Chill out in the Bay in winter

The Coastal Bay of Plenty isn’t your typical winter Kiwi holiday destination. For one, it doesn’t get bogged down in snow and sleet. Instead, the weather is crisp and vibrant, with cool breezes and plenty of sunlight, meaning it’s a beautiful time of year for both outdoor adventures and to cosy up.

TBOP Winter 457

Nothing beats sinking into a hot pool and feeling your stresses dissolve and float away – and the Bay has plenty of pools to soak in, under a blue sky or starry canvas. For instance, Awakeri Hot Springs, just 16km from Whakatane, is a gem submerged in native bush and birdsong. While Omokoroa Tourist Park and Thermal Hot Pools has three outdoor pools to slide into, with up to 39°C of thermal alkaline water sourced from a hot rock stream.

For all the coffee addicts and enthusiasts out there, you can get your caffeine bean fix – and a whole lot more – at the Tauranga Coffee Festival. This annual celebration of New Zealand’s coffee scene features a wide range of brews and street food, along with heaps of entertainment.

Winter is the perfect time to indulge in comforts. So, treat yourself to a delicious hot meal and a drink – or three – at one of the Bay’s many toasty restaurants and bars. Local chefs use signature local ingredients to provide unique Bay and Kiwi flavours, and the craft beer scene is inspired – be sure to check out the craft beer tour with Brewbus.

If you feel like a little fresh air and some exercise, the Bay has you covered, with mountains, tracks and trails to cycle or walk. Winter is perhaps the best time to visit Mauao, which towers over Tauranga Moana, as there’s less people around – making the views all the more stunning and tranquil.