Looking for ideas for things to do in Tauranga? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Tauranga is located on the east coast of the North Island in an area known as the Bay of Plenty. It is one of New Zealand’s most popular regions for holidaymakers thanks to its perfect mixture of sun, sea and sand.

Tauranga is often seen as a gateway to Mount Maunganui and whilst there is no doubt that “the Mount” is one of our most popular destinations, Tauranga has a lot to offer on its own with the added benefit that the Mount is just a short 10-minute drive away.

Mount Maunganui is actually a major residential suburb of Tauranga. It was an independent town from Tauranga until the completion of the Tauranga Harbour Bridge in 1988 which now collects Mount Maunganui to the Tauranga central business district.

There are a few volcanoes in the area including White Island and Mauao – the volcano from which Mount Maunganui takes its name.

Tauranga is a great summer destination thanks to an average summer temperature of 20-25 degrees Celsius and even in the winter, the temperature only drops to 10-15 degrees so Tauranga is the perfect destination all year round.

As you might imagine, a destination that attracts so many tourists is not short on things to do. When it comes to attractions in Tauranga, there are some absolute crackers. From climbing up the Mount at sunrise to rejuvenating in the hot salt-water pools to night kayaking to see the glow worms.

With so many things to do in Tauranga, we wanted to pull together a list of our favourite things to do along with some of the favourites from our GO Explore fans. Let’s GO!

11 of our favourite things to do in Tauranga

Whether you are looking for something a little adventurous or something for the whole family, Tauranga has a bit of something for everyone. Here are 11 of the best things to do in Tauranga and Mount Maunganui:

1.      Waimarino Adventure Park

If you are looking for both adventure and a family-fun day out, look no further than Waimarino Adventure Park. It’s just a short 10-minute drive from central Tauranga and there is so much to do in the adventure park that is set across the Wairoa River. From rock climbing to riding the slip ‘n’ slide, Waimarino is one of the best adventure parks in New Zealand. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, try the Tarzan swing or the ‘blob’ – a giant inflatable that catapults you into the lake.

2.      Kayaking with the glow worms

If you are looking for a more peaceful water activity, you can also try night kayaking at Waimarino on Lake McLaren where you will be kayaking amongst the glow worms. It truly is a magical experience for anyone looking for a different kind of experience. You can really make a full day of things by exploring the adventure park by day and the night kayak once it goes dark – there are some great family passes and full-day passes available.

3.      McLaren Falls Park

McLaren Falls Park is 190 hectares of parkland set alongside Lake McLaren. It is just a short 10-minute drive from downtown Tauranga and is a great place to spend a few hours – either in the morning or afternoon. One of the highlights of the park is the waterfall track that is a short and easy stroll to a picturesque waterfall. This is another chance to see some glow worms as well as they can be found on either side of the waterfall track.

4.      Mauao (Mount Maunganui) Summit Track

A trip to Tauranga and the Mount would not be complete without a trip to the summit of Mauao (Mount Maunganui). The walk will take you around 40 minutes and does require a good level of fitness as it is a steep climb to the 232-metre high summit. Mauao means ‘caught by the dawn’ and one of the best and most popular times to climb Mauao is at sunrise. It’s the perfect way to see in the dawn of a new day and the views from the top are truly spectacular.

5.      Walk to Moturiki Island


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If the climb up Mount Maunganui is not your cup of tea, then maybe a relaxing walk to an island is more your thing. Nope, that’s not a typo. You can walk to an island. The 250-metre long Moturiki Island sits adjacent to Mount Manganui beach and is connected via a walking bridge. Whilst it’s pretty cool to walk to this island, the best thing still awaits. Once across to the island, you will find a blowhole that shoots out water at high tide. The walk itself is a gentle climb and will give you some amazing views of Mauao and the city coastline.

6.      Unwind in the saltwater hot pools

If you are looking for a relaxing holiday down in Tauranga, then the saltwater hot pools could be the way to go. The saltwater hot pools are well known for their therapeutic benefits. Not only are the pools relaxing and rejuvenating, they are also set to the backdrop of the magnificent Mount Maunganui. If you want to take things up a notch, book into one of the private pools that are available and book in for a massage.

7.      Kaiate Falls


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Waterfalls are definitely one of the major attractions all around New Zealand and the Kaiate Falls is a great spot. The falls are also known by their Māori name – Te Rerekawau Falls – and they are located around a 30-minute drive from Tauranga. There is an easy walking track that will lead you to the falls and take you through the native forest to the falls that tumble down a ravine in a series of cascades. It’s a great place to visit in the summer months as there is a pool at the bottom that is perfect for cooling off.

8.      Visit the Historic Village

The Historic Village is one of Tauranga’s best-kept secrets and offers up a lot of great things to do. You will find an amazing collection of original and replica buildings from early Tauranga, nestled in amongst gorgeous gardens and natural bush surrounds. The Historic Village grounds are open seven days a week and entry is free and there is plenty for the whole family including movies, retail therapy and more.

9.      Check out the Tauranga Art Gallery

The Tauranga Art Gallery is just one of New Zealand’s most fascinating museums and has a collection of historical and contemporary art all situated in a modern building. The gallery displays a wide range of exhibitions throughout the year as well as running an educational programme for local school groups and art studios. The gallery is open seven days a week and admission is free.

10.  Swim or surf at Mount Maunganui Beach

A trip to the Mount would not be complete without spending a day down at the beach. Enjoy a picnic and enjoy some time in the sea – it’s the perfect spot for swimming and surfing and was voted one of TripAdvisor’s top 25 beaches in the world in 2016 as well as New Zealand’s best beach in 2019. There are plenty of places you can rent a board when you are down in the Mount and there are also surf schools that will teach beginners in the perfect waves.

11.  Adrenalin Forest

Adrenalin Forest is another great activity for thrill-seekers and is part of a chain of four adventure parks throughout New Zealand including Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. Adrenalin Forest is inspired by army training courses and has been adapted into a series of fun and challenging courses that will challenge you mentally and physically.  It’s an activity that will take up about three hours and offers some of the best value entertainment and value for money for families.

Enjoying the best activities in Tauranga

If you are planning a trip to Tauranga, then hopefully this list will give you some inspiration in terms of things to do when you are in town. With Tauranga and Mount Maunganui located in such close proximity, no matter where you choose to base yourself, you will not be short on things to do.

If you are looking for more ideas for things to do, places to stay and the best places to eat out in Tauranga and the Mount, then make sure you check out our City Guide to Tauranga and Mount Maunganui for plenty of great tips.

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