Tauranga, a charming New Zealand coastal town, is famous for its endless white beaches and world-class surfing. When the sun sets on the aptly named “Bay of Plenty”, visitors have plenty of vibrant choices for nighttime entertainment.
Whether you’re dining on delectable seafood delicacies, sampling New Zealand’s best wines, or stargazing on the beach, here are five must-do activities to add to your Kiwi travel planning:
Sample New Zealand’s famous wines
New Zealand is an up-and-coming world wine destination. To sample some of the country’s outstanding Bordeaux varietal reds and Syrah, head to Mills Reef Winery in Tauranga. Established in 1989 by the Preston family, Mills Reef Winery is well known as one of Tauranga’s premier wineries. Mills Reef includes a restaurant and tasting room open seven days a week; if you want to dine there, be sure to book dinner reservations in advance. If you prefer beer to wine, head straight to BREW, Tauranga’s dedicated craft beer pub. The brainchild of the award-winning Croucher Brewing Co, BREW features 12 Kiwi craft beers on tap along with an assortment of local wines and craft ciders.
Eat like a local
After conquering the waves or hiking to the top of Mount Maunganui, you’re sure to have worked up an appetite. Eat like a local and head straight to Bobby’s Fresh Fish Market for the fish and chips. Living up to the market’s name, the fish is fresh-out-of-the-water and, when fried up in the restaurant’s secret batter, truly to die-for.
Due to the spot’s popularity, come prepared for a long wait (up to 45 minutes); make like a local and bring along a bottle of New Zealand wine or beer to enjoy at the outdoor covered seating area while waiting for your fish. A glass of wine, fresh fish and a stunning view of sunset over the pier can’t be beat.
Explore Tauranga’s galleries
From landscape paintings and photography to sculpture and pottery, Tauranga’s art galleries offer compact yet well-curated shows. Tauranga Art Gallery (TAG) is a top pick for contemporary art shows, many with themes reflecting New Zealand’s diverse cultural history. For the perfect souvenir, head to the Cargo Shed, a popular arts and crafts market with carved wood sculptures, woolen garments, and local photography. The refurbished historic cargo facility is home to a wide variety of small gallery spaces showcasing works from local artisans.
Stargaze at the beach
During the day, Tauranga’s beaches are packed with locals and tourists alike who are out catching waves or working on their tan. Come night, the crowds depart, leaving behind beaches that are quiet but still safe for a romantic stroll along with water.
If you’re visiting during New Zealand’s warm summer months, you’re in luck: January’s weather is comfortably warm with temperatures reach the mid to upper 70s during the day and the low 60s or upper 50s at night, so be sure to pack a light sweater or jacket to stay warm for your evening stroll. If you’re in luck and it’s a cloudless evening, look for the Southern Hemisphere’s most famous constellation, the Southern Cross.
Tauranga is famous for its diverse global cuisine offerings. Whether you’re craving Indian curries or Turkish delight, there’s something to satisfy every palate in Tauranga. Locals love the homemade samosas and curries at Talk of India, the meze and kabobs at Istanbul Turkish Café, and the escargot and scallops at Café Versailles. With so many delicious dining options, you may wish you had more than just one night in Tauranga so you could sample them all!
Start planning your cruise with overnight port stays with the help of a certified travel agent!