Sometimes, you just need a weekend away with the girls. The Coastal Bay of Plenty has all the good things that make a girls’ getaway one to remember – and it’s a perfect place to visit year-round. We have shopping destinations to rival the big cities, culinary experiences to tease your tastebuds, fresh sea air and beautiful walks that are just as stunning during the cooler months.
We’ve put together some of the best things to do and places to eat and drink during a gals’ getaway to the Coastal Bay of Plenty – all you need to do is find a date and book it in!
It wouldn’t be a girls’ weekend without some retail therapy. Tauranga’s shopping experience has recently had a regeneration with major international retailers such as Mecca Maxima (makeup, anyone?) and H&M making their mark firmly in the Bay.
Mount Maunganui’s Bayfair has been through some exciting changes with a huge expansion including over 50 new stores and the recently opened Dine – an all-weather alfresco dining precinct. This brings some of the country’s big players to the Bay including Burger Burger, Mexico and unique newcomers including Izakai – a Māori Japanese fusion restaurant. Whether you’re going for the food, the shopping, or both, Bayfair is definitely one to add to the must-do list.
Tauranga Crossing is the region’s newest shopping mall located at The Lakes, just 15 minutes from downtown Tauranga. You can shop, dine and catch a movie all in one place. Grab a cocktail at Something & Social, or a tasty Malaysian dish from Hawker and Roll, check out H&M, and finish with a wine and movie in Tauranga’s newest cinema (we recommend the recliner seats!).
If you’re looking for a boutique shopping experience – head to downtown Mount Maunganui and check out some of the local shops – including Paper Plane and Blak Chaos. Or venture north to Waihi Beach and pop into Sunday Homestore – a cute little store full of contemporary homeware and other treats.
Dining and cocktails
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating and drinking in the Coastal Bay of Plenty. Keen to have a fancy dinner with the girls while you’re here? Book a table at any one of the top-end restaurants, including The Bistro at the Clarence Hotel, Harbourside, and Mount Maunganui newcomer Fire, and you’ll be treated to stunning food, wine and exceptional cocktails.
Looking for the top breakfast spots? There are so many to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with Mount Maunganui’s Eddie’s and Elspeth, The General, Nourish in Te Puna (you need to try the french toast donuts...seriously). The list goes on! Check out this Stuff article which covers some of the best eateries in the Bay.
Here’s some of the best places to grab a great coffee: Luca, Hello (at Our Place), Mixture, Henry & Ted, Love Rosie Bakery, Cafe 88, Tay St Store, or grab one from the The Wave caravan (literally a caravan shaped like a wave) on the Mount beachfront and take in the salty sea air.
Health and wellbeing
It goes without saying that treating yourself to a massage or soak in a hot pool is a must-do on any girls’ weekend. There’s plenty of thermal hot pools to choose from in the Coastal Bay of Plenty, including the ever-popular Mount Hot Pools, Fernland Spa, and Sapphire Springs in Katikati. If you’re after a massage – drop into the amazing team at Thai Touch (they have three locations in Tauranga and Mount Maunganui), or for a real treat – book a treatment at Sanctum in Mount Maunganui – their facials and other spa treatments will leave you feeling utterly relaxed.
Tracks and trails
It wouldn’t be a visit to the Coastal Bay of Plenty without exploring some of the beautiful scenery right on our doorstep. If you’re staying near Waihi Beach (or even if you’re not, it’s not far to travel) it’s definitely worth walking around the coast to Orokawa Bay, and you can carry on to the next beach - Homunga Bay, where a waterfall lands directly on the beach.
Tauranga and Mount Maunganui have an abundance of walking tracks – including one of New Zealand’s most popular short walks – the Mauao base track and summit walk (you can easily do both if you have a couple of hours up your sleeve), the views from the top are well worth the hike and, let’s be honest, it’s all for the ‘gram. For something more casual, grab a coffee and head for a stroll along some of the 125km coastline – it’s perfect any time of the day!