Hotels in Tauranga (North Island, New Zealand)

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Hotels in Tauranga

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Tauranga – The Kiwi City that Offers Plenty

Tauranga is one of the fastest-growing cities in New Zealand and home to the largest commercial port in the country. It is located in the gorgeous Bay of Plenty region on the North Island coast, so named by Captain James Cook because of the abundance of supplies he found here on his voyage. As well as being a popular holiday destination for New Zealanders, it is increasingly being discovered by foreign tourists eager to enjoy the comfortable hotels, beautiful beaches and stunning natural scenery.

Tauranga City Centre

The city centre, which offers a wealth of hotels and attractions to enjoy, is a good place to start exploring. Tauranga i-SITE Visitor Information Centre on Willow Street provides tourist information and opposite is Tauranga Art Gallery known for its modern art exhibitions featuring works by the likes of Banksy. Nearby, The Strand is packed with popular restaurants, pubs and coffee shops with views of Rangataua Bay and, just by the waterside, Herries Park is a green space with palm trees and a childrens’ playground; also here are several bronze statues depicting characters from the Hairy Maclary & Friends series of books written by Dame Lynley Dodd. After sampling some of the local cuisine in one of the many fine restaurants, a great way to round off the evening is to catch a film in one of the city’s two cinemas, Rialto on Devonport Road and just to the south Event Cinemas on Elizabeth Street.

Elms Mission Station and Green Spaces

One of the oldest attractions in the city centre is the Elms Mission Station on Mission Street. It was established in 1838 by Rev. Alfred Brown and his wife Charlotte with the aim of spreading Christianity in the region. It features some of the oldest architecture in New Zealand and includes the very first library in the country. Visitors can explore the delightful English gardens and marvel at the beautiful period buildings; guided tours are also available. On either side of Mission Street is a park: to the west, Tauranga Domain plays host to rugby union matches and to the east, Robbins Park features a beautiful 28-bed rose garden. To the south is a selection of clothes shops and budget hotels while Tauranga Primary School on Fifth Avenue holds a popular farmers’ market every Saturday. The Historic Village on 17th Avenue is also worth a visit: it showcases original and replica period buildings and a selection of independent shops.

Exploring Mount Maunganui

Across Rangataua Bay is Mount Maunganui, an extinct volcano known locally as ‘the Mount’. A hike to the top via one of two trails contrasting in difficulty brings the reward of great views over the Bay of Plenty and Tauranga. It takes around 30 minutes to reach the summit and there’s the opportunity to spot local wildlife along the way. It’s advisable to take some refreshments on the hike and setting off early avoids some of the later crowds. A less strenuous option is the relatively flat track around the base of the Mount which takes around an hour to complete. Afterwards, nearby Mount Hot Pools on Adams Avenue offers the chance to relax in heated salty water. For an alternative to hotel accommodation, various apartments are located on this peninsula while another attraction is Mount Drury Reserve; known to Maoris as Hopukiore, it is the location of sacred Maori burial caves.

Enjoying the Beautiful Beaches

Tauranga is blessed with fantastic beaches. Near the Mount is Maunganui Beach, famed for its soft, white sand and clear blue waters. It’s a great spot for surfers of all abilities: beginners can book lessons with local instructors to help them get started. After a spot of surfing or soaking up the sun, a nice excursion here is to take a walk along the man-made land bridge to Moturiki Island. A real treat is to watch the penguins and grey-faced petrels, a native New Zealand bird; on the northern tip of the island a natural blowhole spectacularly shoots water up in the air during high tide. The views back to Tauranga are also breathtaking. On the other side of the peninsula, Pilot Bay offers a more relaxed beach perfect for families with young children. Boating and kayaking are popular activities here and there are also BBQ facilities and cafés for snacks and refreshments before heading back to the hotel.

Day Trips and Excursions

One of the highlights of a trip to Tauranga is watching dolphins and orcas swim in the Bay of Plenty. There are several companies that offer packages and it is truly an experience of a lifetime seeing these majestic animals in their natural environment. Outside Tauranga there are other great attractions that showcase the stunning surroundings: eight miles away, Te Puna Quarry Park has turned an ugly scar on the landscape into a beautiful space with gardens and walking trails to enjoy. Both around 20 minutes by car, Kaiate Falls is gorgeous spot with stunning waterfalls and Mclaran Falls Park provides the opportunity to see glow worms at night. A 30-minute drive, Adrenalin Forest features a challenging obstacle course that tests the mind as well as the body and bubbling mud pools created by geothermic activity can be seen in Rotorua, just an hour by car. There are also excellent hotels there for an overnight stay before returning to Tauranga.

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