Tauranga is the principal city of the Bay of Plenty. The founders of Tauranga, 19th-century missionaries, left a legacy of well-planned parks and gardens for today’s residents and visitors to enjoy. The area of the Bay of Plenty is blessed with a good climate and fine beaches. It is a thriving agricultural district, especially noted for the cultivation of kiwifruit, which is an essential export item and vital to New Zealand’s economy. Tauranga also plays an important role as gateway to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua, known as one of New Zealand’s most famous tourist attractions.
The Elms Mission House and an 1860s military campsite provide some insight into the area’s history. Other attractions include the Waitomo Caves, a vast underground network of water-sculpted, cathedral-like limestone grottoes. In addition to visiting Rotorua, visitors also enjoy such activities as big-game fishing, scuba diving and flightseeing excursions over White Island, site of New Zealand’s most active volcano.