There are so many beautiful and mysterious places to see when visiting New Zealand that it can be tough to focus on a single area. May we suggest a trip to the Bay of Plenty? After arriving at the Auckland Airport, hire a reliable rental car and head straight for this area on the North Island, which is located in the Waikato region, not terribly far from the airport. Here’s what you need to know to plan an enjoyable holiday to the Bay of Plenty.
Getting There From the Airport
If you don’t want to spend all your time in New Zealand simply getting to your ultimate destination, then heading straight for the Bay of Plenty from the airport will have you enjoying the first day of your trip in no time!
After arriving and picking up your car rental at the Auckland Airport, you need to get out of the hustle and bustle of traffic. Head toward George Bolt Memorial Drive, then toward the South-Western Motorway/State Highway 20, until you can merge onto State Highway 1. From there you will merge onto State Highway 2 to Mount Maunganui. Then it’s just a few minutes more of travel time until you reach the shores of the Bay of Plenty, just outside Tauranga.
Where to Go, What to See
Unless you want to backpack your way across the region or explore the road less traveled, a rental car that is big enough to comfortably fit everyone in your travel party will work just fine. Getting around the Bay of Plenty is easy and there are lots of good roads that will take you everywhere you want to go.
The Te Puna Quarry Park is a good place to start. Located just 15km west of Tauranga, this 32ha park is full of beautiful and amazing sights – both natural and manmade. The park features plenty of unique sculptures interspersed amid nature. You can see swan plants and waterfalls, herb gardens and flowers, a butterfly house and a great view of the sea. There are plenty of birds willing to show off their feathered finery, as well. The price is right, with donations requested to help pay for park maintenance.
For a bit of history during your holiday, head over to the Elms Mission House and Gardens. This is a recognized European heritage site and the oldest one in the region. The Elms is home to many interesting buildings, some dating as far back as 1830. It was founded by missionaries, who set up camp here to bring Christianity to the native people of New Zealand. One of them, Reverend Volkner, wasn’t very lucky – he lost his head during the mission, literally! Definitely check out the giant feijoa tree located on the Mission grounds – and do try its fruit, which is quite popular with Kiwis.
For those who like a bit of adventure with their travel, a nighttime kayaking trip amidst a bevy of glowworms is a great activity to add to your itinerary. Located in a pastoral setting marked by sparkling streams and just minutes from Tauranga, McLaren Falls Park is the gateway to your kayaking adventure. After sunset, point your kayak toward a shallow canyon to find the darkness and peace of your surroundings lit up by thousands of glowworms. It is truly a magical experience.
You may also want to plan a side trip to the Fernland Spa Thermal Mineral Springs to soak in the clear, bubbling water before heading back to the Auckland Airport.
Planning a holiday around the spectacular sites and exciting activities of the Bay of the Plenty is a great way to experience just a small portion of what New Zealand has to offer. Start with a car hire from Auckland Airport and then be on your way for the trip of a lifetime!
Are you planning a trip to New Zealand? In conjunction with Snap Car Rental, I offer all the inside information you need to get around the country, see the best sights, and enjoy the most exciting activities the Land of the Long White Cloud has to offer!
Looking for tips on how to get around, transfers between the North and South Islands and how to best enjoy New Zealand via car, SUV or campervan? Offering convenient pickup and drop off services on both islands, Snap Car Rental is your one stop shop for seeing the country from the comfort of a reliable rental vehicle.