An aerial view of Mount Maunganui
WELCOME TO MIDDLE EARTH

Cruise to Tauranga, New Zealand

It's hobbit enthusiast's dream come true in Tauranga. This town on the Bay of Plenty, perched on New Zealand's North Island, is just a short trek from the rolling hills of Waikato — this is where you'll find Hobbiton, the location that served as the Shire in the uber-popular "Lord of the Rings" movies. But the fantastic findings of Tauranga don't end there. Cruise to Tauranga and hike to the summit of nearby Mount Maunganui, an extinct volcano that offers panoramic views of the city and the Pacific Ocean below. Or take the one-hour drive to Rotorua, a geothermal fairyland where you can soak in the rejuvenating waters of the natural hot springs.
National Language English
Currency Accepted New Zealand Dollar (NZD)

Things To Do in Tauranga

A Hobbit home from a famous movie set

Hole Up in Hobbiton

A Hobbit home from a famous movie set

A Hobbit home from a famous movie set

Hole Up in Hobbiton

Take an excursion to Middle Earth, or at least to the filming location of Bilbo's house in the Shire. Visit the 44 Hobbit Holes and The Green Dragon Inn to learn more about how "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" were filmed here by New Zealander Sir Peter Jackson.

A walking path up Mount Maunganui

Climb a Volcano

A walking path up Mount Maunganui

A walking path up Mount Maunganui

Climb a Volcano

If you're hungry for a hike, head to Mount Maunganui. Hike 30 minutes or so up one of the trails to the summit, where there's an archaeological site of a Maori fort, as well as excellent views of the beach, Pacific Ocean and the harbor.

Geothermal pool in New Zealand
Geothermal pool in New Zealand

Geothermal Wonders

In nearby Rotorura, visit a geothermal park like Wai-O-Tapu to see boiling mud, brightly colored pools of hot water and the Lady Knox geyser. Stroll through Rotorura's city parks to see smaller pools of bubbling mud and steaming water, or visit the Polynesian Spa for a hot-water massage.

Grilled lamb on a white plate with roasted vegetables
Grilled lamb on a white plate with roasted vegetables

Local Cuisine

Named the Bay of Plenty by Captain Cook, the Tauranga area has an abundance of products from the land and sea. Cruise to Tauranga and try lamb belly with burnt pumpkin or crusted local venison loin at a hip brasserie in downtown Tauranga. You'll find wine here, too, especially Pinot Noir — Mills Reef Winery has an on-site restaurant where you can order creative, Asian-inspired dishes alongside your glass of choice.

A jar of manuka honey
A jar of manuka honey

Shopping

In the town of Paengaroa, about a half hour away, you'll find the production plant of Comvita, one of the world's leading producers of manuka honey. Take a couple jars home, or pick up beauty products made with the sweet stuff. Take home a bottle of your favorite wine from a local vineyard, or seek out local jade and sterling silver jewelry — Jens Hansen Ringmakers in Nelson even makes a replica of the One Ring from Tolkien's epic.

Insider's Tips
Insider's Tips
1 Walk out to Moturiki Island at low tide to get the easiest access to view of the blowholes.
2 If you're into surfing, the beach at Mount Maunganui is the ideal spot.

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