Bay of Plenty, lying on New Zealand's north eastern coast, is surely one of the most aptly named resorts on the planet. With spectacular views overlooking the Pacific Ocean, its sandy beaches have been a magnet for visitors for a long time. Many Kiwis from elsewhere in New Zealand don't even consider traveling abroad for their breaks when they have this jewel on their doorstep.
The main city of Bay of Plenty is Tauranga. This is located at the entrance to one of the country's largest natural harbours. It also lies at the foot of Mount Maunganui, sacred to the Maori, but also a universally renowned scenic spot for walkers. Nearby, the coastal towns of Papamoa and Mount Maunganui are extremely popular locations for beach holidays. There are numerous outdoor attractions, with every conceivable watersport catered for, from fishing and scuba diving to kayaking and wind-surfing.
Bay of Plenty has naturally fertile soil. Together with the temperate climate, this makes the region the perfect location for the cultivation of mouth-watering fruit and vegetables. Amongst the many fresh species available are grapes, citrus fruits and avocados. Bay of Plenty is also the location where New Zealand cultivates most of its kiwifruit crop.
The area is proud of its Maori heritage. Much of the landscape is steeped in indigenous history and peppered with sacred spots, such as the Papamoa Hills, Maketu and Mauao. For anyone interested in the irresistible combination of history and beautiful geography, there are numerous locations to explore. There are guided tours to many of the so-called ‘pa', or fortified villages, with Mount Maunganui (translating as ‘caught in the light of day') an excellent place for both sightseeing and appreciating ancient history.
Papamoa Hills Cultural Heritage regional park is another significant site, with 10 ancient village locations that are amongst New Zealand's oldest. Walking tracks criss-crossing this area provide uniformly breathtaking views.
If you are looking for activities that are more interactive, Bay of Plenty offers a diversity of outdoor pursuits. Its exceptionally rich marine environment is an open invitation for exploration. You can choose from swimming with dolphins to fishing for a variety of species that include snapper, kingfish and marlin. Another landmark to look out for is White Island. This is New Zealand's sole active marine volcano, lying off the Whakatane coast. Easily accessible by either boat or from the air, you can embark on regular guided tours of the volcano, exploring the surrounding island as well as taking breathtaking glimpses over the edge of its active crater.