The Bay of Plenty is a coastal paradise filled with beaches galore, stunning scenery and more waterfalls than you could ever chase! The warm climate of the east coast region draws visitors all year round, but especially during the summer season.
With 125 kilometres of white sand beaches stretching along the coast, there's plenty to get up to in this bay.
We’ve selected our favourite spots to visit ranging from surf lessons, to waterfalls, gardens and regional parks great for summer exploring.
Without further ado, here are our top five locations to visit in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand during the summer months.
1. Waihi Beach Surf, Bay of Plenty
- Location: Waihi Beach
- Suitable for: Families, friends and anyone looking to enjoy a beautiful beach and get some actioned packed surf days in and pick up a new skill!
After being isolated at home for weeks during 2020 we know a lot of people have realised they want to make the most of our beautiful NZ backyard. How about taking up a new hobby this year?
Bay of Plenty has so many beautiful clear water beaches and perfect spots to give surfing a go! Hire a wetsuit, surfboard and get a surf lesson in Waihi with the good guys at Learn To Surf or hire equipment at the Waihi Beach Top 10 Holiday Park.
If you are in Mt Maunganui there are plenty of places to hire surfboards or get lessons like Hibiscus Surf School. And if you picked up walking as a hobby over lockdown how about doing a walk up the Mount Maunganui Summit while you are there?
2. Berry Picking & Ōhope Beach, Whakatane
- Location: Ōhope Beach
- Suitable for: Those looking to relax with a book in hand and enjoy fresh berries on the beach.
Stop and pick your own strawberries and berries at Julians Berry Farm on your way down to Ōhope Beach. Just ten minutes’ drive from Whakatane, Ōhope Beach is the perfect spot for relaxation and the classic Kiwi summer experience with its white sand, blue water and small town feel.
The beach itself offers great surf for those looking to catch some waves, but certain areas of the beach are calm enough for kids and young families to feel safe swimming in. Stay a while in one of the beachfront accommodation options and make the most of waking up to the sound of the ocean.
Ōhope Beach has been voted New Zealand’s most-loved beach by AA Traveller twice and it’s easy to see why.
3. Papamoa Hills Walk, Regional Park
- Location: Papamoa Hills Regional Park, Poplar Lane, Papamoa
- Suitable for: Athletic adventurers with a good level of fitness who are wanting to avoid the typical crowds.
While most visitors to the Bay of Plenty area can be seen bounding up Mount Maunganui and posing at the top for their Instagram shot, there are plenty of other walks in this area just as worthy of your time.
This short walk in Papamoa Hills Regional Park (45 mins one way) through pine forest, native bush and open grassland leads you to great views of the water, city and the mountain itself.
Other tracks in the regional park give you the chance to explore the cultural heritage, with most tracks leading you to each of the six pa sites within the Park boundary.
This really is an excellent alternative if you'd rather a walk in peace and quiet with a bit more shade cover along the way.
4. McLaren Falls Park, Omanawa
- Location: McLaren Falls Park, Omanawa
- Suitable for: Adventurers looking to visit some of the stunning waterfalls New Zealand is so famous for!
If you love bush walks and chasing waterfalls Bay of Plenty is the region you need to travel to! A 30-minute drive from Mt Maunganui township, then 30-minute walk will get you to Kaiate Falls. Featured in the Lonely Planet this is the perfect place to cool off and even take your dog!
If you are traveling by campervan McLaren Falls Park is a picturesque place to stay the night next to Lake McLaren and even spot glow worms while walking to the falls at dusk. Wishing for the best of both worlds? With a combination of a waterfall and a beach is a rare one – and that’s exactly what Homunga Bay has to offer!
There are a couple of different ways to reach Homunga Bay, but if you’re up for a walk at the same time allow 3 hours – start at Waihi Beach and peruse the scenic coastal cliff walk until you reach Orokawa Bay, then carry onto Homunga Bay.
5. Redwoods Tree Walk, Rotorua
- Location: Redwoods Tree Walk, Rotorua
- Suitable for: Anyone keen on an adventure, some exercise and stunning views.
If you are an adventure seeker Rotorua is the place you want to be, 5 minutes from downtown Rotorua is the breath-taking Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest. Our favourite activity at Redwoods would be the Redwoods Treewalk.
Imagine being amongst 75 metre tall redwood trees walking across 28 eco-suspended swing bridges and platforms, this activity is award-winning and can be done day and night! The tree top walk takes an average of 40 minutes. Day time for nature or night time for magic? The choice is yours!
Download the FREE Rug Doctor 12 Stains of Summer Guide
We've put together the perfect companion for your great Kiwi road trip - the 12 Stains of Summer Stain guide. In the guide, we cover off all of the common summer mishaps from how to get tomato sauce out of the carpet, all the way to tanning lotion on the upholstery. You can grab the guide for free by clicking below.