Bay of Plenty Cricket Holidays & Tours
Where New Zealand’s orchard industry meets the coast.
Tauranga, a metropolitan hub surrounded by beautiful coastline. Go sailing, fishing or dolphin watching and soak up the stunning coastal environment. Tauranga is the largest city in the Bay of Plenty and one of the fastest growing population centres in the country. Central to Auckland, Rotorua and Hamilton, and just a 15 minute drive from one of New Zealand’s most popular beach towns, Mount Maunganui.
Downtown Tauranga has several historically significant areas to view during a scenic walk around the area. The Strand waterfront area is modern and always buzzing, and is home to a number of cafés, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs, as well as a range of accommodation options. Across the road on the water’s edge, tidal stairs bring the harbour literally to your feet and children are easily entertained at the local playground. Imaginations run wild as they clamber over the Hairy Maclary bronze sculptures – a story-book scene featuring the beloved characters from Tauranga author Dame Lynley Dodd’s famous children’s books.
Tauranga’s harbour is in evidence almost everywhere you go, providing the urban area with an attractive waterfront setting. Fishing, sailing, diving and dolphin tours are easy to arrange, or check out one of the local beauty spots – McLaren Falls or the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park.
“The Mount” is the colloquial name for Mount Maunganui, a relaxed beach town that occupies a peninsula at the southern end of Tauranga Harbour. The peninsula is actually a huge sandbar, with a sheltered bay on the inner harbour side and a magnificent surf beach on the ocean side.
At the very tip of the peninsula is a distinctive peak – Mauao – which rises to 230 metres above sea level. There’s a choice of tracks leading to the summit, some more challenging than others. Huge views of the harbour, beach and Pacific Ocean make the effort totally worthwhile.
Mauao is an archaeological site of national significance, with a large pa (fort) site on top of the mountain. A Maori legend tells of Mauao trying to drag himself into the sea to escape the misery of an unrequited love; the result was his lonely position on the edge of the peninsula.
The Mount’s glorious surf beach is patrolled by lifeguards throughout the summer and by volunteers for the rest of the year. The busiest section of the beach is close to Mauao; if you walk eastward toward Papamoa you’ll find fewer people and more sand to call your own.
The beach’s reputation as a surfing mecca recently moved up a level with the installation of an artificial reef that produces consistently perfect waves. The reef is located 250m offshore and sits 0.4m below the lowest tide level, so it’s not visible above water. It has been designed to produce fast peeling, tubing, right-hand and left-hand waves, suitable for competent and experienced surfers.
As benefits a resort town by the sea, the Mount has a lively array of cafés, restaurants and shops, as well as naturally heated salt water pools. There is a Gourmet Night Market (opens in new window)with an incredible selection of food and fresh produce straight from local farms. You’ll also find plenty to keep you occupied in the outdoors too – big game fishing, dolphin tours, blokarting and dive trips are easy to organise. Accommodation options range from private holiday homes to sophisticated serviced apartments and hotels.