Located on New Zealand’s North Island, Bay of Plenty is a picturesque region on the northeast coast. Named for its expansive bay, the region stretches from East Cape to the Coromandel Peninsula and encompasses Whakatane, Rotorua, Taupo and Tauranga. Perhaps the most famous destination in the Bay of Plenty, Rotorua is best known for its thermal springs, however there is much more to the region and many things to do.
The Whakarewarewa thermal reserve is worth a visit on your way into town, however you should allow a whole day in stunning Waimangu Valley to explore the thermal wonders of Te Wairoa where a volcanic eruption once buried a village. You can also cruise to Lake Rotomahana’s steaming cliffs. Attend a hangi feast and enjoy this Maori cultural night complete with traditional dancing. For something different, stay overnight in a Maori communal meeting house known as a marae.
Things to do in Rotorua range from the Skyline Gondola, offering amazing views and a fun luge ride back down to 14 fishable lakes with gear and licenses for trout fishing available. There’s the Agrodome and Rainbow Farm, as well as a Polynesian Spa ideal for a pampering hot soak or relaxing massage. Of course not visit to Rotorua would be complete without experiencing the wonders of its thermal attractions.
One of New Zealand’s sunniest towns, Whakatane is famous for its volcanoes and fishing trips as well as its Maori historical sites, museum and observatory. Situated on White Island, an incredible active volcano offers guided tours by helicopter or launch and includes a necessary hard hat and gas mask. Whakatane is also New Zealand’s yellow fin tuna capital and is a popular fishing spot. The Nga Tapuwae o Toi walkway is also the gateway to seabird colonies, native forest, guided kayak tours and seal and dolphin encounters. Just 10km away in Ohope, there’s also a 10km beach and small settlement ideal for surfing, walking, camping and relaxing.