Tauranga (pronounced ‘toe-run-gah’) has been booming since the 1990s and in 2017 it leapfrogged Dunedin to become NZ’s fifth biggest city. It’s especially popular with retirees cashing up from Auckland’s hyperkinetic real-estate market, along with young families who can no longer afford to buy there.
Its rapid rise has left it with traffic snarls on its arterial routes to rival even Auckland’s. It also has NZ’s busiest port, with petrol refineries and mountains of coal and lumber spoiling what was once a lovely view from the city centre to Mt Maunganui.
However, this growth has also brought with it fancy hotels and a terrific crop of restaurants and bars enlivening its vamped-up waterfront. Tauranga’s city centre is never going to rival its beachside ‘burbs, Mt Maunganui and Papamoa, for visitor appeal but if you’re staying at the Mount, it’s well worth popping over for a bite and a look around.
Tauranga has an oceanic or maritime temperate climate. It can also be described as subtropical due to high summer humidity. During the summer months the population swells as holidaymakers descend on the city, especially along the popular white coastal surf beaches from Mount Maunganui to Papamoa.
City facilities and attractions
Greater Tauranga is a very popular lifestyle and tourism destination. It features many natural attractions and scenery ranging from popular beaches and harbour environments to lush bush-clad mountains with waterfalls and lakes.
Cultural attractions include the Tauranga Art Gallery, which opened in October 2007 and showcases local, national and international exhibitions in a range of media. On the 17th Avenue, the “Historic Village on 17th”, recreates a historic setting with original and replica buildings from early Tauranga housing arts and gift shops.Aviation interests are well served with the Classic Flyers Museum and the Gyrate Flying Club where you can experience flying a modern gyroplane; the “motorbike of the sky”.
Tauranga has many parks: one of the largest is Memorial Park, and others include, Yatton Park, Kulim Park, Fergusson Park and the large Tauranga Domain. The Te Puna Quarry Park has become a regional attraction, known for being converted from a disused quarry into a community park.
Due to the temperate climate, outdoor activities are very popular, including golf, tramping (hiking), mountain biking and white water rafting. The Bay of Plenty coastline has miles of golden sandy beaches, and watersports are very popular, including swimming, surfing, fishing, diving, kayaking and kitesurfing. Tourists also enjoy dolphin-watching on specially run boat trips.
The coastal suburb Papamoa and neighbouring town Mount Maunganui are some of the more affluent areas around Tauranga. The region’s beaches attract swimmers, surfers, kayakers and kitesurfers throughout the year.
Tauranga has many outlying islands and reefs that make it a notable tourist destination point for travelling scuba divers and marine enthusiasts.Extensive marine life diversity is available to scuba divers all year round. Water temperatures range from 12 degrees Celsius in winter to 22–24 degrees Celsius in summer. Tauranga houses two professional dive instructor training centres, training NAUI, PADI and SSI dive leader systems.
|Languages spoken||English & Maori|
|Currency used||New Zealand Dollar (NZD)|
|Area (km2)||168 km²|