EXPERIENCE THE BAY

There are SO many ways to see all that the Coastal Bay of Plenty has to offer - from the water, in the air, or from the top of a mountain - whatever way you choose to go, it'll be unforgettable! Here's some of our top tips for taking in the Bay...

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SEE THE BAY BY FOOT

The iconic dormant volcano, Mauao or The Mount as it is more commonly known, offers unbeatable panoramic views across Tauranga and the Pacific Ocean and is steeped in Māori history and ancient myths. The base track around Mauao takes about 50 minutes and is one of New Zealand’s most popular walks. If you want to venture to the summit, it'll take you about 30 minutes to reach the summit - and the views are well worth it! Hear about our region’s unique heritage and volcanic origins with Arataki Cultural Trails.

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ON THE WATER

Paddle the Eastern Bay of Plenty

Seek out adventure and make the most of your day by hiring a kayak to explore the scenic inlets at Ōhope’s estuary or Ohiwa Harbour, both of which lie east of Whakatāne. KG Kayaks will set you up with everything you need. They also offer guided kayak tours to Moutohorā Island or a moonlight trip across Ohiwa Harbour. Spectacular.

 

Swim with dolphins in the wild

Tick swimming with dolphins in the wild off your bucket list and experience the magic of these curious creatures 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. You may also see orcas, whales, sea turtles and seals along the way.

 

Orca watching

There are about 150 Orca in New Zealand waters and many enjoy the Bay of Plenty’s plentiful marine life for feeding and warm waters for breeding. A day aboard the vessel “Orca” with Orca Wild Adventures will bring you close to an array of Bay marine wildlife, including Orca, Bottlenose and Common Dolphins, Pilot Whales, all manner of Baleen Whales, seals and fish. You’ll swim, snorkel, dive, and enjoy a classic BBQ at a secluded island offshore.

 

Learn to surf

The Main Beach in Mount Maunganui is an iconic backdrop to learn to surf. There are plenty of surf schools along the beach that offer surfing lessons for people of all abilities - and our beach is perfect for learning! You will gain confidence, and water skills. By the end of your first lesson, you’ll be riding waves and feeling the good vibes that come from surfing!

 

Embrace our pristine coastline

Learn about the Pacific Ocean’s depths and admire our abundant marine life during a day-long cruise with Bay Explorer. Some of nature’s finest creatures live here including penguins, seals, dolphins, whales, sunfish, school fish, sharks and orca, depending on the time of year. Make the most of your day on the water with a kayak, stand-up paddle board or swim.

 

Kayak through a glow worm canyon

Watch a beautiful sea canyon come alive with twinkling lights during an evening Glow Worm Kayak Tour with Waimarino. 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.

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IN THE AIR

Tandem skydiving

The ultimate buzz on the Pacific Coast highway. Another bucket list opportunity for you to tick off in the beautiful Bay. Experience the exhilaration of freefall from up to 12,000 feet. Be brave and take a leap of faith!

 

Open cockpit flights

Feel the wind in your face and the true excitement of flight as you soar over Tauranga in an open cockpit. The passenger experience starts with getting suited up in a flight suit, helmet and goggles, before being strapped into the cockpit. Then, enjoy the scenery below along with the exhilaration of the whistling air around you. These aircraft are based at Classic Flyers and can be booked any day of the week, weather permitting. 

 

Glider flights

Experience the wonder of soaring flight over our magnificent Bay of Plenty with the opportunity to try 'hands on' Glider flights with the qualified instructors from the Tauranga Gliding Club. Conveniently based near the Tauranga Airport at Classic Flyers.

 

Scenic helicopter flights

What better way to see this stunning region than on a scenic helicopter flight! Take off from Tauranga Airport and see the Bay from above. There are several operators who all offer different flight options - there is something to suit everyone! 

 

Take virtual control of some of the most iconic aircraft ever built

TheAviator.co.nz flight simulators have been designed to closely mimic the flying environment. As you sit down in replica ejection seats, jets starting with a roar, you can feel the rumble. The moment you put on your VR Headset and you’ll be transported into a virtual 3D environment and begin to experience what it is like to be in a cockpit of a warbird, fighter jet or helicopter.