The Bay stretches from the base of the Coromandel Peninsula in the west to Cape Runaway in the east. The region is bound by the Kaimai and Mamaku Ranges to the west and extends inland to the dense forests around Rotorua, Kawerau and Murupara. There are also a number of islands dotted through the Bay, some of the best known are Mayor Island (Tuhua), Motiti Island, Whale Island and the famous Whakaari or White Island which is an active volcano.
Captain Cook named the Bay during a visit in 1769. He gave it the name Bay of Plenty after he noticed the abundance of food supplies in the local Maori villages.
The total population of the Bay of Plenty region at the time of the 2006 Census was 257,379.
The region is dominated by two cities: Tauranga with a population 103,635 and Rotorua with a population 65,901. Other main towns in the region include Whakatane, Te Puke, Kawerau, Katikati and Opotiki.
About the region
The Bay of Plenty is one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday destinations offering a bounty of beaches, culture and lifestyle to visitors from near and far. In addition to being a thriving port, Tauranga is also a popular lifestyle destination offering its inhabitants a relaxed beach lifestyle without the traffic jams of the city. The region is blessed with a mild climate year-round, which enables produce such as kiwifruit and citrus to prosper. The vast harbour, islands and proximity to the open sea also ensures that seafood is a local specialty.
The region’s legendary beaches attract swimmers, surfers, kayakers and kitesurfers throughout the year. Away from the coast, the Bay of Plenty is an adventure sports playground with a full range of activities like white-water rafting, jetboating and walking.
Agriculture and tourism are the region's two main industries. The kiwifruit is one the most symbolic icons of the coastal Bay of Plenty, and horticulture plays a very important role in the economy of the region. Eighty per cent of New Zealand’s kiwifruit exports are grown in the Bay of Plenty by over 2,000 growers. Orchards are spread throughout the region and an annual festival pays tribute to the iconic fruit. Forestry, timber processing and paper production industries are also important industries in the region.
Points of interest
- ♦ Watersports – surfing, kayaking, sailing
- ♦ White Island – take an unforgettable helicopter ride to the famous volcanic island
- ♦ Rotorua – visit the volcanic geysers and relax in the geothermal pools
- ♦ Mt Maunganui – famous holiday destination with golden beach and bustling café culture
- ♦ Rafting and Jetboating – thrills to be had on some of the regions rivers
- ♦ Fishing – fantastic fishing can be found in both the lakes and ocean