Explore the best of the Bay of Plenty with these 9 inspiring things to do and experience.
1: 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 and look out for some of nature’s finest creatures that live here including penguins, seals, dolphins, whales, sunfish, school fish, sharks and orca, depending on the time of year.
See our wildlife and learn about our stunning coastline from qualified marine biologists.
2: 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.
Authentic māori meeting house, digital light show
Meet Mataatua Express Tour
Know Mataatua Cultural Immersion Experience
3: 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.
Working kiwifruit orchard
4: 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.
Swim with dolphins, wildlife viewing
Dolphin Viewing and Swimming
4: 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.
Evening Glow Worm Kayak Tour - Tauranga
6: 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.
Hot water beach, fur seals, eco sanctuary
Moutohorā: Island Sanctuary
Whale Island (Moutohora) Snorkelling Sailing Trip
KG Kayaks - Whale Island
Diveworks Charters - Whale Island Tours
7: 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.
One of New Zealand's most popular walking tracks
Arataki Cultural Walking Trails
8: 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).
Harbour cruise, scenic views, wildlife
Kewpie Cruises - Scheduled One Hour Scenic Harbour Cruise
10: 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.