We've picked out some of the best Bay of Plenty experiences for the ultimate beach lovers roadie!
By Car (to Tauranga):
From Auckland: 2 hours and 45 minutes
From Hamilton: 1 hour and 30 minutes
From New Plymouth: 4 hours and 15 minutes
From Napier: 3 hours and 45 minutes
From Wellington: 6 hours and 30 minutes
EXPLORE ŌHIWA HARBOUR WITH KG KAYAKS
Enjoy a relaxing day fishing amongst marvellous scenery at Ōhiwa Harbour or take a guided kayak tour with KG Kayaks. At high tide, you can paddle up to the Ōhiwa Oyster Farm for a taste of their famous seafood chowder or some delicious takeaways.
MOUTOHORĀ ISLAND SANCTUARY TOUR
Moutohorā (Whale Island) is a pest-free oasis that is home to a number of New Zealand’s rare and endangered plants, birds and reptiles. Board Moutohorā: Island Sanctuary's comfortable catamaran for an easy cruise to the island before being taken on a fully-guided tour of the island.
Keep an eye out for endangered New Zealand birds as you journey through the regenerated native bush before digging yourself a soothing geothermal spring pool at Onepū Bay, the secluded hot water beach of Moutohorā. This is your opportunity to see New Zealand’s wildlife as nature intended it and discover one of New Zealand’s little-known treasures.
Stay: White Island Rendezvous is a 4.5-star motel accommodation nestled between the Whakatāne River and a pōhutukawa tree-lined escarpment. Enjoy your stay in one of the micro-village cabins and enjoy breakfast at the onsite café – a favourite amongst locals.
MAGICAL MAKETŪ & NEWDICKS BEACH
If you’re after raw, untouched coastal beauty, pay a visit to Newdick's Beach. Located near Maketū (about 30 minutes from Tauranga), take the privately-owned gravel road down to the shore (remember to bring $5 per car or $8 per motorhome for the honesty box). Surfers will love the punchy waves but take note of the secluded location as there are no lifeguards or amenities around.
Just up the coast is the laidback seaside town of Pukehina Beach. Think people riding horses, driving 4WD bikes instead of cars, and beach as far as the eye can see – Pukehina is definitely a top spot if you're looking for a slower pace.
SEASIDE SPLENDOUR - MOUNT MAUNGANUI
Visit the number one beach in New Zealand – Mount Maunganui's Main Beach – and see beautiful Mauao (Mount Maunganui), one of the Bay of Plenty’s most significant landmarks. Walk the 40-minute base track or climb 30-minutes to the summit for stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
Take an exciting V8 Trike Tour beside the Mount Main Beach for a perfect introduction to this stunning area.
SUP LESSON AND GUIDED TOUR OF MAUAO WITH EAST COAST PADDLER
Immerse yourself in Māori culture and stories with a hikoi (guided walk) around Mauao with East Coast Paddler. This sacred landmark is a beloved mountain in Mount Maunganui. Discover how Māori lived centuries ago as local guides share legends and history. Learn about current environmental efforts to keep Mauao and the surrounding ocean waters pristine. Look out for marine life as you enjoy the beauty of this stunning coastal walk. In a testament to its beauty, the Mauao base track is also one of the most popular short walks in New Zealand.
Then hit the water for a stand-up paddle-boarding lesson as the crew at East Coast Paddler share their love of the ocean with you.
Stay: You can’t get closer to the beach than Pāpāmoa Beach Resort. They’ve got camping, glamping, luxury villas or the classic Kiwi bach for your ultimate beach getaway.
Anzac Bay is a pōhutukawa-lined beach with calm turquoise waters. The shoreline is protected by abundant native bush so it’s a great spot for a quiet picnic, a snorkel or an easy stand-up paddleboard. Plus, there’s a playground, a boat ramp and lots of space for a cricket game or a laze in the sun.
Stay: Local campground Bowentown Beach Holiday Park is a fantastic spot for families and offers cabin, campsites and motel units.