What to do and see in Tauranga, New Zealand: The Best Places and Tips

December 26, 2017 Diedre Savory

The lush parks and golden beaches of Tauranga make it a popular destination for outdoorsy folks and watersports lovers. Here on New Zealand’s North Island, you’ll find a variety of opportunities for surfing, white water rafting, kiteboarding, hiking and golfing. Take a refreshing dip in the swimming holes by Kaiate Falls, which cascade beautifully over the bluffs. Families might like to visit one of Tauranga’s amusement park, take a guided nature tour or swim with dolphins in the Bay of Plenty.
Restaurants in Tauranga

1. Mount Maunganui Summit Track

Adams Ave, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga 3116, New Zealand
Excellent
79%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 2 reviews

Mount Maunganui Summit Track

Reviewed By BoaterTony - Waretown, New Jersey

There are two routes to the top, hard and less hard. To be fair the easier route isn't too bad. Many people of all ages walking the day we went it was so nice to see so many people walking this track. Highly recommend this for exercise and a great view.

2. Mount Maunganui Base Track

Adams Ave, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga 3116, New Zealand +64 7-577 7000
Excellent
77%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 661 reviews

Mount Maunganui Base Track

Reviewed By Geoff W - Berkhamsted, United Kingdom

Thoroughly recommend this walk around the base of Mount Maunganui. Great views of the coastline and the ocean. It takes just under an hour. A few steps have been installed where there have been some minor land slips but generally it is an easy walk.

3. Mt Maunganui Main Beach

Marine Parade, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, New Zealand
Excellent
75%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Mt Maunganui Main Beach

Reviewed By EnglishCanadian - Brit in Canada

A great place to walk or relax after a trip up Mt Maunganui ! Clean sands lovely warm water. Tide was going out during our visit and there was a bit of an undertow. The views along the beach and the mountain are splendid. The ocean front drive is lined with shops and cafes. Great relaxing place.

4. Waimarino Adventure Park

36 Taniwha Place | Bethlehem, Tauranga 3176, New Zealand +64 7-576 4233
Excellent
82%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 481 reviews

Waimarino Adventure Park

Waimarino Adventure Park is situated on the banks of the Wairoa River just 10 minutes from Tauranga city. This tranquil paradise is based around the sport of kayaking and over the past 35 years, Waimarino has become Tauranga’s premier kayaking & recreation location. Waimarino Adventure Park has New Zealand's only kayak slide, The Blob, kayaks, rock climbing, diving boards, Italian Pedallos and plenty more. Grab your swimwear and visit us for a great day of action & fun.Waimarino Kayak Tours offer a great range of kayak tours in Tauranga & Rotorua region including magical glow-worm experiences, fantastic scenery, lake-edge thermal hot pools, catering and transport.Enjoy light refreshments & NZ wine on the edge of Lake McLaren at sunset, surrounded by the ducks &swans. Glide across the calm waters at twilight, before entering our enchanting glow-worm canyon. Our glow-worm kayak tour is truly unique, and a fantastic ‘must do’ experience while in NZ. This glow-worm kayak tour experience is not available in any other location globally. ONLY in Tauranga!Enjoy our kayak tour on scenic Lake Rotoiti, paddle past pohutakawas, (NZ’s Christmas tree) cascading native bush& abundant birdlife along the lake edge. Classic kiwi holiday homes nestle amongst the cliffs & coves. Enjoy the myths and legends of the Maori people linked to Lake Rototiti, before entering the glow-worm cave. Cross the lake to the Manupirua natural thermal hot-pools to relax and reflect on your exhilarating experiences.Please see our website for more information about our park and kayak tour options.

Reviewed By cmf05a - Dallas, Texas

We did the night time kayak tour of the glow worm cave while we were there and it was very beautiful! The glow worms were not quite as bright as I was imagining (or from what I saw on pictures) but it is absolutely worth the time and money to do this while you are in town. We had three tour guides and they were great! Shaun is the only tour guide name I remember but he did an amazing job of teaching us all about glow worm and the history of the area!
Below are the only things I wish I had known prior to the tour:
1. They have you meet at the adventure park but then drive you about 20 minutes to the actual location of kayak tour. This causes a lot of waiting around before and after the tour and seemed to take up way more time than it should have. The overall experience would have been better if they had you meet at the lake.
2. The tour includes wine and cheese but it really only equals about 1 cheese cracker per person due to the cheese to human ratio.
3. Bring your own water! After the tour you will probably be thirsty (especially after the wine + kayaking) and will have to wait on the bus for everyone to get on, for the kayaks to be put away, and then the drive back before you have a chance to get water.
4. Leave your camera at home. Pictures really didn't turn out since it was so dark and you can't get still enough in a kayak to get the exposure you need for these pictures.

5. McLaren Falls Park

Tauranga, New Zealand +64 7-577 7000
Excellent
67%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 319 reviews

McLaren Falls Park

Reviewed By Whitehavengirl43 - Sydney, Australia

We were pleasantly surprised to explore this park as it was quiet, well cared for with stunningly beautiful waterways loaded with birdlife - black swans an a variety of ducks. A long established park with older established trees towering over lush grassed picnic areas. So worth a visit with a picnic.

6. Pilot Bay

Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, New Zealand +64 7-575 5099
Excellent
69%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 288 reviews

Pilot Bay

Reviewed By Ken H - Guisborough, United Kingdom

With a board walk the full length of the beach this is an ideal way to allow lunch to digest.
We walked and sat here most days with coffee shops close by and an excellent ice cream kiosk all tastes are catered for.
Good views of the shipping going in and out of port,nfushermen, swimmers paddle boarders and children playing in the safe shallow waters.
Time it right and you see school children being taught to paddle outrigger canoes.

7. Kaiate Falls

Kaiate Falls Rd, Tauranga 3175, New Zealand
Excellent
59%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 172 reviews

Kaiate Falls

Reviewed By Nicole H - Hobart

Ok we went on a rainy day, after two days rain. This was a spectacular display of nature. There are two huge Waterfalls, take the time to see both. The track has lots and lots of steps and is a hard slog particularly on the way back up, but I am a 50 year old Pooh shaped lady and I made it (with a few rest breaks). My 10 year old did it easy. The walking in total was probably around an hour with time to admire the Waterfalls. The road in was long and windy but sealed the entire way and there is a small car park (with warning signs about thieves), there are signs saying don’t swim (there was no way we would have swam with that amount of water and power anyway).
Recommend seeing these Falls, particularly after rain, possibly the best falls we have seen in a long time.

8. Hairy Maclary & Friends Tauranga Waterfront Sculpture

The Strand, Tauranga, New Zealand
Excellent
62%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 176 reviews

Hairy Maclary & Friends Tauranga Waterfront Sculpture

Reviewed By Lyn B - Bourne, England, United Kingdom

A fun set of sculptures depicting 'Hairy' and friends! Right by the sea front and other things to keep the smaller people happy.

9. Adrenalin Forest

18 Whataroa Road | Upper Pyes PA Road, Tauranga 6001, New Zealand +64 7-929 8724
Excellent
76%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 105 reviews

Adrenalin Forest

Reviewed By Snailmum303 - Noosaville, Australia

Our family (two adults, two teens) spent an afternoon at Adrenalin forest. We were impressed with the safety brief and equipment which does keep you completely safe when used correctly. Each of us completed a different level (3,4,5 and 6). After completing level three, I wasn't sure of my ability to complete the next level. The staff were reassuring and advised me to try level four as they were there to help if required. I was very happy to complete level four without assistance We were the last party there in the afternoon as our son continued on to complete level 6 - we did not feel rushed to leave and enjoyed a chat with the staff members. Great operation - I wish we had something similar close to home as we would be repeat customers.

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