Top Choice Museum in Rotorua

Rotorua Museum

This outstanding museum occupies a grand Tudor-style edifice. A 20-minute film on the history of Rotorua, including the Tarawera eruption, runs every 20 minutes from 9am. The Don Stafford Wing, dedicated to Rotorua'…
Top Choice Gallery in Tauranga

Tauranga Art Gallery

The Tauranga Art Gallery presents historic and contemporary art, and houses a permanent collection along with frequently changing local and visiting exhibitions. The building itself is a former bank, although you’d …
Top Choice Museum in Whakatane

Whakatane District Museum

This impressive museum-gallery in the library building has artfully presented displays on early Māori and European settlement in the area: Māori taonga (treasures) trace a lineage back to the Mataatua canoe. Other d…
Top Choice Mountain in Mt Maunganui


Explore Mauao (Mt Maunganui) itself on the walking trails winding around it and leading up to the summit. The steep summit walk takes about an hour return (with a rest at the top!). You can also clamber around the r…
Geyser in Rotorua

Te Puia

This thermal reserve is 3km south of the city centre, and features more than 500 springs. The most famous is Pohutu (‘Big Splash’ or ‘Explosion’), a geyser which erupts up to 20 times a day, spurting hot water up to…
Historic Building in Tauranga

Elms Mission House

Built in 1847, Elms Mission House is the oldest building in the Bay of Plenty. Furnished in period style, it sits among other well-preserved mission buildings in leafy gardens.
Historic Building in Tauranga

Brain Watkins House

A demure Victorian villa stranded on a hill as the roads around it grew, Brain Watkins House (no, not Brian) was built in 1881 from kauri (wood) and remains one of Tauranga’s best-preserved colonial homes.
Archaeological Site in Tauranga

Monmouth Redoubt

Shaded by huge pohutukawa trees, spooky Monmouth Redoubt was a fortified site during the Māori Wars. Next door is Robbins Park. At the foot of the Redoubt, on the end of the Strand, is Te Awa nui Waka, a replica Māo…
Observatory in Whakatane

Whakatane Observatory

Up on a hill top behind the town, Whakatane Observatory offers plentiful Bay of Plenty star-spotting when the sky is clear.
Historic Building in Rotorua

Blue Baths

The gorgeous Spanish Mission–style Blue Baths opened in 1933 (and, amazingly, were closed from 1982 to 1999). If you feel like taking a dip, the heated pool awaits.