The Bay of Plenty is a crescent-shaped bay on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island. It stretches from the Coromandel Peninsula in the west to Cape Runaway in the east. It was named by the explorer James Cook in October 1769 and translates as 'Bay of Plenty'. The Bay's climate is ideal for growing kiwis, avocados, citrus and the popular and rare feijoas. James Cook noticed on his arrival that the Maori tribes of the Bay of Plenty were well supplied with food - hence his choice of name.
Bay of Plenty
With its beautiful coastline and fruit growing, the Bay is as popular with beach-goers as it is with young Work&Holidayers who find seasonal work on the many fruit plantations.
The most famous islands in the bay are Mayor Island, Motiti Island, Whale Island and White Island - New Zealand's only active volcanic island. White Island, or "Te Puia o Whakaari" in Maori, can be reached by boat or helicopter from the mainland. Before entering the island, visitors must be equipped with sturdy shoes, a helmet and a breathing mask. Walking around the island is like exploring the surface of the moon or Mars. Brilliant colours, boiling mud holes and sulphur crystals provide unique photographic opportunities. The island's coastal waters, such as Tuhua near Mayor Island, offer a special adventure for divers.
From fishing to surfing and kayaking, the Bay of Plenty offers fun for beginners and experts alike.
The Bay of Plenty is the home of the kiwi fruit. Te Puke, 28 kilometres southeast of Tauranga, is surrounded by plantations and packing houses. The nine-day Kiwi Festival is one of the region's highlights and is held every year at the end of February. Visitors to Te Puke should make time for the Te Puke Heritage Walkway, where many traditional Maori carvings can be seen.
The Bay of Plenty and especially the town of Whakatane is considered one of the first Maori settlements in New Zealand. The mouth of the Whakatane River was one of the first landing places. Between 1340 and 1375 Polynesians from the Matatua tribe are said to have landed and settled here in a large fleet from Hawaiki.
Today Whakatane is the starting point for trips to White Island (Whakaari) and tours around the East Cape. In the past, the town lived from fishing, but now the main industries are big game fishing and tourism.