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Your guide to Tauranga
All About Tauranga
Between the rich green of the Kaimai Ranges and the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean is the harbor city of Tauranga, part of New Zealand’s beautiful Bay of Plenty region. On the east coast of the North Island, Tauranga has some of the country’s most beloved beaches. The golden sands of Mount Maunganui and Papamoa Beach have plenty of space for swimming, surfing, and kitesurfing, while sailors, kayakers, and paddleboarders have all the fun in the extensive harbor, sheltered by the forested barrier of Matakana Island.
The marine environment offshore from Tauranga’s many bays and islands is rich and popular with scuba divers. Before sunset, head across to Pilot Bay Beach to sit on the soft golden sand and watch the sun go down behind Mount Maunganui. Apart from all these natural treasures, Tauranga is also a cultural hub, with an art gallery showcasing historical and contemporary works, an aviation museum, and a lively center full of shops and restaurants.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Tauranga
The upper half of the North Island has a subtropical climate, and Tauranga combines this with a coastal influence, creating pleasant conditions year-round and little variation in temperature. The Bay of Plenty has the most sunshine hours in the country, although it can rain any time of the year in New Zealand, so be sure to pack waterproof clothing. Summertime extends from November through April, while the coldest and wettest months are June and July. School summer holidays in January see Tauranga and its beaches busy with vacationers, creating a lively buzz. On Easter weekend, a large national jazz festival in Tauranga brings a carnival atmosphere with markets and a vintage car parade. Multiple stages are set up through the central city, attracting some of the best local and international jazz and blues artists.
Top things to do in Tauranga
Consider taking a boat cruise through Tauranga’s inner harbor, where mangroves and tidal mudflats shelter oystercatchers and godwits. Alternatively, cruise or paddle to Matakana Island and spend time picnicking on the barrier island’s pristine white-sand beaches. Further out, your boat could be shadowed by pods of dolphins, and during certain times of the year, you may spot turtles and orcas.
Mount Maunganui is a mountain, a beach, and a suburb. The 800-foot summit of the extinct volcano is popular to climb — particularly at dawn — for spectacular 360-degree views across the landscape and ocean. There are two trail options, and the climb takes around 40 minutes on good paths. After your climb, cool off with a dip at Main Beach in the summer or go for a soak at the Mount Hot Pools in the winter.
Kaiate Falls/Te Rerekawau is a pair of waterfalls located a 30-minute drive east of Taurang amongst the lush rainforest. The first cascade is an 80-foot set of three tiers, with a 50-foot single-drop waterfall below it. From the parking lot, two short looped tracks lead around sections of the falls. Note that the path can be steep and slippery in places.