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Tauranga-Bay of Plenty: Free Things to do

Published: 04/03/2012 by iTravelNZ

Take a surf down memory lane and check out the great old classics at the Mount Maunganui Surf Museum – awesome long boards, famous collectables, classic photos and lots of surf memorabilia.

Explore tiny little Moturiki (Leisure) Island – just a short walk along Mt Maunganui beach and easily reached on foot at low tide. Look out for the Blow Hole at the seaward end – it’s a spectacular sight, especially when it’s rough.

Climb to the top of Mount Maunganui (Mauao) and bring your camera to snap those fabulous views over Tauranga harbour and Port. Known locally as The Mount, Mauao is an old pa (fortified village) site and you can still see the remains of the defensive trenches and shell middens.

Pack your togs and a picnic, take along your boogie board, and spend a day at the beach. Favourites include beautiful Ohope Beach (near Whakatane) and Mount Maunganui Beach – both perfect spots to hang out. Remote Otarawairere Bay, with its soft white sand, is just a 30mins walk over the hill from Ohope Beach and a beautiful picnic spot.

Enjoy the gorgeous views from the lookout at Toi’s Pa in Ohope. The vista stretches over Whakatane Heads and out to Whale Island. You can walk up through native bush and past the Wairere Falls on the way, or drive up via Kohi Point Lookout Road.

Get cultural at the Tauranga Art Gallery. This is a great little regional gallery, with contemporary and modern art from some of the area’s talented artists. You’ll find it on the corner of Wharf & Willow Streets.

Walk the Whakatane Heritage Trail, which stops by some of the town’s best known landmarks, including the statue of Wairaka (the woman on the rock) and Muriwai's Cave. Pick up a map from the Whakatane Visitor Centre on The Strand.

Pack a picnic and chill out at the area’s parks and reserves. Popular options include Tauranga’s Te Puna Quarry Park, with its flowering gardens, waterfall and stunning stone sculptures; the Mount Drury Reserve on Marine Parade in Mt Maunganui, famous for its early Maori burial caves; Whakatane’s White Pine Scenic Bush Reserve – a superb remnant of native forest with lots of native birds; and stunning McLaren Falls Park, with its beautiful lake and waterfall (it’s on State Highway 29).

Enjoy some of the region’s fantastic walks – there are plenty to keep you busy! Popular options include the 45min walk around the base of Mount Maunganui (a nice alternative if you don’t feel like climbing the Mount); Latham’s Hill Track in Whakatane, with its sweeping panorama over the vast Rangitaiki Plains; and the Whakatane River Walk –an hour-long ramble along the Whakatane Riverbank with loads of wetlands birdlife.

Sample some of the tasty treats at the Tauranga Farmers’ Market, including organic breads, delicious pastries, smoked meat and cheeses, and fresh fruit and vegies. It’s held at Tauranga Primary School on Fifth Avenue, every Saturday, rain or shine.

Don’t stop here! Discover more by just typing a keyword into the ‘keyword’ field on the Explore page. You’ll find walks, reserves, markets, waterfalls, galleries, museums, wineries and much more. Want to see what’s around your current location? Simply select Nearby and set the distance. To see what else is near a chosen point of interest, just tap on a red flag above the image.


Images by iTravelNZtriptych64

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Tauranga-Bay of Plenty: Free Things to do