Explore our Beaches
Our Bay of Plenty beaches are famously gorgeous, and taking a regular dip is a summer ritual round here. But the ocean can be experienced so many other ways: from spotting marine wildlife to learning to surf those perfect waves, to exploring the mysteries of the underwater world while diving. Try something new on the water this summer – and gain a new perspective on it!
Exploring the water by kayak has a lot of advantages – you can explore rocky shallow areas no boat can get close to, it’s quiet (no engine), it gives you a great muscle workout, and you can take all your food and supplies with you inside the kayak’s cavity. For an introduction to kayaking, head to KG Kayaks, based in the Ohiwa Harbour. KG Kayakys also has a DOC concession to land at the Moutohorā (Whale Island) eco-sanctuary! Another option is Waimarino kayak tours – paddling waterways including Lake McLaren, Lake Rotoiti, and the Wairoa River. Try the sunset glow worm tour - to see glow worms in the Mangapapa Canyon at Lake McLaren, or in a secret cave on Lake Rotoiti, is just magical.
Sure, you can fish off the Bay’s wharves and beaches, but going on a fishing charter gets you out on the water for a greater chance of fish for dinner (with beautiful views of unspoilt BOP coasts, wind in your hair, an adventure, expert fish-finding, and a comfortable boat to boot). Get in touch with Blue Ocean Charters who head out to a few locations including Tuhua (Mayor Island) (once famous for big game fishing). Tauranga Marine Charters is also great for a variety of good fishing spots including reef and deep sea.
MARINE WILDLIFE TOUR
Traditionally a wildlife tour like this might be something you’d do if you went travelling, e.g. to Kaikoura – but what if we told you the wildlife tours in your very own backyard have been rated by tourists as right up there with the best?
Dolphin Seafaris, Orca Wild Adventures and Bay Explorer, for example, are experts in locating enormous pods of wild common dolphins – and you might also spot orcas, humpback and pilot whales, the little blue penguins, New Zealand fur seals and much more. The Dolphins Seafaris boat is even equipped with safe swim bars to hold onto while you swim with the dolphins (without being intrusive). The captain and crew of both tour boats are extremely passionate and knowledgeable about the wildlife, so you’ll gain a new appreciation for the marine side of the Bay.
STAND UP PADDLE BOARDING
Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) gives you a low-impact, whole body workout. It also gives you a beautiful perspective both looking down into the water and exploring the coastline – and if you’re game, the paddle makes it really easy to catch waves! If you’re a SUP newbie, grab a lesson on flat waters with East Coast Paddler. If you’ve got your balance sorted out and want to adventure, book into one of their daytrips or overnight excursions to visit some secret local spots from the water.
Many of our beaches are a surfer’s paradise – and as a local, you’ve got to have tried surfing at least once! Besides, surfing has incredible benefits for both body and mind. Grab a lesson to learn the basics and you’ll be up surfing the white water in no time, and trying your luck at the peeling waves soon after that. Mount Surf Academy, Papamoa’s Hakinini Surf School, and Waihī Beach Surf School are all great options to try out.
Sometimes we just need a bit of adrenaline to shake things up: maybe for you this summer it’s experiencing the thrill of kite surfing, jet skiing or diving? For kitesurfing, get in touch with Assault Boardriding Centre for safe instruction on controlling a kite and board – with a couple of lessons they will soon have you tearing along the water for the ultimate thrill. Skippering your own jet-ski at Jet-ski BOP makes for a great couple of hours or day out. For a perspective completely different to everyday life, go underwater for the calm and splendour of our marine life on a dive trip. Dive Zone does dive training to get you up and running, and day trips to places like Tuhua (Mayor Island), Okaparu Reef and Motiti Island, or Dive Works Charters does various trips including “hunter-gatherer” trips to the Rumira islands to spear fish and gather crayfish.
You’ll see the Bay of Plenty’s oceans are right there for the taking – go for those swims this summer but remember the ocean has so much more to offer, and its right there in your backyard. Get amongst!
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EXPERIENCE A NEW WATER ACTIVITY THIS SUMMER