Tauranga to Hot Water Beach

Begin in Tauranga

Tauranga is a beautiful coastal city located along the shores of the Bay of Plenty. Its proximity to New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, has resulted in Tauranga’s rapid growth as a metropolitan hub. Despite its growing urban population, Tauranga maintains its seaside charm, with its stunning coastline perfect for sailing, fishing, dolphin watching and sunbathing. There’s plenty to see in downtown Tauranga, with an array of historically significant buildings sights that can be explored on foot. The undoubted highlight of Tauranga is its vibrant waterfront, with its many modern cafes, restaurants and pubs, as well as a whole host of cool shops and boutiques.

Head for Whangamata

Whangamata is famous for its unique mix of beach and rainforest. In 2018, Whangamata Beach was voted best beach in New Zealand by NZ Herald readers. The beach is home to some of the best surf breaks and safest swimming in New Zealand, which makes it popular with surfers and tourists alike. Nearby Coromandel Forest Park provides plenty of outdoor experiences, including short walks, mountain bike trails and old gold mining sites. The town also has one of the best shopping centres in the region. Should you wish to spend the night, there are plenty of accommodation options in the area, from full houses, to smaller holiday homes. Whangamata is also the home of the Beach Hop, a five day celebration of 50s and 60s culture. Fabulous white sand beaches, magnificent coastal scenery, rugged forest, and great surfing are just some of the natural attractions that will make you fall in love with Whangamata.

Climb Mt Paku Summit

Just over 30 minutes from Whangamata is the town of Tairua, which is home to Mt Paku, a volcanic peak that rises up between the southern end of Tairua Beach and the mouth of Tairua Harbour. Visitors can walk to the summit though a beautiful trail lined with native trees such as Karaka, Kawakawa, Mahoe and Pohutukawa. Moss-covered rocks, wooden steps and the sound of birdsong from quails, bellbirds and tuis allow you to feel fully immersed in nature, making for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Find Your Way to Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove is famous for its naturally formed archway that leads to a beautiful beach. It’s an area of enviable natural beauty, and one that attracts visitors from all over the world who come to marvel at its picture-perfect appearance. The only way to reach Cathedral Cove is on foot. To get there, follow the trail from the north end of the Hahei Beach, which takes you on a one hour walk along the cliff top, before it descends to the cove. Here you’ll find a gigantic natural arch cut into the headland. Its cathedral-like shape creates an imposing feeling, while the sandy beach is the perfect place for a picnic and a swim.

Head for Hot Water Beach

Just a few kilometres south of Hahei Beach lies Hot Water Beach. Here you’ll find naturally heated water bubbling up from deep below the earth’s surface, before it emerges on golden sand. Visitors flock here to dig their own hot water pools and spend time relaxing. The best time to visit and dig a pool is two hours either side of low tide. This is when the tide is low enough to expose the areas of sand with hot water underneath. Hot Water Beach is a magnificent way to spend an afternoon. Be sure to pack a picnic and maybe even a little shovel or spade to help you dig your own hot pool.