Blessed with lots of sunshine and warmer temps than most of New Zealand, this is a great place for a bit of beachside R & R. Less than a three hour drive from Auckland awaits this city break.
If you come to Tauranga, you need to climb The Mount. There are two paths up, one short and sharp and the other a bit more meandering. Although we chose meandering, we still found it to be a bit challenging, but the views from the top made it well worth the effort. It takes over an hour with a few photo stops, so leave plenty of time.
If you want to visit something outside of town, McLaren Falls is a good choice. This used to be a power station but it has been transformed into a park. Usually dammed, yet twenty-six times a year (every second Sunday) the water is released creating a pumping river and raging waterfall. Plenty of kayakers and rafters head to the rapids for a bit of an adrenalin rush. If you aren't into extreme sports, lots of others just climb over the rocks and take a swim in the numerous pools upstream. There is also an animal park and a cafe nearby. In 2014 a pedestrian bridge was opened alongside the one lane bridge for cars to make things a bit safer for the public.
This hotel ought to satisfy if you want gorgeous views over the water and a bit of luxury. The best rooms at the Trinity Wharf Tauranga Hotel have balconies that put you right out over the water with views of the bridge. As I type this, I'm enjoying the sea breeze as I look out over the harbour. Beautiful at bot sunrise and sunset, this hotel won't disappoint.
There is a lovely infinity pool on-site and the restaurant has spectacular views and a menu that will cover most tastes. The beds are comfy and the bathtubs, some of them spas, are the kind you can just sink into. What better way to forget about city life for a while?
The restaurant on-site at Trinity Wharf Tauranga, Halo, is a very good option if you find you are unable to drag yourself away from the comfort of your room for any length of time. Plus, you just can't beat the views! We went there for both high tea and dinner and found both to be very enjoyable.
The highlight of high tea was definitely the light and flaky Devonshire scones with jam and cream. Absolutely to die for! We couldn't come to an agreement as to whether the brownies or the cheesecake came in second, so let's just say you won't be disappointed with either. We weren't such a big fan of the salmon sandwiches, but I'm pretty sure that's just a personal preference.
When it came to dinner I had the lamb, which was cooked to perfection and served with bok choy. For me, it was the perfect serving size. Sipping wine and looking out over the water, I really couldn't imagine a better way to end a day than looking out over Tauranga's harbour.