If you like surf, sand and sunshine mixed with abundant adventures, plenty of entertainment plus so much more, then you must experience the Bay of Plenty of New Zealand. The Bay of Plenty is the name for the bay and the region which exists along this stunning Pacific Ocean coastline. Whakatane is the municipal town for the BOP Region. The port city of Tauranga, nearby Mt Manganui, Whakaare/White Island, the Rotorua geothermal field and Te Uriwera National Park are the most popular attractions here. The BOP has a sub-tropical climate and is one of New Zealand’s warmest regions, regularly clocking up the nation’s highest temperature.
The Bay of Plenty is located on the north-east of the North Island. The Mighty Pacific Ocean dominates this north facing bay. The BOP extends from Waihi Beach at the foot of the Coromandel Peninsula in the west, as far as Lottin Point on the east cape, neighbouring Hicks Bay in the East Coast Region. The Te Urewera National Park, the Rotorua District, the Mamaku and Kaimai Ranges all make up its southern boundary.
Captain Cook named the Bay of Plenty when he visited here late in 1769, after finally finding provisions which he could not procure in Poverty Bay. Also known as “Te Moana a Toi” by the Maori who settled this area around 1350. The fertile soils of the Bay of Plenty along with its temperate climate made this a perfect place for the early Maori settlers to grow their staple food, kumara (sweet potatoes).
Today the BOP has many fruit orchids, this is where most of the kiwi-fruit exported throughout the world is grown. With an average of 2300 annual sunshine hours, the BOP has a predominantly sub-tropical climate. The summers can be humid and warm, with 30°C as a maximum high. The mild winters can be quite pleasant with an average day time temperature of 15°C, it hardly ever freezes here. The native sub-tropical vegetation is abundant everywhere, including ponga, silver fern and nikau palms. Introduced plant species such as avocadoes, citrus and banana trees also find this a perfect climate and do well here.
The BOP Region is renowned for its long sweeping white silica sand beaches, stretching as far as the eye can see. There are many islands off the coast. Mayor Island and Matakana Island both have small resident populations and are great places to visit. Whakaari/White Island is New Zealand’s most active volcano, you can see her billowing steam from most places in the eastern BOP, take a day cruise and a tour of the island, or enjoy a scenic flight, for an unforgettable experience. Motiti Island 10 km offshore from Te Puke and Whale Island near Whakatane are both predator free islands which are home to threatened native species, including the Kiwi, Tuatara and the Kokako.
The Rotorua District has always been one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations. The Rotorua geothermal field has some of the worlds finest geysers, plopping mud-pools and thermal hot springs. There are as many as 15 spectacular lakes around Rotorua, world famous for their rainbow trout fishing. This is a great place to experience Maori culture, take in a show see the awesome haka and taste the traditional hangi. Rotorua has ample accommodation and is a good place to base yourself whilst enjoying the many attractions and activities on offer in the BOP.
Tauranga is the Bay of Plenty’s largest and also New Zealand’s fastest growing city. Tauranga is centred around the Tauranga harbour, which exports mostly pine logs from the many man made forests throughout the BOP and Waikato Regions. Mount Maunganui on the coastal side of the harbour was a sleepy beach town 20 years ago. Today it’s the kiwi’s answer to VeniceBeach or the Gold Coast. These pristine beaches have everything the “beach bum” could wish for, the town has plenty of trendy bars and café’s for refreshments, and there is a long list of activities to explore.
The Te Urewera National Park lies in the east of the Bay of Plenty. This rugged native forest has the widest range of native birdlife in the country. This area is home to the Tuhoe (children of the mist) Maori tribe. The jewel of the park is Lake Waikaremoana, which is popular holiday destination for fishermen and trampers. The Lake Waikaremoana Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks, is a three to four-day hike, which follows approximately half of the lake's circumference.
The BOP has a wide and varied range of activities. Fishing is very popular, the lakes have the finest brown and rainbow trout, the rivers along the coastline swarm with whitebait when they are running and the ocean is teeming with many kinds of fish and shellfish. The Bay of Plenty’s surf options are plentiful. There is more then 200 km of surf-able coastline and it is all exposed to the full force of the Pacific Ocean. Other activities on offer in the BOP are white water rafting, volcano exploring, hunting, swimming and so much more……
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