Bay of Plenty
The Bay of Plenty region is home to spectacular beaches, juicy kiwifruit and New Zealand's only active marine volcano.
When James Cook arrived in 1769, he anchored off a great bay ‘full of plantations and villages’ that was, he noted ‘a bay of plenty’. The Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, is no less plentiful today. Around Tauranga are hectares of orchards and gardens producing everything from kiwifruit and citrus fruit to avocados. Add to this bounty the local wines and the plentiful fresh seafood and you just know that this is a place where you will dine well.
Mount Maunganui, a short distance from Tauranga, has spectacular beaches which are a magnet for surfers all year round and voted New Zealand's best by TripAdvisor. For the adventurous, there’s skydiving and for those more keen on terra firma, blokarting (small land yachts) will blow the cobwebs away.
Visit White Island – a quick helicopter ride from Whakatane – and you can walk, yes, on an active volcano as it hisses, belches and rumbles. It’s that same geothermal activity that provides the hot pools and spas that you will find in many places where you can relax and let the world slide by. There is plentiful accommodation in the area; everything from bed and breakfasts through to hotels and boutique lodges.