Tauranga Tourist Attractions
On the west side of the Bay of Plenty is the town of Tauranga. Its Maori name means 'calm water' or 'sheltered anchorage' - referring to the natural harbor enclosed by the long, narrow island of Matakana.
The fertile soil and temperate climate provide ideal conditions for the growing of kiwi fruit, plantations of which, with their tall hedges as windbreaks, pattern the landscape.The settlement of Tauranga was established in the 19th C. on confiscated Maori land as a military base and became a market center for the surrounding area. More recently the beautiful beaches near the town have made it a popular holiday resort and a favorite place for retirement.After the infertile pumice soils in the hinterland of the volcanic plateau had been turned into good pasture with the aid of cobalt fertilizers and, after 30 years, the huge coniferous forests were ready for felling the population of the Tauranga area increased sharply. In more recent times Tauranga has lost none of its attraction. Communications have been much improved, for example by the construction of a railroad tunnel through the Kaimai Range, providing direct connections with Hamilton and Auckland, and a new harbor bridge. The harbor, at the foot of Mount Maunganui, is now New Zealand's leading port for exports.
Tauranga Historic Village
This once open air museum consisting of historic buildings, is now home to over sixty community groups. However, it no longer operates as an historic village. There are still several arts and crafts groups in the village and a functioning museum radio station, Village Radio. Visitors are welcome to have a look around the station during broadcast hours.
The Elms (Tauranga Mission House)
The missionary Alfred N Brown (1803-84) built a mission station known as The Elms in 1838 on a site he had bought from the Maoris. The house, with a small chapel and a small library in the garden, has survived almost unchanged. The garden front is particularly beautiful. The old trees, two Norfolk pines and an English oak, have grown to enormous size. Now a national monument, the house is furnished in period style.
The Monmouth Redoubt (1864), with well-preserved ramparts and a number of old cannon, can be reached from the north end of the Strand. It is named after the Monmouth Light Infantry, who were stationed here. Beside the entrance is a carved Maori war canoe set up here in 1970.
The site of the old fortified Maori settlement of Otemataha Pa is now occupied by a cemetery containing the graves of many who fell in the fighting at Gate Pa and Te Ranga. It is reached by way of the railroad bridge at the end of Cliff Street.
Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
Only a few kilometers from Tauranga, easily reached over the harbor bridge, is the independent town of Mount Maunganui (pop. 12,000), situated on the other side of the natural harbor, which at this point is equipped with modern transport facilities.In summer the town, lying at the foot of the steep hill (232m) from which it takes its name, is a popular holiday resort. There are a number of footpaths running up the hill, which was once crowned by a fortified Maori settlement.Mount Maunganui has marvelous beaches (Ocean Beach, Papamoa Beach).
In the northwest of the Bay of Plenty, some 35km north of Tauranga, is Mayor Island, formed from an extinct volcano 387m high, with two craters containing lakes. There are remains of a fortified settlement on the hill.Mayor Island is a favorite of deep-sea anglers. Every year in late summer and autumn (December to May) there are great angling competitions in the waters round the island.There are boat trips to Mayor Island from Tauranga and Whangamata.