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From The Sea To The Sky In The Bay of Plenty

Mt Mauganui View
Boiling Mud
Champagne Pool
Whitewater Rafting
White Island Walking
Mt Mauganui Beach Volleyball
Whakawareware Geyser
Mt Mauganui Beach

From The Sea To The Sky In The Bay of Plenty

story by: House of Travel

When Captain James Cook christened the Bay of Plenty in 1769, he could hardly have chosen a more appropriate name. Plenty of sunshine, plenty of activities and plenty to keep you coming back for more, that's what this magnificent region is all about.

Two things tend to define the region, a laid back beach lifestyle and a volcanic landscape. From the hot springs and explosive geysers of Rotorua to the sandy beaches of Mt Maunganui, a holiday in the Bay of Plenty is guaranteed to be filled with activity and too darn short, no matter how long you spend here.

Rotorua's Explosive Springs
If you ever meet a tourist who claims to have travelled the roads and trails of the North Island but hasn't been to Rotorua, you should question whether they ever visited New Zealand at all. It's one of the country's top tourist destinations. In a country with no shortage of excellent seaside and coastal attractions, that's quite an achievement for a landlocked town.

The smell of sulphur fills the air in Rotorua, but you'll quickly get used to that. The Maori, whose culture plays a strong role in life in Rotorua today, named the place Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters), owing to its dynamic thermal activity. Hot springs, bubbling mud pools and spurting geothermal geysers will feature high on your agenda.

There are a number of Maori villages in Rotorua, such as Mitai and Whakarewarewa, where you can learn about the Maori history, discover the stories behind the carvings and ta moko (tattoo art), and enjoy a hangi meal followed by a traditional Maori performance. It's possible they're the best Maori experience across both islands.

Aside from that, outdoor activities abound in Rotorua. Hiking, mountain biking, fishing, golf and water sports are just some of the fun activities you can find yourself doing.

Whakatane's Living Volcano
Eighty kilometres west of Rotorua along State Highway 30 is Whakatane, one of New Zealand's sunniest cities and an excellent beach getaway. Perhaps Whakatane's greatest claim to fame is White Island, 50 kilometres offshore. It's New Zealand's only active marine volcano and the barren and untamed landscape is a must see. Take a helicopter or boat ride from Whakatane to enjoy a guided tour of its lunar like surface and listen to the live volcano hiss and groan beneath you. It's quite an experience.

The incredible marine life around White Island, combined with remarkable visibility and bubbling underwater steam vents, make it one of New Zealand's most popular dive sites, too. You can plan you underwater adventure at one of the dive shops in Whakatane. Or, if you'd prefer to stay above the surface, single or multi day fishing charters can also be arranged there.

The lure of White Island may mean you spend more of your trip to Whakatane actually heading away from the town!

Tauranga's Terrific Waterfront
Tauranga, in the shadow of the imperious Mt Maunganui, is the largest town in the Bay of Plenty region and is one of New Zealand's fastest growing towns and busiest port. It's a busy spot, and the revamped waterfront area is the place to go if you're seeking quality restaurants, excellent cafes and a rollicking good night on the tiles.

The beachside resorts of Mt Maunganui and Papamoa are only a short drive from Tauranga and the perfect place to soak up some of the hot New Zealand sun. The walk up Mt Maunganui is fairly steep, but the views from the top are totally worth it.

For a memorable marine experience, hop on one of the dolphin tours that depart from the base of Mt Maunganui for an upclose look at these fascinating creatures. Those with an interest in aviation will enjoy a trip to the Classic Flyers Aviation Museum near Tauranga Airport. Wander among the historic planes and 5,000 item strong displays of military and aviation nostalgia and round out your trip with a scenic flight above Tauranga and Mt Maunganui in an open cockpit biplane. Simply unforgettable!
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