Two and half hours south-east of Auckland there is a great weekend get away from Auckland which is different to the rugged Northland and the scenic Coromandel Peninsula. It is especially great if you love being in a city whilst soaking up some rays at the beach! Tauranga is a large city in NZ terms with a population of around 120,000 there is so much to see and do here, here are the spots we love!
The city centre developed on a narrow stretch of land near the port of Tauranga which is NZ’s largest port. The main street (The Strand) lines the water front and has lots of bars and restaurants which is ideal for those beautiful hot summers evening’s. Further up from The Strand we discovered a great fish and chip shop for the budget traveller’s called Bobby’s Fish and Chips, his secret (well in my opinion the obvious choices when you run a fish and chip shop!) is that he uses beef fat and changes his it every two days. For five pounds/$10 we had two fish and enough chips to feed an army!
Just over the water from Tauranga is the popular suburb of Mount Maunganui which has a very trendy feel to it. Again it is built on a narrow stretch of land but this time on both sides there are beautiful golden beaches. On one side is in the harbour, with calm waters a great place to paddleboard and on the other side it is suitable for surfing.
This is without a doubt the most photographed site of Tauranga! Known as Mauao in Maori it is a dormant volcano and a sacred mountain which you can climb (It is 232 metres high!) or you can walk the circumference which takes around 45minutes it is an easy 3.4 km walk where you will find hidden coves and beaches – truly spectacular!
The Bay of Plenty
The Coromandel Peninsular and Tauranga is the start of a wide 259 km stretch of open coastline known as the Bay of Plenty. The Pacific Highway follows this stunning coastline and if you keep driving east away from Tauranga you are bound to find a deserted beach with no people! For true escapism.
When we visited recently we stayed at Trinity Wharf just down the road from Bobbys Fish and Chip shop and only a ten minute walk to the town centre of Tauranga. It is a great 4 star hotel with a very central location. For those more on a budget there is Mount Backpackers in Mount Maunganui or The Cosy Corner Motor Camp which is a stone’s throw away from the beach! Or there is always Freedom Camping in the Tauranga and Bay of Plenty Region!