New Zealand. Aotearoa. The land of the long white cloud. The island nation tucked away in the south Pacific and the inspiration for Lord of the Rings.
It’s a dream destination for many, with travellers and tourists enduring long flights to explore beaches, volcanoes, mountains and glaciers. It’s known for its rolling green hills on the North Island and alpine landscape on the South Island. There is whale watching, surfing, skiing, a thriving cafe scene and a world renowned wine industry. It’s a land of hot and cold, adventure and relaxation. It’s also the location for my next trip in February.
After living in New Zealand for three years, I’m excited to see friends and family in Tauranga while visiting some favourite spots around the Bay of Plenty. It’s a three hour drive south of Auckland on the east coast and is the perfect place to enjoy the last of the southern hemisphere summer. It’s one of the sunniest regions in the country and is home to long stretches of beautiful beaches. So where are the best places to visit during a two week break to the region? Keep reading to find out.
Mount Maunganui is a prime location in New Zealand. People flock to the beaches and the cafes are packed with locals and tourists in the summer months. Going out for breakfast is the thing to do and one of the best cafes is Eighty Eight on Maunganui Road. There are also surf shops, boutique stores, boat rentals and thermal hot pools. Finally, at the end of the peninsula stands Mount Maunganui (or The Mount), a lava dome that has become a natural fitness park for locals with running, hiking and paragliding.
Getting to Orokawa Bay involves a short drive from Tauranga to Waihi Beach, and then a 40 minute trail walk to the secluded bay. The journey is worth it to enjoy a walk through coastal bush before hitting the beautiful beach. It’s also a popular spot for rock fishing and picnicking. Just make sure to take plenty of water, food and sun protection. If anything is forgotten, the only other option is to walk back to Waihi Beach.
The Coromandel Peninsula is not in the Bay of Plenty, but is only 85km north of the region. It’s known for pristine beaches, a laidback atmosphere and stunning scenery. The drive from Tauranga follows a rugged landscape, and for people searching for quality chill out time, the Coromandel is the perfect escape. Take a camera, a good book, some beer and a few friends to enjoy the New Zealand summer in paradise.
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