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Tauranga, the heart of the Bay of Plenty
The large harbour with many inlets around which Tauranga is set means that it is truly a city on the water. Its various suburbs sprawl over headlands and hills overlooking the harbour and the coast, and it has a warm and dry climate thanks to its sheltered position on the East coast. This has resulted in a relaxed and pleasant city with spacious and leafy streets. Many choose it as a retirement spot, but the city is by no means aged- it is home to one of the most vibrant beach resorts in the country. Tauranga’s CBD is on a thin spit of land which separates two parts of the harbour. Downtown Tauranga has a mix of retail stores, businesses, restaurants, cafes and music and art venues and is easily walkable, with the two main roads running parallel along the narrow piece of land. Parking is available free in the weekends on streets and in several of the parking buildings. Harbourside walks and activities can be enjoyed at the Memorial Park, and sports games are often happening at the other side of downtown in the Tauranga Domain. Tauranga’s suburbs are spread around the various inlets of the harbour, from the swanky Avenues to the biblically-named Bethlehem and Judea. The most famous is Mount Maunganui, part suburb and part separate town. Ten minutes drive from downtown Tauranga, this smaller version of Surfers Paradise is known simply as ‘The Mount.’ It is a holiday mecca, known for sun, sand, cafe culture and parties, especially at New Year’s Eve. Tauranga is a great place to kick off a motorhome road trip, close to the beach-filled Coromandel Peninsula to the north and the similiarly sandy East Cape to the south. It is also a lovely city to explore and a relaxed place to begin your journey!