Welcome to our turangawaewae, our home.
Tauranga is rapidly becoming the heart and soul of NZ. The housing prices are ridiculously inflated, the cafes are buzzing and you can never catch the Mount on a bad day! Yes, we will try to convince everyone (you) to live here, but if you can’t do that, make sure to explore it on your NZ road trip – you won’t want to leave!
Here are 7 of our favourite places to explore from local hotspots to waterholes and hiking trails…
1. Ngatuhoa lodge
This lodge is found deep in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest. It reminds me of my childhood and encompasses everything Kiwis love to do. The lodgings have been refurbished and are comfortable even for the young at heart like my Opa. Go explore:
- Waterfalls, Waterholes & Rope swings
- Obstacle courses and the flying fox
- Easy – Difficult walks/hikes
- Kayaking, Tubing & Rafting
It’s incredible to be that deep in the forest and have such a sweet set up – A Must Do
2. Wairere Falls
This is not for the faint-hearted. It is a step ol trek about 2km straight up a series of stairs, wooden and rock, to reach the top of the falls.
- Once you’re there you’ll forget about your burning thighs and fall in love with the view.
- You can paddle around in the rock pools up top.
- Note: we’ve run this a lot and it’s pretty do-able if you’re that way inclined/fit 😊. You can follow a small goat track all the way to the top of the Kaimai ranges, meet up with Thompsons Track and come out at Aongatete on the other side. School kids can do this, so you can too!
- There is also a few organised trail runs in this area – Look up ‘The Goat’ it’s a good one!
On top of the Kaimais just out of Tauranga city.
- Drive towards Katikati and turn left down Wright Road, follow it all the way to the end and you’ll find Aongatete Lodge.
- Once again you can camp/lodge here if you want!
- We just park up and walk 15 minutes to the closest waterholes – there are a series of small rock pools here, deep enough to dive into (just check the depth in summer)
- There is another waterhole about 10 more minutes up the track with a sweet little cliff jump into clear blue water
- Once again, there are multiple Easy – Difficult walks & hikes in this area.
- There is information in the doc.govt.nz site and on the sign posts by the trail entrances.
4. Papamoa Hills
Only 10 minutes from our house in Welcome Bay, the Papamoa Hills is a pretty sweet playground with an even sweeter view, 360 degrees of pure NZ!
- From up top you’ll see Mouao, Matakana, Motiti Island, and even White Island puffing away in the distance.
- You can walk up/around this area and bike.
- Summer Hill is the start of a walking track across farmland to the Papamoa Hill summit. It is also has a mountain bike park in the pines!
- Te Puke Quarry entrance has toilets and a path through bush before hitting the farm land and reaching the summit – it’s steeper but a really good track to run!
5. Te Puna’s Minden Staircase
We use to hit up the stairs to the left a third of the way up Minden Road – they’re still the hardest stairs we have ever run as they are not even and very steep. If you’re into running, keen for a sweat up and want to test your limits, go to the base of the stairs and start your sprint intervals! – walk or jog lightly down as recovery
- This could be a walk if you parked your car at Nourish Cafe or the bottle store at the bottom of the hill and walked up to the reserve at the top of the Minden stairs.
- There is also a lookout further up the road worth walking to just for the stunning views of Tauranga Harbour and City! As you curl around each bend there is plenty of native birds and farm life to see.
6. Mauao aka Mount Maunganui
Rude not to – that’s the whole reason why you’re in the Bay of Plenty isn’t it?! I don’t think I need to elaborate on this famous little mound of land at the end of Mount Maunganui apart from the fact that there are several ways to walk around or up it, so go explore its unique beauty for yourself!
7. Omanu Beach
If you fancy hearing calming waves rather than the peaceful native bush head down to Omanu Beach, this is why:
- To escape the crowds, mostly locals hang out here.
- To get a take away for your beach stroll. George Cafe is 50 metres away from the beach entrance/car park and their coffee is superb!
- The surf is usually good so you can watch surfers play in the waves.
- There are dogs, we don’t need to explain why this is a good point to make, do we?
- No one is on the beach if you go in the morning, you have beautiful views mainly to yourself!
Pics below of a few of the spots mentioned above!
P.S – Click here if you want to wear some sweet as NZ clothing to go alongside your waterfall chasing missions