The Bay of Plenty region on New Zealand’s North Island was aptly named by Captain James Cook. It is fertile agricultural country of rolling hills where kiwi and citrus fruits are grown. This is a popular vacation area. The most famous one is Ohope Beach near the town of Whakatane. It stretches for 18 beautiful miles (29 km). The largest urban center in Bay of Plenty is the city of Tauranga. Cross the Harbour Bridge here and you arrive at Mount Maunganui, the site of an ancient Maori pa (fortified village). Here you can enjoy natural hot salt water pools. Thirty-one miles (50 km) offshore is White Island, which is one of the world’s most accessible active volcanoes. The Elms Mission Station House, founded in 1835, is the oldest building in the Bay of Plenty, and is authentically furnished. The Brain-Watkins House, built in 1881, is one of Tauranga’s best examples of a Victorian home. Monmouth Redoubt was a fortified site during the Maori Wars. For a fascinating walking tour, go to the Waikareao Estuary Walkway. Southeast of the city is the magnificent, 70-mile (112 km) long Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park.
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