#1 Visit New Zealand’s only active marine volcano, Whakaari (White Island)
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 Aerius Helicopters and Kahu NZ or take a leisurely boat trip from Whakatāne with White Island Tours.
# 2 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.
#3 Take in the magical views from the summit of Mauao (Mount Maunganui)Mount Maunganui’s iconic dormant volcano, Mauao, offers unbeatable views and is steeped in Māori history and ancient myths. The base track around Mauao takes about 50 minutes and is New Zealand’s most popular short walk. A trek to the top is one of the most Instagrammed spots in the country with its panoramic views across Tauranga and the Pacific Ocean. To hear the stories of this significant cultural landmark, download the Arataki app to your handheld device for a self-guided fully-immersive cultural experience.
#4 Embrace our pristine coastline and swim with dolphins
Discover the Bay of Plenty’s renowned coastline with Bay Explorer or Dolphin Seafaris. Learn about the Pacific Ocean’s depths and admire our abundant marine life during a day-long cruise. Our warm coastal waters attract large pods of dolphins between November and May. You may also see orcas, whales, sea turtles and seals. Make the most of your day on the water with a kayak, stand-up paddle board and tick swimming with dolphins off your bucket list.
#5 Explore Moutohorā Island, a Kiwi bird sanctuary
One of New Zealand’s little-known treasures, this island is home to the oldest living dinosaur, the endangered tuatara. Moutohorā sits 9km off the coast of Whakatāne and can only be accessed by a guided tour. On White Island Tours’ guided walk, you will hear why Moutohorā is a bird lover’s paradise. Sail by wind with KG Kayaks’ catamaran and then explore sea caves and a fur seal colony by kayak. Finish off the trip with a swim at the secluded hot-water beach where you can dig your own spa right on the water’s edge.
#6 Discover the Ōpōtiki dunes
Enjoy a guided cycle tour of the Dunes Trail; the most picturesque part of the Motu Trails and one of New Zealand’s Great Rides. Mighty Motu Bike Tours take you on a well-formed track through the marvellous dune scape adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. There are plenty of stop off points along the way, providing an opportunity to soak up the vistas and learn about the rich history of the Ōpōtiki District.
#7 Visit the house that came home and feast on a hāngī
It’s in our nature to make visitors feel right at home by extending our manaakitanga (hospitality) to all. There’s no better place to experience New Zealand’s indigenous culture than at Mātaatua; the landing place of our Māori people. Mātaatua’s digital lightshow ‘HIKO: Legends Carved in Light’ combines history, architecture and technology for a spine-tingling cultural experience. Warm your soul and enjoy a hāngī (Māori feast) with the locals who cooked it in the earth itself.
#8 Taste plenty
Our region is blessed with fertile land and the Bay of Plenty is where some of the world’s healthiest foods are grown and then exported around the world. Visit a working kiwifruit orchard with Kiwifruit Country Tours to learn about the superfood. Learn about the life of a honeybee and the healing powers of Mānuka honey at Experience Comvita or BeeNZ. Indulge in the craft beer scene with Brew Bus and speak to the brewers themselves. Pick your own berries at any number of the berry farms in the Bay of Plenty.
#9 Walk amongst giants in the Whirinaki Forest
Deep in the central North Island lies an ancient forest waiting to be discovered. Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park is one of the world’s last prehistoric rainforests. It is home to first generation native trees, rare native birds and 155 kilometres of superb walking, tramping and mountain biking tracks to suit all levels. Take a guided eco-cultural tour with Whirinaki Rainforest Experiences and immerse yourself in an ancient, natural world.
#10 Catch of the day
Fishing enthusiasts come from near and far to cast their lines into the Bay’s plentiful waters. Renowned fishing spots are everywhere, and big game fishing is a popular sport. Take a chartered trip out with Fat Boy Charters or Tauranga Marine Charters in Tauranga; or Club Talk Charters in Whakatāne. Go fly fishing in the Bay’s freshwaters with Miles Rushmer Guiding.