When the famous 18th century navigator, Captain Cook, names a sweeping stretch of sand the Bay of Plenty, you know it must be well endowed with riches.
The Bay is one of New Zealand's premier holiday destinations; basking in a year-round mild climate, abundant sunshine, 100 kilometres of glittering white sand and beautiful harbours. The relaxed lifestyle is centred on a blue sea, idyllic beaches, friendly cafes, restaurants and prosperous kiwifruit orchards.
The rapidly expanding city of Tauranga is the bay's main centre, a 2½ hour drive from Auckland on the picturesque Pacific Coast Highway. Across the Tauranga harbour bridge is the satellite town and popular seaside resort of Mount Maunganui.
Travelling from the western end of the bay you pass a number of character towns, all abuzz with activity in the summer months. Waihi Beach is a popular resort at the base of the Coromandel Peninsula. Katikati is a charming town adorned with colourful murals depicting the history of the area. Te Puke is known as the Kiwifruit Capital of the World. Maketu has remote and rugged beaches steeped in history. Whakatane is the bustling main town in the eastern bay and Ohope Beach has 11 kilometres of golden sand making it a major drawcard for holidaymakers.
The bustling Bay of Plenty has star billing in the galaxy of New Zealand summer holiday resorts. The region has experienced the country's fastest population growth over the last decade as people have realised that 'The Coast with the Most' is a perfect place to live, work, study, holiday or retire.
For visitors this blessed bay of sunshine offers the ultimate vacation experience in the sea, surf, sand or vibrant seaside cafes. Adrenalin adventure is a passion here with paragliding, sky diving, white water rafting, 4WD safaris, jet boating. Also, swimming with dolphins or descending into the crater of White Island, New Zealand's only active marine volcano. These activities can be combined with family fun on the magnificent beaches, or romantic get-aways in excellent coastal resorts.
You can be assured that your welcome in this plentiful bay will be just as warm and friendly today as it was for Captain Cook and his crew - and these days this mecca offers plenty of 'baywatch' options as well.