Harbourside City: The Top Eight Things To Do In Tauranga

stairs leading to beach in Tauranga New Zealand

2.87min read

Published 15 July 2021


It’s no surprise that Tauranga is one of the ultimate kiwi holiday destinations. Known for its great beaches, epic fishing spots, outdoor activities and picturesque views, you’ll never be bored during your visit to this harbourside city. We’ve put together a list of some of our favourite things to do when you find yourself at this corner of Aotearoa.

1. Climb the Mauao (Mount Maunganui) summit walk

One of the most grammable activities in Tauranga! There are several options available for climbing the 232-metre high summit but the two most popular tracks are the Oruahine and Waikorere tracks.The Waikorere track is the steepest track with a staircase winding up the eastern side of Mauao, while Oruahine takes you around the northern and western side. This might not be for the faint hearted and requires a good level of fitness but it’s so worth it when you get to the top! For anyone after a more leisurely stroll there is a track going around the base of the mountain with equally incredible scenic views.


Sunrise at summit hiking track on Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
Sunrise at summit hiking track on Mount Maunganui, New Zealand [Source: Shutterstock]


2. Waimarino Adventure Park

Located on the Wairoa River just a 10-minute drive from Tauranga City, Waimarino Adventure Park is the perfect place to spend the day. There are plenty of activities to keep the entire family entertained. For all you water junkies there are so many options to choose from, see how high you can fly on ‘The Blob’ (a giant inflatable pillow/human catapult!), take a ride on the hydroslide, hire a kayak or paddleboard and take a turn on the Tarzan swing. If you prefer to stay on land don’t worry you won’t be disappointed. Have a go at the low-ropes course or challenge the fam to a game of volleyball.

3. Moturiki Island (Leisure Island)

Just a leisurely stroll from Mount Maunganui Beach lays Moturiki Island otherwise known as Leisure Island. Originally inhabited by early Māori settlers and used as a Māori Pa the island has had many uses throughout its lifetime and now it’s a protected reserve with natural wonders including rockpools, blowholes and a cruisy walking trail with loads of native birds to spot along the way!


Lady crouching on rock with islands and water behind
Moturiki Island [Source: Instagram @jesswtravels]


4. Enjoy the Local Eats

There are so many incredible places to dine in Tauranga. No matter what you’re after Tauranga has a variety of eats for all preferences. In Mount Maunganui Eddies & Elspeth is quite the crowd favourite, grab brunch and a coffee at Eddies and on your way out to the beach don’t forget to treat yourself to something sweet from Elspeth Bakery. For a more fine dining experience Harbourside in Tauranga Harbour offers fine cuisine with a view and if you prefer to keep it more casual Brooklyn provides New York style pizzas, sharing plates and some yummy cocktails.


Eddies & Elspeth cafe
Eddies & Elspeth [Source: Instagram @eddies_parlour]


5. Discover beautiful beaches

The Bay of Plenty is well known for its beautiful beaches and Tauranga is no exception with some gorgeous beaches at its doorstep - Papamoa, Pilot Bay and Mount Maunganui just to name a few. And when visiting Tauranga why not take the opportunity to learn how to surf? Mount Maunganui’s main beach is the perfect place to learn to surf with a swell great for all levels. Just don’t forget your sunscreen because you don’t want to leave looking like a fried tomato! We recommend hiring a car and taking a day trip to explore all the incredible beaches the Bay of Plenty has to offer.


Bay of Plenty is well known for its beautiful beaches [Source: Shutterstock]


6. Rock Climbing at rocktopia

If you’re looking for a rainy weather activity or just want to improve your rock climbing skills then look no further than Rocktopia! Considered the ultimate rock climbing experience and with both clip and climb (auto belaying) and rock on wall options this is a fun way to spend the day for the entire family. It’s the perfect place for climbers of all abilities.

7. Bike Hire

Hiring a bike is a fun and different way to explore the city! With plenty of bike rental options on offer whether you’re after an electric bike, tandem or a family bike the choice is up to you. There are guided and self-guided tours available for all fitness levels. A great track to check out is the Waikareao Estuary loop, while riding this 9km track be sure to keep an eye out for the different bird life varieties along the way including herons, grey ducks and brightly coloured kingfishers.This is a track that can be done in parts or all in one go.


Waikareao Estuary [Source: Instagram @jolene_james]

8. Tauranga Art Gallery

You can’t leave Tauranga without getting a taste of the art and culture that this beautiful city has to offer. Opened in 2007 this 700-square foot gallery is home to over 500 pieces of work from a variety of local and NZ artists including works from Edward Bullmore, Nigel Brown and Dame Robin White.


inside the gallery
Tauranga Art Gallery [Source: Instagram @taurangaartgallery]


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