Captain Cook named it the Bay of Plenty and we can see why. This week we’re focusing on New Zealand’s stunning northern coast and explaining why these 259 kilometres of sun-drenched seashore are among the most popular places to move.
For this week’s area guide, we’re heading to The Bay of Plenty on the northern coast of New Zealand’s North Island. The region got its name when Captain Cook arrived in 1769 to find a bay full of villages and plantations. The region stretches from the Coromandel Peninsula in the west to Cape Runaway in the east, and includes 259 kilometres of incredible coastline. As well as the Bay itself, the region includes a number of offshore islands.
If you are dreaming of a laidback life by the beach, the Bay of Plenty could be the perfect area for you.
The Bay of Plenty – an overview
Captain Cook had a point – this is an area known for its delicious fare. Nowadays the Bay of Plenty is home to orchards and farms producing much of the country’s fruit and veg, including avocados, citrus fruit and kiwifruit, especially around Tauranga. The region also produces some fantastic local wines and the miles of coastline guarantees the freshest seafood, and plenty of it.
If you are dreaming of a laidback life by the beach, the Bay of Plenty could be the perfect area for you. Many of the beaches in the region are continually listed as some of the best in the entire country by TripAdvisor and attract surfers from all around the world throughout the year. Some of the primary spots include Waihi Beach, Ohope Beach and Maketu Beach, where the Maori people first came ashore after voyaging from Polynesia to New Zealand.
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As well as being known as a coastal paradise, the Bay of Plenty is home to Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s most-visited tourist destinations, famous for its Maori history and its geological landmarks. The region is also home to beautiful mountains and volcanic islands – perfect for those hikers in the family.
The way of life
If a relaxed lifestyle and excellent climate are top of your wish list, the Bay of Plenty may have already caught your eye. The sunny weather means that residents can enjoy outdoor activities all year round and there is a fabulous arts and culture scene to keep you entertained. This is a progressive thinking region of young active people. You’ll be able to enjoy almost any physical activity you can think of including, white water rafting, water skiing, tennis, kayaking, surfing, scuba diving and deep water fishing.
The Bay of Plenty has mild winters and warm, humid summers. This is one of New Zealand’s warmest regions, especially along the coast where you’ll find high temperatures and long sunny days. Most areas enjoy a wonderful 2,200 hours of sunshine every year. During winter, average daily temperatures range from 9–16 °C and in summer from 22–26 °C. It does occasionally rain, mostly during winter, but the odd tropical storm does occur during summer.
The most prevalent employment opportunities in the Bay of Plenty revolve around tourism, agriculture or natural resources. As already mentioned the area is home to many of the country’s fresh produce farms, but dairy and sheep farming is also widespread. Forestry is a huge industry here, and foreign tree species are grown for exportation. Rotorua and Tauranga are huge tourist draws, with people arriving all year round to explore the geothermal sites, make the most of the region’s beaches and to go whale and dolphin watching.
Tauranga is the Bay of Plenty’s largest city, and a lovely spot. The leafy city is home to around 115,000 people, enjoying the warm climate, sunshine and excellent options for outdoor activities. Tauranga is also known for its thriving restaurant scene – it helps that the city is surrounded by the vineyards and oceans that supply all the tastiest treats on the menu. If you choose Tauranga you’ll also benefit from lots of lovely cafés and shops, great nightlife, and Tauranga Jazz Festival.
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Whakatane is located in the eastern bay of the Bay of Plenty and usually has the highest temperatures in New Zealand. Enjoy all the delights of living on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, including watersports and dolphin and seal tours. This is the base town for exploring the nearby volcanic White Island or for going deep-sea fishing.
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‘The Mount’ is another relaxed beach town found on the peninsula at the southern end of Tauranga Harbour, at the base of Mount Maunganui. This chilled out spot is known for its white sand beach, excellent surf and its hot salt-water pools. The town’s peak, Mauao, rises 230m above sea level making it an excellent spot for hiking and for enjoying views of the harbour, the beaches and the Pacific Ocean.
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