Having spent quite a bit of time in this area, staying with family, we have discovered a few favourite things to do as a family:
McLaren Falls is a small area with rocks and waterfalls just before the McClaren Park, about a 15 minute drive from Tauranga City Centre. It is a great place to sit in the sun or shade with a picnic, cool down in the rock pools (cold water though!) and watch the local daredevils jump from the bridge and rocks into the water far below.
Lots to do in and around Mt Maunganui. It is an easy walk around the Mount and there are lots of places to climb down and sit at the beach. One particular afternoon we had great fun with a bucket and a net, catching prawns, crabs, sea urchins and the like (we did put them back in the water soon after!), having a good look at them and their natural habitat.
At the end of the high street in Mt Maunganui there is also a fab play park where our kids can spend hours. Bonus is the fish and chips (or fush and chups as they sometimes call it here) at the corner where you can pick up some cheap food when they get hungry.
Unsurprisingly, the beach is also a great place to hang out. Long stretches of sandy beaches on one side of the Mount. On the other, the beach is smaller but often less windy and has great scenery of boats, ships and cruise ships going past.
In the city of Tauranga at the Strand, there is again a great play park and water fountain to play in, overlooking the sea. It even has a little coffee shops that is made out of a shipping container (Boxed Coffee) so you can sit with your coffee and watch the kids, whilst having a stunning scenery in front of you. A real holiday feel for the whole family.
They are everywhere around the area. The busiest one is at the bottom of the Mount at Mt Maunganui, but there are dozens of them around. Nice warm water, the kids love as do the adults.
Lollipops indoor play centre
Great on a rainy day, it is spacious and clean and they serve decent coffee. Oh and they have Wifi if you ask, I am writing this blog post here right now! It is about a 10 minute drive outside the centre. There is a Chipmunks indoor play centre nearer to the centre as well. We haven’t been there admittedly, as we went to a Chipmunks in Whangarei and didn’t like it very much so haven’t bothered here.