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The most populous city (pop. 142,000) in the Bay of Plenty region on the North Island's north coast, besides being a dynamic city that's one of New Zealand's fastest growing, Tauranga is also a very popular tourism destination, thanks to a cosmopolitan yet laid back vibe and arts scene paired with its natural attractions and scenery, ranging from popular beaches to lush, forest-clad mountains and waterfalls. Here are some of Tauranga’s top things to do:
Hit the Beach
The lovely coastline includes white-sand stretches including Waihi Beach, many of which are great for surfing (and there are of course also surfing schools to learn or improve your technique).
Hike Mount Manganui
Aka Mauao or "the Mount," this 232-meter hill at the eastern entrance to Tauranga Harbour provides some beautiful hiking for anyone with a moderate level of fitness. Several trails lead up and across and can be done in as little as an hour, yielding fantastic views out over the city, harbor, and coast. At the foot of the the Mount, soak in the volcanically heated Mount Hot Pools.
Stroll the Streets
Explore the lively streetscape, with interesting shops, street markets, and especially art galleries, packed with top-notch contemporary work by local, national, and international artists of all kinds.
Hit the Water
Kewpie Cruises will take you past harbor facilities but also splendid natural scenery including beaches and forested hills - along the way spotting wildlife such as blue penguins, seals, orca, and dolphins. You can also go kayaking in the harbor as well as on the nearby Lake McLaren and Mangapapa River (including a nighttime tour when the local glow worms come out), and go whitewater rafting.
Taste Some Adventure
At TECT All Terrain Park, get an adrenaline rush with high-wire adventures, motor sports, mountain biking and dirt biking. Other local activities include skydiving and blokart sailing,
For some expert guidance locally, check out our page on the greatest things to do and see in Tauranga.