps


The wind in your air, wide open spaces are your transport option for a tour of the Bay of Plenty from the back of a V8 Chevrolet trike. The one of a kind trikes are designed and built in New Zealand and the tours operate from Tauranga. The question is when is a motorbike experience not a bike. Of course when it is a trike from the Bay of Plenty.
Watch the youtube

Moturiki Island @Tourism Bay of Plenty
Moturiki Island @Tourism Bay of Plenty

Moturiki Island

Find an island you can walk to. Amazing and the island has an unusual history. Originally a defensive pa (village) site, then a quarry to source loose rock for the railway system, then the former quarry became a Marineland dolphin aquarium. The short lived aquarium closed and the larger quarries became swimming and bumper rides as part of Leisure Island.  Today regeneration has led to the island reverting to a natural state with visitors exploring a rocky outcrop with formations sculptured by the relentless sea. Today I enjoyed Mount Maunganui’s island escape. And it’s only five minutes from the beach.

Read more Mount Maunganui 6 things to do


“Mission Cemetery – also known as Military, or Old Military, Cemetery – is the oldest European burial ground in the Bay of Plenty city of Tauranga. Located on Marsh Street at the northern end of Te Papa peninsula, the cemetery is situated on a rocky promontory overlooking the harbour. It stands on the site once occupied by the Ngāi Te Rangi pā of Otamataha. The cemetery is thought to contain the remains of about 100 imperial and colonial troops and 14 Māori fighters who died in the Tauranga district during the New Zealand Wars. Fewer than half of the graves are marked with headstones or plaques.”

SOURCE Tauranga mission cemetery

Tauranga mission cemetery @NZHistory
Tauranga mission cemetery @NZHistory
Boeing Stearman @NZ Warbirds
Boeing Stearman @NZ Warbirds


Soar in the skies above in a World War II Boeing Stearman. It is a biplane built during the war as a military trainer aircraft. You are exposed to the elements with nifty goggles, a flying suit and gloves and you are the only passenger. Very cool, totally amazing and all you have to do is contact Classic Flyers Adventure Flights and find out when you can book a flight.

The fabulous Classic Flyers New Zealand – Bay of Plenty’s Ultimate Aviation Experience for the Whole Family. offering.


Tauranga airport is also home to Learn to Fly Tauranga | Aviation Centre | Aviation Centre where passionate trainers offer gyroplane rides.

It is similar to a honeybee giving you a flight home, complete with a buzzing hum and spinning rotor blades.

Microlight flights, give it a go in Tauranga.

Athenree Homestead, New Zealand @Ulrich Lange Dunedin New Zealand
Athenree Homestead @Ulrich Lange Dunedin New Zealand


Uncover a fascinating place that offers everything for everyone. Athenree is located in the Tauranga Harbour, on a small promontory. Athenree is part of a string of seaside communities where people enjoyed the rich food resources of a sheltered harbour for over 800 years. Then a substantial farmhouse was built and it survived history to become a recognised historic landmark, Athenree settler homestead, a charitable trust estate. The icing on the cake is the natural hot mineral springs located in the local holiday park.

Visit Athenree

  • Soak in geothermal hot mineral springs
  • Heritage buffs enjoy the homestead and historic Pa site
  • Nature and outdoors lovers explore TUAPIRO RESERVE is a small sandpit with views of the inner harbour. It is a shorebird and estuary location and care is needed to share space with the wildlife. There are toilets and a carpark

All wrapped up in a tiny settlement, read more What’s so great about Athenree, Bay of Plenty

Anthenree Hot Pools, New Zealand @athenreehotsprings
Anthenree Hot Pools @athenreehotsprings

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