TAURANGA (Bay Of Plenty)
Tauranga is New Zealand’s sunny capital – with wide sweeping beaches and surfers curling across cresting waves. Climb to the top for spectacular views of the natural harbour, or take winding coastal footpaths to explore the unfolding scenery. An entry point to the vast indent of the Bay of Plenty, the volcanic peak of Mount Maunganui is a fittingly dramatic welcome. Brooding, geothermal energy creates spectacular natural attractions across this region, while plunging waterfalls, and fascinating Maori culture ensures that the Bay of Plenty has a lot to offer visitors.
Said to receive New Zealand’s highest amount of sunshine, the hanging kiwi, citrus fruit and avocados add an exotic touch to the area’s landscape - especially around Te Puke. Vibrant teal and orange colours await at the stunning geothermal area of Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, where mud pools bubble and steam rises from the earth. There are more hot pools, and some of the country’s best scenery, at Lake Rotoiti - where you can kayak across the smooth surface and enter a cave that glows gentle blue, with its darkened roof illuminated by glittering glow worms.
Enter New Zealand’s fantasy world, with a visit to some of the country's celebrated filming spots - which have featured as doubles for JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth's fantasy settings. Offshore, the wonderful White Island’s volcanic cone peeks from the waves, and New Zealand's most active volcano certainly knows how to put on a show, belching out smoke across the water.