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12 Inspiring Things to Do in the Bay of Plenty

If you're heading to the Mount for the cricket this summer, you should check out some of the epic things to do throughout the rest of the Bay of Plenty while you're here! We've put together a list of 12 inspiring things to do in the region - but there's so much more! Check out all the other attractions right on our doorstep.

1. Visit Whakaari - New Zealand’s only active marine volcano

It’s in our nature to impress you and a visit to Whakaari (White Island) is a trip you’ll never forget. Step foot on this geothermal giant and experience the amazing colours, sights and sounds of its volcanic crater. Guided tours are available daily with Frontier or Aerius Helicopters or take a leisurely boat trip from Whakatāne with White Island Tours.

Find out more about what you can experience when you visit Whakaari.

2. Embrace our pristine coastline

Discover the Bay of Plenty’s renowned coastline with Bay Explorer. Learn about the Pacific Ocean’s depths and admire our abundant marine life during a day-long cruise. Some of nature’s finest creatures live here including penguins, seals, dolphins, whales, sunfish, school fish, sharks and orca, depending on the time of year. Make the most of your day on the water with a kayak, stand-up paddle board or swim.

Find out more about cruising the Bay of Plenty coastline with Bay Explorer.

3. Take to the skies

Air Chathams and Classic Flyers together bring you a unique experience and an adventure of a lifetime flying in a 1945 Douglas DC3. The scenic flight captures spectacular views around the city of Tauranga and to other points of interest in the beautiful Bay of Plenty.

Find out more about beautiful scenic flights in a DC3.

4. Explore our culture - Visit the house that came home

We are proud to share our Māori heritage and there’s no better place to experience New Zealand’s indigenous culture than at Mātaatua – an authentic meeting house that travelled around the globe for 130 years before returning to Whakatāne. Mātaatua’s digital lightshow ‘HIKO: Legends Carved in Light’ combines history, architecture and technology for a spine-tingling cultural experience.

Find out more about Mātaatuataatua.

5. Learn why kiwifruit is king

Our region is blessed with fertile land and the Bay of Plenty is where the world’s healthiest fruit is grown and then exported around the world. Millions of kiwifruit are grown on vines in and around Te Puke. Visit a working kiwifruit orchard and discover what goes on behind the scenes of this important horticultural industry.

Find out more about kiwifruit in the Bay of Plenty.

6. Swim with dolphins in the wild

Tick this off your bucket list and experience the majesty of swimming alongside dolphins in their natural habitat. Our warm coastal waters in the Bay of Plenty attract large pods of dolphins between November and May each year. Join Dolphin Seafaris for an epic adventure – they have a 95% success rate finding dolphins! You may also see orcas, whales, sea turtles and seals along the way.

Find out more about exploring for dolphins in the Bay of Plenty.

7. Enjoy a kayak tour through a glow worm canyon

Watch a beautiful canyon come alive with twinkling lights during an evening Waimarino Glow Worm Kayak Tour. Enjoy something to eat and drink as the sun sets before paddling across Lake McLaren, near Tauranga, to witness this magical experience. Daytime kayak tours are also available – enjoy the birdsong and peaceful forest surrounds.

Find out more about glow worm kayak tours.

8. Explore Moutohorā Island

One of New Zealand’s little known treasures, this Island is home to a range of rare flora and fauna and endangered native species such as tuatara. Moutohorā sits just off the coast of Whakatāne and is a bird-watcher's paradise. Kiwi, kākāriki (New Zealand parakeets), bellbirds and tui all live here. A guided tour is the only way to access this wildlife sanctuary. You’ll also visit a fur seal colony and enjoy a swim at a natural hot water beach.

Find out more about visiting Moutohorā Island.

9. Take a self-guided walk up or around Mauao

Mount Maunganui’s iconic dormant volcano, Mauao, offers unbeatable views and is steeped in Māori history and ancient myths. Hear about our region’s unique heritage during a walk with Arataki Cultural Walking Trails App. The base track around Mauao takes about 50 minutes and is one of New Zealand’s most popular walks, while a trek to the top is rewarded with panoramic views across Tauranga and the Pacific Ocean.

10. Take a cruise around Tauranga

KEWPIES’ popular tour travels through the Tauranga inner harbour surrounded by the Kaimai ranges.

Scenic features include the Statue of Tangaroa, a diversity of landscapes from untouched white sandy beaches, lush green forests, islands and small village settlements, contrasted by the massive highly developed port infrastructure. Get close-up with cargo and container ships or visiting cruise ships as we travel through Stella Passage and New Zealand’s largest port.

Wildlife includes blue penguins, sea birds, (marine mammals can be seen occasionally in season, including NZ fur seals, orca, dolphins).

Find out more about taking a cruise around Tauranga Moana with KEWPIE Harbour Cruises.

11. Bee inspired by Mother Nature at Comvita

Comvita is globally-renowned for its powerful mānuka honey and associated health and skincare products. Visit their headquarters in Paengaroa to see the world through the eyes of a honeybee. Step inside a virtual beehive and learn about their fascinating lives and how much influence bees have on our food chain, health and wellbeing.

Find out more about the world of honey at Experience Comvita.

12. Enjoy the fruits of our labour

We love to share our delicious kiwifruit, avocados and fresh produce with the rest of the world. Enjoy the Bay of Plenty’s diverse cuisine at markets, cafes, restaurants and wineries. Pick fresh berries in season and buy products straight from local artisan food producers.

Find out more about where to eat in the Bay of Plenty.

Created: 11 January 2018

Last updated: 17 December 2018