Things to do in Tauranga

Our most recommended things to do in Tauranga

Tauranga: Evening Glow Worm Kayak Tour

1. Tauranga: Evening Glow Worm Kayak Tour

Try a unique glow worm kayak tour, complete with refreshments, beautiful scenery, fantastic birdlife, and glow worms. Travel over the night waters in Lake McLaren with your guide to take in the glow worms in action. Snack on New Zealand cheeses and other refreshments along the edge of Lake McLaren. Your experienced kayak guide will prepare and brief you on how to kayak effectively before launching you onto picturesque Lake McLaren at twilight. See constellations of glow worms as your guide leads you into the canyon at the top of the lake and learn about the life cycles and peculiarities of this fascinating creature along the way.

Tauranga: Mount Maunganui Harbour Sightseeing Cruise

2. Tauranga: Mount Maunganui Harbour Sightseeing Cruise

Explore Tauranga Harbour on a sightseeing cruise of New Zealand's largest natural harbor. Marvel at views of Mount Maunganui, search for NZ fur seals and sea birds and enjoy a beach visit on Matakanka Island. Board The Kewpie, a 70-year-old ferry made from native Kauri trees, The Kewpie which boasts an interesting history in New Zealand waters. The 52ft boat has two levels and a licensed bar for a comfortable cruise around Tauranga Harbour. While cruising look out for the Statue of Tangaroa, untouched white sandy beaches, lush green forests, and islands, contrasted by the massive developed port infrastructure. Keep on the lookout for seasonal wildlife on your harbor cruise such as blue penguins, sea birds, or adorable NZ fur seals. Stay on board or disembark to explore Matakana Island. The island's white sandy beach is a favorite spot for beach walks, fishing, swimming, and picnics.

Hobbiton Movie Set Shore Excursion from Tauranga

3. Hobbiton Movie Set Shore Excursion from Tauranga

Depart from the Port of Tauranga, and begin your journey along Pilot Bay towards the wonderful Mount Maunganui beach. Take photos and hear local facts from your guide along the way. Then, travel to The Shire, home of Bilbo Baggins and his friends. Get a meet and greet at the Hobbiton Movie Set by your official guide. Take a guided tour filled with fun facts, insider stories, and many photo opportunities. Next, sit back and enjoy a drink at the Green Dragon Inn.  Return towards Tauranga, and visit a few special spots along the way for breathtaking views over the Matamata-Piako Plains. Visit the local park to appreciate the beauty of its lake, paddocks, mature trees, and the wonderful wildlife that dwells within its boundaries.

From Tauranga: Half-Day Dolphin and Wildlife Cruise

4. From Tauranga: Half-Day Dolphin and Wildlife Cruise

Meet at the Tauranga waterfront jetty and board your vessel. Relax as you leave the city behind and spend the cruise exploring the pristine Bay of Plenty coastline and islands. Watch seasonal seabirds, penguins, seals, whales, sunfish, school fish, sharks, orca, and even turtles. Passenger numbers are limited for comfort and to enable a more personal experience. The large spacious boat is also ideal for families. The Captain and experienced crew will be more than happy to share their marine knowledge with you and will provide fascinating commentary and point out all that they see so you won’t miss a thing. You can also enjoy a drink from the onboard bar as you relax and soak up the sun. Don’t forget your camera as you are able to get up close to wildlife, making it a photographers dream for those once in a lifetime snaps. You will return to Tauranga by 2:00, giving you the rest of the day to explore this beautiful region, the Bay of Plenty, or continue your travels.

From Tauranga: Half Day Swimming with Dolphins Tour

5. From Tauranga: Half Day Swimming with Dolphins Tour

Step aboard a purpose-built dolphin-viewing vessel and embark on a wild encounter with the ocean's most fascinating creatures. After meeting your crew at the dock, set off into the open water to several well-known dolphin spotting locations, all the while maintaining a respectful distance. With a crew filled with experience sea-farers and dolphins-watchers, trust that your experience will be thrilling, informative, and above all, humane to the dolphins.  The sunshine capital of New Zealand, the "Bay of Plenty" is home to diverse and spectacular sea life from majestic dolphins and orca to the beautiful fur seals, penguins and marine birds. As you travel from spot to spot, keep your eyes peeled for the plethora of marine life that call the bay home. With your expert crew, you’ve got a great chance to to find a pod of dolphins with which you can swim—which is, without question, a magical experience.

From Tauranga: Skydive over Mount Maunganui

6. From Tauranga: Skydive over Mount Maunganui

Start your adventure with a flight capturing the breathtaking views of Mount Maunganui and its golden beaches expanding as far as the eye can see. Higher up, you'll be able to see White Island, Mount Ruapehu, the Rotorua Lakes, The Coromandel, and Mount Taranaki. The flight will last 20-25 minutes, so there is plenty of time to take it all in. Once at 12,000 or 15,000 feet in the sky, jump out of the plane on a tandem skydive, falling to the earth at over 200km/hour. After some time to feel the adrenaline as you freefall, enjoy a peaceful parachute ride back to base.

Okere Falls: Zipline over Waterfalls Experience

7. Okere Falls: Zipline over Waterfalls Experience

Are you ready to soar over waterfalls, zoom through pristine native forests, and be enlightened through a hands-on cultural and ecological experience in Okere Falls, Rotorua? If so, then Rotorua Ziplines has you covered. Suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities, a network of ziplines, swing bridges, and boardwalks will have you in awe for 2.5 hours as you fly, walk and gaze at the stunning taiao (Environment) that is Ōkere. Born through an intimate connection with the Ōkere Awa (Kaituna River), this joint venture between Ngāti Hinerangi and Rotorua Rafting’s Ōkere Falls born and bred, Sam Sutton, has been created to showcase its mauri (spirit) and importance with Aotearoa’s soon to be premier zipline experience. End the experience with a tree in your name as the Rotorua Ziplines reforestation project plant it's way towards 60,000 native trees by the end of 2025 to see Ōkere Falls thrive for generations to come.

From Tauranga Port: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour Shore Excursion

8. From Tauranga Port: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour Shore Excursion

Take a trip through Middle Earth on a small-group shore excursion to the Hobbiton Movie Set from Tauranga. Located in the heart of the Waikato region, you can step into the world of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. See the original location which was rebuilt for the latest Hobbit films. This was the original setting for Peter Jackson’s famous trilogy "The Lord of the Rings". Learn about how this location was chosen and how it was constructed, plus which scenes were filmed here. Wander around the vegetable patches were Hobbits grow their food, with giant pumpkins lying around! Walk by the Mill and the famous Party Tree. Indulge in a complimentary beverage from the Hobbit Southfarthing range, which encompasses two traditional ales, an apple cider or non-alcoholic ginger beer, all handcrafted and exclusive to the Hobbiton Movie Set. You also have a delicious range of traditional fayre available for purchase for lunch. Enjoy your food and drink in a comfortable armchair by the roaring fire or in the beer garden, overlooking the enchanting village.

From Tauranga: Rotorua and Maori Village Shore Excursion

9. From Tauranga: Rotorua and Maori Village Shore Excursion

Travel to Rotorua from Tauranga on a shore excursion, discovering the highlights of the area, with snacks and refreshments provided. Begin with a drive to Mount Maunganui and learn about the region from your guide. Step back in time at Te Puia Maori Village, built above geothermal land, which is home to the largest geyser in the southern hemisphere. Learn about original settlers' tales, and visit the Maori Arts and Crafts school operating on the property. Visit the onsite Kiwi enclosure for your chance to see the native Kiwi bird. Head next to Rotorua Lake – the second-largest lake on the North Island. Journey back to Tauranga and visit an established Kiwifruit Orchard with a sampling room and free ice cream.

Tauranga: Hobbiton & Rotorua Geysers Shore Excursion

10. Tauranga: Hobbiton & Rotorua Geysers Shore Excursion

Join a small-group shore excursion from Tauranga to explore North Island's top attractions. Experience geysers, mud pools and steam vents with Maori culture and visit the real Middle-earth at the Hobbiton Movie Set. You will be picked up from Tauranga Port, dependent on your ship's arrival time, and journey to Rotorua. For centuries Whakarewarewa village has been home to the Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao people.This is a unique location with the largest geyser in the southern hemisphere and an official Maori guide will meet you for your visit. Encounter a strange landscape of sights, sounds and smells and marvel at the way the Maori's have tamed this land for their own purpose.  Here you'll get the chance to see the iconic Kiwi bird in a purpose made Kiwi bird enclosure. Admire boiling mud pools, native bush, and the National Schools of Wood Carving and Weaving. Then depart Rotorua and its geothermal wonderland to travel to the second venue of your tour, Hobbiton Movie Set!   Discover the magic on a guided tour with an official guide for an experience to tantalise your senses. Find yourself engulfed in the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of The Shire, at the home of the Hobbits, as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.  After your tour, enjoy a complimentary drink in the Green Dragon (either alcoholic beer or non-alcoholic ginger beer) that is included in your tour.  You will be returned to Tauranga Port, guaranteed to be back in plenty of time for your ship's departure.

Other Sightseeing Options in Tauranga

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What people are saying about Tauranga

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 209 reviews

Our guide Jono was extremely friendly talkative and knowledgeable. I had the experience of my life. Canoeing at night and seeing the glow worms was just amazing. The only disappointing side was I couldn’t photograph anything. So dark. I hope my memory doesn’t go so I remember this amazing experience

Was a great experience. I he crew were awesome and got to see something magical that is a once in a life time thing. Would happily go again to see more wonderful sea creatures

Despite the rain we had a wonderful trip. Our guide Stephen was educational, polite, and helpful. One of our best guides ever. Especially the home made brownies

Highlight of our NZ holiday. Johnny and Nui (hope spelling is ok!) were amazing guides. We had the best time!

Most amazing views, great instructors - relaxed and calm, awesome jump over Tauranga, absolutely loved it