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Tauranga lies in the heart of the Bay of Plenty region, about 2.5 hours south of the city of Auckland. It has become one of New Zealand's fastest-growing areas thanks to plentiful sunshine and beautiful beaches. But with a population of only about 100,000, Tauranga can still offer you generous space to yourself. In fact, the densest concentration of attractions, and perhaps the biggest crowds, is on The Strand in the downtown area. Tauranga also hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year, including arts, comedy, film, jazz and blues.Find Cruises Sailing to This Port
No visit to Tauranga would be complete without a trip to Mount Maunganui. This extinct volcanic peak rises from the mists of Tauranga Harbour, attracting tourists from all over New Zealand and abroad. The area, once a Maori stronghold, now houses the resort town of Maunganui, which is known for its tiled sidewalks lined with palm trees, turquoise-painted street lamps and gorgeous shoreline. And while you're there, take a dip in the hot saltwater pools located at the base of the mountain.
Unless the line at the Bungee Rocket is too long, don't leave Tauranga without trying it at least once. Be warned that this "sport" is not for the weak-hearted. You'll be fastened to a contraption that resembles a giant sling and then shot 50m into the air at a speed of about 100mph. It may sound a little reckless but don't be surprised if you keep coming back for more. You can also charter a boat from Tauranga for big-game fishing, snorkeling, dolphin watching or just cruising.
With the arrival of new residents, the dining scene in this area has also taken off. Many of Tauranga's best restaurants are along The Strand, in the Wharf Street area and on the downtown end of Devonport Road between Spring and Elizabeth streets. The fare available is varied and ranges from Middle Eastern to Mongolian. You may want to pick up a free copy of the Dine Out guide from the visitor center.
Tauranga City is the largest shopping area in the Bay of Plenty. Downtown Tauranga offers a unique and exciting mixture of high-end gift, travel and boutique shops.
The local currency used is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$). Coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2; notes come in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. It is advisable to keep some amount of cash handy especially if you are traveling into rural areas where ATMs are scarce.
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Learn more about this port city with these tourist information guides.