Tauranga City Airport opened on the 14 January 1939, but due to the start of World War II, operations were ceased and the Royal New Zealand Air Force took over the airfield for its own uses. Today, Tauranga City Airport is served by Air New Zealand, with flights to Wellington International Airport and Auckland Airport among others.
Getting to the city is easy, the Tauranga City Airport is located at Jean Batten Drive, only 10 minutes from the city centre and seven minutes from the central Mount Maunganui.
If you’re driving, there are both short term and long term parking options available in the airport depending on what you need. If you don’t have a car, there are a variety of transportation options such as car rentals and shuttle services. Do note that bookings need to be made beforehand for the airport shuttles to the city and the number to call is available on the airport website.
In Tauranga city itself, there are bright yellow Bay Hopper Buses that run Mondays to Saturdays in most locations around Tauranga including Mount Manunganui and Papamoa. If you miss the bus or are unable to get to your location via bus, there are numerous car rental options as well as taxis for you to choose from.
What to see and do
Tauranga is the largest city in the Bay of Plenty and one of the fastest growing in New Zealand. It is also just a 15-minute drive away from one of New Zealand’s most popular beach towns, Mount Maunganui, which is definitely one of the places to visit. Mount Maunganui is actually an extinct volcano, which is also known by its Maori name of Mauao or ‘The Mount’.
Hike up the Mount Maunganui Summit Track to see spectacular views of coastlines and the Kaimai range to the west. Then cool off with a dip in the bay along the pristine Maunganui beach.
You might also want to catch a wave and surf in the bay as it has been recently installed with an artificial reef that provides consistently perfect waves for surfing.
Near Papamoa are the Kaiate Falls that are the highlight of the forest reserve near Tauranga. Walk to the ravine where the Kaiate Stream drops over ignimbrite bluffs into nine beautiful cascades and trek to the swimming hole to have a dip and cool off.
When you’re hungry, head to the picnic spot to enjoy your packed lunch and beautiful views of Mount Maunganui and the Port of Tauranga.
In downtown Tauranga, head to either the Tauranga Art Gallery or the Historic Village to get better acquainted with Tauranga. Alternatively, you could spend a lazy afternoon just walking down the redeveloped Strand Waterfront area and browse through the shops, or sit down at a café and restaurant and watch the world go by.
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