Bay of Plenty Cruises
As a popular destination in New Zealand, Bay of Plenty lives up to its reputation: Miles of white sand beaches, teeming marine life, and sightseeing and recreation opportunities abound in and around the area. Fruit plantations are as plentiful today as they were when Capt. James Cook anchored off in the bay in 1769 and declared it a "bay of plenty." Add to that fresh seafood and wineries near Tauranga, the bay’s most populous city, as well as the Bay of Plenty cruises to see dolphins, whales and orca; and you will have your fair share of the region’s bounty.
The harbourside city of Tauranga is the hub of all shipping activity outside Auckland and Wellington. Its entertainment centre, The Strand, offers a waterfront setting to soaking up the city's buzzing food and pub scene. Connected to Tauranga across the harbour by a bridge, Mount Maunganui, or the Mount as locals call it, beckons visitors with miles of white sand beaches that seemingly stretch endlessly. It's regularly ranked as one of the best beaches in New Zealand, and even one of top beaches in the world. From its modest peak, you can take in panoramic views of the Bay of Plenty. Surfers flock to its warm ocean waves; swimmers seek out the relaxing waters of Pilot Bay. Fresh produce straight from local farms are served on tables at any number of beachside restaurants. Choose from among the many, and go with the gentle flow of this laidback beach town.
Anywhere from Tauranga or Mount Maunganui, you can hop aboard our Bay of Plenty cruises that explore the inner Tauranga Harbour, with an option to stay behind in the island of Matakana for a spot of swimming and fishing away from all the harbourside buzz, and be picked up by the next tour. Located across the entrance channel from Mount Maunganui, Matakana welcomes visitors its miles of pristine white sand backed by lush pine forest (closed to the public) in contrast with Tauranga's extensive highly developed port complex. On a cruise, get close-up views of cargo and container ships as well as visiting cruise ships that travel through the Stella Passage.
It’s not just sun-seeking visitors who come to the Bay of Plenty's inviting waters: dolphins are particularly abundant, giving you a rare opportunity to encounter ‘superpods’ numbering in the hundreds. Other marine mammals that are regularly spotted or visit in the season include New Zealand fur seals, orcas and humpback whales. Penguins and other sea birds also ply the bay’s waters, making Tauranga an ideal jump off point to join eco-tours and cruises that get you close to the marine animals without disturbing their natural behavior in their native habitat. Depending on which cruise you go with, you get a chance to enjoy a picnic in one of the bay’s beautiful islands, put on a snorkel and discover the bay’s colorful underwater world, glide on a kayak, get within camera-distance of whales, or swim with dolphins for an adventure you will never forget.