Tauranga is by no means your standard New Zealand town. The weather cannot be classified as hot, although Tauranga is blessed with over twenty-four hundred hours of sunshine every year. That is certainly a plus, and every relaxing activity imaginable is offered here. The city is the second fastest-growing town in all of New Zealand, with only Queenstown expanding at a faster rate. Currently, Tauranga is home to 58,500 people, and on average fifty families have been moving to this bustling city every year. It is no wonder why the region has become so popular, as it is safe, exciting, diverse, and warm. From touring in a four-wheel drive vehicle through the hills to swimming with the dolphins, Tauranga has it all. The hot springs are glorious, and you could spend an entire day and night lounging in the bubbling saltwater pools. They are truly magnificent, as are the restaurants and accommodations in Tauranga.
Tauranga is the place to go if you need a vacation from everyday life. The beach sports and activities are active all year long. If you love water sports, then Tauranga is the place for you. The fishing here is great, and yachting and sailing are incredibly popular. The White Island volcano is an exciting destination, as it is the only live marine volcano in New Zealand. Even though it is active, the guided tours and hikes remain quite popular. The shopping and eateries in Tauranga are great, and you are sure to find some unique cuisine in this fast-growing town. If you enjoy kiwis, or just unusual and interesting sights, then visiting the Kiwifruit Country is an absolute must. The terrain, nightlife, and museums in Tauranga are all diverse and wonderful, so if you want to mix in some culture with your beach going, scoot on over to Tauranga, New Zealand.
Docking & Local Transportation
Cruise ships dock at the Port of Tauranga Ltd, located eight kilometers from the downtown region and one kilometer from scenic Mount Maunganui.
Tauranga has a limited bus system that can transport you around the city. However, it is suggested that tourists simply walk to their destinations, as traffic can be a problem, and most sites are in close proximity to one another. If you would like to ride around town in a taxi, contact Citicabs (07/577-0999). The ferry service (800/FERRY1), which will take you to Mount Maunganui, takes only thirteen minutes.
The Mt. Manganui Hot Pools can be found on Adams Ave. (07/575-0868) and offer both an exercising pool and a series of hot saltwater pools. A pool split into lanes is for those who wish to get a little workout, but the water is quite cool, and visitors usually opt for the saltwater springs. When the weather turns foul, there is nowhere better than the Hot Pools.
The Compass Community Village features a series of attractions, most notably the House of Bottles Wood Museum, which is located at 17th Ave. W. (07/571-3700). The pioneer farms of New Zealand used wood fence posts for decades, and a man by the name of Keith Goodwin has created interesting art out of them. Their re-creation into quality souvenirs makes great presents or decorations for around the house. Keith has transformed them into handcrafted bottles that are quite appealing to the eye.
The Kiwi 360 can be found in Te Puke (07/573-6340). Strange as it may be, the kiwifruit industry is one that yields New Zealand millions of dollars every year. Who would have thought these tiny little fruits could be so profitable! Here you will find orchards to walk through, guided tours, theme parks, and an enjoyable souvenir shop. Even the restaurant located on the grounds of Kiwi 360 features some interesting kiwi cuisine. Next to the Kiwi 360 you will find the Te Puke Vintage Auto Barn (07/573-6547) which features seventy authentic cars from old New Zealand. It is fascinating to look at these collector's items, which are fabulously presented.
Four-Wheel Drive excursions are offered by Hill Hoppers (07/533-1818), and you have the option to drive yourself or be driven by an expert. The choice was easy for us, but perhaps you are a real thrill-seeker! The vehicles used are 4WD Suzuki Vitaras, and rest assured that they are mean machines, so get ready for an exhilarating afternoon if you try this adventurous outing.
White-Water Rafting and swimming with dolphins are two outstanding water activities that you do not want to miss. Wet 'N' Wild Rafting (0800/462-7238) will take you down the rapids of the Wairoa River, but only go on this particular run if you love excitement. You'll think you are breaking the sound barrier when you fly down the white-water of the Wairoa. The excursion is an hour and a half, and the scenery is breathtaking. Dolphins Down Under (0800/354-7737) is an outstanding company to contact if you want to swim with the dolphins. This is a glorious activity that is an absolute must for animal lovers, nature lovers, or just plain lovers of life. It is both thrilling and immensely enjoyable.
The Harbourside Brasserie and Bar is found on the Strand Extension (0800/721-714) and was built in the 1930s to serve as a yacht club. Now it is a hot dinner spot thanks to chef Stephen Barry. The seafood chowder is occasionally out of season, but if it is available, by all means order it, for magnificence awaits you in the form of this delectable dish. The entrees are delicious as well, and the ambiance is distinctly nautical, giving you the feeling that you are inside a small sea vessel. Bella Mia is located at 73A Devonport Rd. (07/578-4996) and features the best Italian food in Tauranga. The head chef came straight from Rome with a mission to bring authentic Italian cuisine to New Zealand. The pastas, tortellini, lasagna, and cannelloni are all fabulous. Stick around for dessert, because the homemade sorbets, tiramisu, and gelato are simply splendid.