1.The Land
2.The Sea
3.Maori Culture



The main feature of Tauranga we are lucky enough to hikoi (walk) up is Mauao also known as ‘The Mount’. Mauao means ‘caught by the morning sun’. So first thing head up The Mount – 22mins up or 30mins around the base when you are here it is truly a spiritual spot that has views as far as the eye can see Maketu, Whale Island & the Kaimai Ranges.

A quick drive out of town (30 mins) to a quirky and creative café in Pangearoa the Funky Lizard, with live music and serving real food – not for the light hearted as they will use full cream. Pop around the corner (10 min drive) to the sleepy town of Maketu it hasn’t changed a bit in all the years I have visited – a very unique spot famous for the landing of Te Arawa Waka & Maketu Pies – a classic Kiwi meal.

Time to get out on the water. If you have the budget I highly recommend hiring the Providence Luxury Charter, there are plenty of other charters that are cheaper but if you have made it this far, hire the best boat and you’ll be in for a treat. All charters are customised for you based on what you want to do, see and explore out on the water. Known as the Bay Of Plentiful this is the place to catch crayfish ( similar to Lobster ) mussels and fresh fish.

Or do a SUP! Stand up Paddle boarding is a perfect summers afternoon in the Bay, so many places to paddle, and you can learn from the best East Coast Paddler. It’s great exercise and a different way to see the Bay standing on top of a board – make sure you have polarised sunnies (sunglasses) so you can check out what’s below the water.

Finish the afternoon with Bobby Fresh Fish & Chips – a must do in NZ is to eat great fish & chips and eat on-site, as wrapping it in newspaper just makes it soggy.

If it’s Friday night, get downtown to the Strand and find a live band or head to Platinum Bar – my favourite spot. If it’s summer Friday night and you’re taking it easy, head to the Gourmet Night Market – it’s like a mini food festival with live music, and it’s where you’ll find all the locals. Or head to Dinner in the Domain on Thursdays or The Village for alternative events. For local exhibitions you can see what’s on here.



A kiwi family owned husband & wife restaurant with great attention to detail and also suitable with children. The best the Bay has to offer and all produce is locally sourced.


NZD $25 -$35

The Neighbourhood Beer Kitchen has a lot of variety and serves light meals -tapas as well as hearty meals. The food is always good and packs plenty of flavour – a true local hangout.


NZD $15-$30

Top notch French food – go for it all with the 3 course menu and Freddy is the host with the most!


NZD $25 -$35

Family run by father and daughter where they do Italian food right.


NZD $20-$30

Best coffee around and quality breakfast and lunch options with a huge variety.


NZD $10- $20


 You can drive from one end of our country to the other in 24 hours (with the help of a ferry boat) with so much to see and do – so come for a while! We are pretty affordable, and you’ll get bang for your buck.


Accommodation typically costs $100 per night. Tourism Experiences $100-$200 depending on what you do. Walks & scenery – so much of it is FREE.

Walk around & up the Mount is the MUST DO! But also get out on the water – book a charter boat for the catch of the day – as mentioned above Providence Luxury Charter is highly recommended. If you are here over summer it is worth finding local markets mainly run over December – January.

Treat yourself & hire a helicopter ride for a full view over the Bay of Plenty, and see an Active Volcano – White Island.


If you are here in Winter then take a trip to Rotorua only a one hour drive from Tauranga & part of the Bay of Plenty – where the Maori Culture is very strong and you can experience a mud massage and thermal hot pools unique to this region and are outdoors whilst overlooking a lake. Rotorua is NZ’s capital of the Haka, hot pools and Geo Thermal experiences. A great way to warm up & rejuvenate your body.

Book a bach or holiday house are great options if there are a few of you travelling. You can book an apartment or a massive home on the beach that are just as affordable if not better than a hotel – which Tauranga only has a few of.


I recommend getting a house, but if you are keen on getting a room check out Wotif.  I usually ring the Hotel direct & try my best to book with them direct based on the Wotif rate. If travel plans suddenly change then you have the opportunity to cancel the booking.

Public transport is painful and you will need to hire a car to see most spots so learn the road rules before you come, we drive on the other side of the road to most countries. The roads can be fast & furious so do some research around this.


Very safe here really but always keep together if you are walking somewhere at night or grab a cab, use common-sense.

Get out there & experience all the Bay of Plenty has to offer, stay for a while and visit Matakana Island home to a very small population of 300 people who are indigenous to NZ & call up local guide Hone Ngatai 027 270 2265 / 075710876.


Summer is the best if you are looking for warmth – but it does get busy, be prepared to pay more & make sure you book in advance.


Learn about Matariki the Maori New Year and the Maori culture – our stories are what makes us unique and you can book experiences through this site with the local Maori for a truly unique experience. 

1 Comment

  • Melanie says:

    What a great post & insight into Tauranga Moana, I don’t think I’ve read such simple, insightful information (in the one place) about where to go, what to eat & what to do in Tauranga.

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