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Top 10 Winter Must-dos


1. Enjoy a soak at one of the region's Hot Pools

The coastal Bay of Plenty is home to a number of natural hot pools, perfect to take the chill off on a cold winters day! Relax at the base of Mauao at the Mount Maunganui Hot Salt Water Pools, or enjoy the bush setting at Fernland Spa. Take a day trip to Waihi Beach and explore the Athenree Natural Hot Springs, or head east to Whakatāne and experience the Awakeri Hot Springs for some of the most secluded hot pools in the coastal Bay of Plenty.

2. Explore the region's tracks and trails

It's in our nature to get out and about, even when it's cold outside! The Bay of Plenty is home to many of New Zealand's most beautiful walking tracks and trails. From the famous Mauao and the lesser known Papamoa Hills Regional Park a little further along the coast, to Orokawa Bay at the Northern end of Waihi Beach and the newly opened 'Trig' track. Explore the Whakatāne Heads, or venture further afield to the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park to experience the most spectacular view of the region and beyond on crisp winter days.

3. Choose from a variety of cosy cafes and eateries

Hunker down in one of our region's cosy cafes or eateries - there's plenty to choose from wherever you are in the region that are open all year round. Stare out to sea while sipping hot chocolate at beachfront cafe and restaurant, the Flat White, or try out the new Nourished Eatery in Tauranga's CBD for healthy, vegan treats. Hide Thirst and Hunger is the newest edition to Mount Maunganui, offering delicious meals under the cover of a heated courtyard with blankets at the ready!

4. Adventure through McLaren Falls Park

The coastal Bay of Plenty's local treasure, McLaren Falls Park, is a winter wonderland with secret Glow Worm trails, beautiful waterfalls and lakeside tracks suitable for walking and cycling. After a day of exploring the Park and waterfall, made famous by Disney's Pete's Dragon, head back to the Falls Cafe to warm up with delicious winter delights!

The Falls Cafe is closed for maintenance during August and will be open for business from 1st September 2017 - we can't wait!

5. Kayak through the enchanted glow worm canyon with Waimarino

Glow Worm Kayaking isn't just for summer! For those brave enough to face the cold night air, Lake McLaren never looks more beautiful than on a clear winters night when the stars envy the Lake Tekapo skies. When you paddle out with Waimarino, all the gear to keep you warm and dry is provided, including a glass of mulled wine, and you soon forget about the chill as the sun sets over the picturesque Lake. Although, lots of layers and closed toe shoes are still recommended!

6. Discover Whakaari, White, Island

Our very own geothermal giant is open for business all year round, with tours available by boat or helicopter daily. Crisp days and clear waters mean you'll see the Island at it's finest, with billowing steam set against bright blue skies.

Psst...From now until the 30th September, White Island Tours are inviting local residents of Whakatāne, Kawerau, Opotiki, Tauranga and Western Bay Districts to experience White Island at a very special price of $169 per person - a saving of $50 per person....the perfect excuse to tick White Island off your bucket list!

For more details and to book, please call 0800 733 529 and specify you're after the sweet locals' rate (bookings cannot be made online for this offer).

7. Experience Comvita

Forget about the weather, enter the Forest of Tāne Mahuta and explore the healing power of nature through New Zealand's native plants, including natures first aid kit: Mānuka. See the world through the eyes of a honey bee and learn how they share the gifts of nature with us. In the virtual beehive, immerse yourself in their world.

8. Get active at Rocktopia

Feeling adventurous? Why not experience Rocktopia, where rock climbing meets theme park! Located in Mount Maunganui, Rocktopia is a fun-filled, family friendly option when the weather turns grey.

9. Explore the region's cycle trails

Cycling is a great way to warm up and stay active in the cold season. The coastal Bay is home to a number of urban trail rides throughout Tauranga city and surrounds; try the Waikareao Esturary Walkway and Cycleway, a 9km loop connecting to the Harbour Bridge and Mount Maungnanui. Alternatively, explore the family friendly Motu Dunes Trail in Whakatāne or the Warren Cole Walkway closer to town.

10. Enjoy local markets and festivals

Markets are in abundance throughout the Bay of Plenty year round and are a great way to get out and about exploring the region. From weekly farmers' markets, food or local arts and crafts, to the New Zealand International Film Festival and Tauranga's Zinefest, there is plenty going on throughout the region to keep you busy this winter!

For a full list of markets and festivals, visit bayofpletnynz.com/events

Created: 01 August 2017

Last updated: 02 August 2017