Tauranga, New Zealand, is a tourist’s dream travel destination with its beautiful harbour and rich history. Located just 15 minutes drive from the popular beach town of Mount Maunganui, Tauranga is the largest city in the Bay of Plenty with the fastest growing population in the country. Boasting breathtaking mountains, delicious wine and family-friendly attractions, Tauranga is well worth the visit.

Here we have listed 10 things you should add to your ‘must do’ list when visiting the historic Tauranga.

10. See the views of Tauranga from up above while tandem skydiving

Location: 2 Kittyhawk Way, Mt Maunganui, Tauranga

If you are an adrenaline junkie, you will love the thrill of free-falling over the beautiful views of Tauranga. Prepare to be wowed as you float over the impressive landscapes from White Island through to Mount Ruapehu. Tandem skydiving gives you a unique and special view of Tauranga, and will surely be one of the highlights of visiting this city.

Image: Tauranga Tandem Skydiving
Image: Tauranga Tandem Skydiving

Taking off from the Tauranga Airport, Tauranga Tandem Skydiving offers top class facilities with friendly and professional staff. Make sure you contact Tauranga Tandem Skydiving to book in advance, and don’t worry; the team will take videos and photos to make this an experience you won’t forget!

9. Support the locals at the Tauranga Farmers’ Market

Location: Between Arundel St, Cameron Rd and 5th Ave, Tauranga

If you are on the hunt for some fresh food, Tauranga Farmers’ Market is the place to be. Hang out with the locals, as you taste some of the country’s finest produce. Running for over 10 years, and voted one of the best country farmers’ markets by New Zealand Herald, Tauranga Farmers’ Market is a popular Saturday morning outing. With delicious food ranging from blueberries, to bread, to burritos, this market is sure to have your taste buds tingling. Special dietary requirements? No worries. There is bound to be a stall offering food to cater to your needs. Bring the kids along, as there is always face painting, hands-on activities and entertainment.

The Tauranga Farmers’ Market runs each Saturday morning from 7:45am to 12:00pm. Don’t forget to follow ‘Tauranga Farmers’ Market’ on Facebook to stay up to date with their latest news and food stalls.

8. Learn about the historic Elms Mission Station and Gardens

Location: 15 Mission St, Tauranga

Prepare to be transported back in time to the early nineteenth century as you enter the Elms Mission Station and Gardens. A volunteer guide can talk you through the historic significance of the Elms Mission house, which features furniture and period pieces to reflect the lives of those who lived there. Feel free to wander around the picturesque gardens, displaying English trees from the 1830s, New Zealand shrubs from the early twentieth century and a beautiful tree grown from just one acorn that was carried over from England in 1829!

Image: Bay of Plenty Tourism
Image: Bay of Plenty Tourism

The Elms Mission Station welcomes visitors at all times of the year. You can explore the gardens for free and explore the house and library for $5. Contact Visitor Reception to book your volunteer guide and get learning!

7. Catch a ‘big one’ at Tauranga Marine Charters

Location: Bridge Marina, Tauranga

Whether you are an avid fisher, or just on the hunt for something new to do, give Tauranga Marine Charters a try. The Manutere has been operating out of Tauranga for 40 years, so they must be doing something right!

Tauranga Marine Charters’ boat was purpose built, and is well suited for individuals or groups, giving you plenty of walk around fishing space and opportunities to snag the perfect fish. If you want to hook a snapper, tarakihi, hapuka or kingfish, Brett Keller, the owner/operator is your man.

You can fish all times of the year, 7 days a week. As they say, ‘a bad day fishing is better than a good day at the office!’

6. Immerse yourself in culture at the Tauranga Art Gallery

Location: Cnr Wharf and Willow Streets, Downtown Tauranga

Opened in 2007, the Tauranga Art Gallery is a feast for the eyes. The contemporary gallery space presents high quality exhibitions and displays historic and contemporary art. You can choose to stroll through the gallery at your own pace, or book a visitor program, such as a guided tour, seminar or performance.

For the younger ones, Tauranga Art Gallery has a large focus on education, with schools regularly participating in their programs. With exhibitions and displays for all tastes, get your ‘art fix’ at the Tauranga Art Gallery.

Image: Bay of Plenty Tourism
Image: Bay of Plenty Tourism

Entry is free, but donations are more than welcome.

5. Get active with a guided walk around Mt Drury and Moturiki

Location: 20 Emmerdale Place, Ohauiti, Tauranga

This gentle walk is a great way to learn about the culture, wildlife and nature of Tauranga. Your knowledgeable Guided Footprints tour guide will talk you through ancient Maori burial caves, the British invasion and the history of the surrounding islands.

Listen to amazing facts about the area, the ancient legends and the secrets of the wildlife. Keep an eye out because you might be lucky enough to spot a whale, seal or penguin in the distance!

Image: Guided Footprints
Image: Guided Footprints

Pack your walking gear, wear comfortable shoes, and bring your water bottle for this interesting and informative walking tour.

4. Taste the award winning wines at Mills Reef Winery

Location: 143 Moffat Road, Bethlehem, Taranga

Fruity, dry, full, mellow, rounded, and peppery; Mills Reef Winery has it all, and has the awards to prove it. From a bronze at the New World Wine Awards, to silver at the New Zealand Wine Show, and gold at the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, this winery has it all.

Choose between dining in the 150-seat restaurant, eating delectable food with complimenting wine, or experience the ‘tasting room’ with free samples of some of their award winning wines. Whatever you choose to do, Mills Reef Winery is a ‘must do’ when visiting Tauranga.

Image: Mills Reef Winery
Image: Mills Reef Winery

3. Take the kids to Marshalls Animal Park

Location: McLaren Falls Rd, Tauranga

Goats, birds, pigs; oh my! Marshalls Animal Park offers a huge 35-acres of animals and fun and is always a hit with the kids who tend to love feeding and patting farmyard animals. For the more adventurous types, you can see emus, longhorns, deers and much more.

After the kids have had fun on the flying fox and playground, feel free to put your feet up at one of the many picnic spots and dig in to pie or ice cream from the shop. Marshalls Animal Park is a great chance to take the kids out for a fun and educational day.

Marshalls Animal Park is open every weekend, and on school and public holidays!

2. Shop and eat at Downtown Tauranga

Location: 58 Devenport Rd, Tauranga

Welcome to shopping heaven. Downtown Tauranga is a hub of activity, featuring boutique fashion shops, cafes and arts and entertainment. You are never far from the water at Tauranga, so enjoy being right next to the waterfront as you shop. Take your time as you browse the many retail, book, stationary and art stores or enjoy a well-earned drink and meal at one of the fabulous bars and restaurants located in the area.

Enjoy the welcoming feel and rich history of the area during the day or night, throughout the week. Downtown Tauranga is easily accessible by public transport, but maybe save an extra seat for all your shopping bags.

Image: Bay of Plenty, Tauranga
Image: Bay of Plenty, Tauranga

1. Swim with wild dolphins

Location: Bridge Marina. Tauranga

Did you know that swimming with dolphins has been said to reduce stress, increase happiness and improve awareness? It is simply a bonus that it is great fun too! This is definitely our number one pick for things to do in Tauranga.

Orca Wild Adventures offers you the opportunity to swim with the dolphins, and even explore the flora and fauna of the area. The experienced and professional staff will ensure your trip is an enjoyable and memorable one. Now is your chance to do something that is not only amazing and fun, but also beneficial!

Image: Ocra Wild Adventures
Image: Orca Wild Adventures

Looking for more exciting things to do in the greater Bay of Plenty region? Check out our full catalogue with a range of tours, activities and experiences.

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