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Tauranga in Bay of Plenty

Tauranga can be reached in only two and a half hours' drive from Auckland. While it is a rapidly growing city it offers a much more relaxed lifestyle than Auckland.

The beautiful Tauranga harbour has huge appeal for boaties, and two large marinas hold over a thousand yachts and launches. Charter boats offer game fishing trips beyond the harbour to fish for marlin off Mayor and White Islands.

Beyond the harbour bridge is Mount Maunganui where you can enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches or walk around the base of "the Mount" - the dormant volcanic cone known as 'the Mount'. Wherever you go in the Tauranga the Mount is on the skyline.

Those who want adventure can choose from paragliding, skydiving, jet skiing, white water rafting, 4WD safaris, gliding, jet boating or swimming with dolphins. Launches or helicopters take visitors to land at White Island, which lies 50 kilometres off the Bay of Plenty coast. A flight over the island is an exciting experience as steam pours from the huge crater. There is intense thermal activity on the island with steam and natural gas vents, holes of sulphuric acid and boiling pools. Captain Cook called the island White Island "because as such it always appeared to us". Its Maori name, Whakaari, means "to make visible".

Nature lovers can choose among under-water diving, horse trekking, sailing, numerous unspoiled nature walks, freshwater and marine fishing, farm and orchard visits and lots of sun, sea and surf.

For those interested in history or in Maori culture there is a wealth of choice.

Visit the country town of Katikati, which was New Zealand's first planned Irish Ulster settlement, and explore its Heritage Museum, wildlife parks and gardens. or visit Tauranga's historic buildings, such as the Elms Mission House, built in the years 1838-47 by Archdeacon A. N. Brown, one of New Zealand's early missionaries. The Otemahaha Military Cemetery on the site of an old pa is of interest as the site of the graves of many who fell in the battles of Gate Pa and Te Ranga fought between the British and Maori during the Land Wars in 1864.

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