Bay of Plenty Scenic Highlights
Beautiful coastal landscapes are the Bay of Plenty's specialty. However, you will also find mountains, forests and tranquil rivers in the Bay of Plenty.
Bay of Plenty Scenic Highlights Overview
The Bay of Plenty is a place of beautiful harbours, long white surf beaches and a sunny, easy going lifestyle. Travel across the harbour from Tauranga, the main city in the Bay of Plenty, to the volcanic Mount Mauao. Hike the mountain, explore Mount Maunganui, the resort town at the base of the mountain, or surf in the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
Visit the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park or join an expedition to White Island, New Zealand's only active marine volcano.
White Island, New Zealand's only Active Marine Volcano
White Island is the perfect example of an active volcano. It breathes, it roars, it hisses, it's spectacular.
The island is unique in a number of ways. The vent is below sea level but shielded from the sea by high crater walls. Although surrounded by sea water, the vent is chemically sealed from it. This sealed zone traps an acid hot water system, which is derived from rainwater. As the island is also very accessible, it is internationally important for scientists and vulcanologists.
The volcanic structure of the island is thought to be two million years old, with the volcano itself between 100,000 and 200,000 years old. White Island is one of the most amazing natural experiences in New Zealand.
Exploring the Beauty of the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park
The Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park is made up of two distinct areas, the Kaimai Range and the Mamaku Plateau. The Park, covering 45,000 hectares, forms a narrow barrier between the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions. To visit the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park is to walk through a living museum of ancient and recent history.
In ancient times the Kaimai Mamaku Range was a Noah's Ark for plants, riding high above seas of ice and oceans of water. In more recent times, Māori settlers formed tracks through the range, hunted in its subtropical forest and used its plants for food and medicine. Later Europeans used the bush in much the same way but they also milled its mighty trees and dug into the hillside for gold.
The park marks the northern boundary for the red and silver beech. It is also the southernmost limit of the majestic kauri.
The public has free access to the park, and recreational facilities include 300 kilometres of tracks. Huts, shelters and picnic areas have been developed for camping, hunting, education and bush walking.
Mount Maunganui Beach is Where it All Happens
If the beach is your passion, you've found your El Dorado at Mount Maunganui. The pristine sands have long been a Mecca for holidaymakers. As a main centre for summertime activities, 'The Mount' hosts everything from surf lifesaving events to beach volleyball, parasailing, sandcastle building and surfing contests. Surf lifesaving guards assist safe swimming in the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
The mountain of Mount Maunganui, also known to the local Māori people as Mauao, is shrouded in legend and history. It's the dominant geological feature of the Tauranga District, with its conical rocky outline rising 232 metres above sea level. It has been of great importance to local Māori for more than six centuries as a place of occupation and later as a refuge for defence. Evidence of this is still visible today.
The gently undulating track around the base winds from the ocean to the harbour. Tracks also lead to the summit for some of the best ocean and city views anywhere.
Useful Bay of Plenty Links
To help plan your Bay of Plenty holiday choose from the main categories below:
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- Bay of Plenty Attractions and Activities
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Bay of Plenty Region Information
Key information and facts about the Bay of Plenty region.
Major activities and attractions in the Bay of Plenty region.