Bay of PlentyNorth Island
Formerly a land of abundance - hence its name “plenty” - for Maori and European settlers, this region is still very abundant today in terms of its multiple natural assets and its exceptional sites that travellers from around the world love.
Rotorua is the first unmissable location, renowned for its geothermal activity: geysers, hot mud pools and fumaroles that you can admire at the many sites designed for this purpose. We recommend that you avoid those located close to the city as these are very crowded. Instead, you might prefer the ones located further South: Wai O Tapu, probably the most spectacular with its incredible colour palettes, Waimangu, the youngest geothermal system in the world, or even Orakei Korako, the most charming, nestled in a superb natural setting.
The Maori culture is also an important asset of the region. Be careful however as many operators advertising as "traditional" experience, offer tourist-orientated stage shows that are definitely lacking some authenticity. If you are interested in a genuine immersion into the Maori culture, and you are looking for authenticity, we recommend that you stay the night at Kohutapu Lodge. You will interact with the members of this Maori family and share with them a traditional hangi dinner. They will take you to discover the meaningful places and the village school. It’s also an opportunity to have a positive impact on the community.
An impressive number of excursions are offered in Rotorua, such as a cruise on Lake Tarawera, which is also the opportunity to relax in a hot spring away from the crowds. Several scenic flights are also possible, such as the Waimangu seaplane. Why not go paddle boarding on a lake to reach a cave and observe glow worms at night, or explore the superb Whakarewarewa forest with a mountain bike.
We also recommend that you go walking on the slopes of the Tarawera volcano with a local guide. This is the opportunity to discover the nature and beauty of the area combined with a cultural and historical approach. Depending on your requests and your wishes, we will certainly be able to recommend the right activity for you.
It is also in the Bay of Plenty that you can find the lovely city of Tauranga. It is located on the coast and attracts more and more inhabitants, due to its great quality of life. A few minutes from the city centre, the seaside resort Mount Maunganui offers a most pleasant setting. There, you will find one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, overlooked by Mount Mauao, an ancient volcano that you can easily climb in 30 minutes, for breath-taking views of the area. From Tauranga, we also recommend a evening kayaking trip, allowing you to admire the glow worms, in an isolated canyon.
Bay of Plenty is also the birthplace of White Island, a very active volcano island located 50 km offshore. Tourist activity is suspended until further notice following a violent eruption that caused several people’s life in December 2019.
In Feb to March this year, we had a wonderful month touring in NZ and all with the help of Romain at OUAT. It did all feel a bit like a leap of faith, but...
Jane Chaplin, UK
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OUAT organised a great trip on the Hollyford Track. The lodges were wonderful with the most decisions food. The guides really knowledgeable and friendly....
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