The Bay of Plenty, on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s North Island, stretches from Tauranga in the west to Cape Runaway in the east. The shelter provided by the mountain ranges to the west of the bay provides the region with a warm dry climate. The fertile lands of the Rangitaiki Plains are home to dairy and sheep farming, and to horticulture.
Maori first settled in the Bay of Plenty in the fourteenth century when, according to legend, three canoes arrived from the spiritual homeland of Hawaiki. The area continues to be rich in Maori culture.
The Bay of Plenty has one of New Zealand’s sunniest climates, and some great beaches. The main centres of the region are Tauranga at the western end of the bay, Te Puke, Whakatane and Opotiki.
Tauranga is New Zealand’s biggest port. It’s climate, great beaches and range of activities make it a popular city for holidaymakers. It’s major attractions are boating, surfing, fishing, water skiing, diving and windsurfing. Nearby Mt Maunganui has a long sandy beach and excellent surf.
Te Puke is nicknamed the ‘kiwifruit capital of the world’ and is home to the Kiwifruit Country theme park.
Whakatane, at the centre of the Bay of Plenty coastline, is built at the mouth of the Rangitaiki River. It has a long golden surf beach, swimming with dolphins and is the base for excursions to nearby White Island, New Zealand’s most active volcano. The town also has a museum featuring the lifestyles of the early Maori and European settlers.
Opotiki is the easternmost town in the Bay of Plenty. Gateway to the spectacular East Cape, it has a museum displaying items from the times of the early settler, and is home to Hukutaia Domain, a native tree reserve.