The enchanting name of the Bay of Plenty comes from the fact that the Maori living here provided Captain Cook’s crew with provisions and water. Today, visitors find an abundance of natural beauty along this 259-kilometer-long (161-mile-long) and perfectly crescent-shaped stretch of the North Island. In the 1860s European settlements here led to wars with the Maori; many descendants of both groups still live in the region. Dotted with small towns and fine-sand beaches with mountain backdrops, the area today has an economy centered around dairy farms and kiwifruit orchards.

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Bay of Plenty Whale-Watching

The waters surrounding White Island in the Bay of Plenty are popular with both sportfishers and commercial anglers. You’ll see myriad boats plying the waters at various seasons in search of popular catches such as snapper and yellowtail, along with other colorfully named species such as tarakihi or kahawai and hapuku. Likewise, visitors flock to the bay in the hope of spotting dolphins as well as humpback, blue and pilot whales.

Bay of Plenty

Fishing, sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, surfing, sunbathing and more—there’s plenty to do in, well, the Bay of Plenty. Choosing is the challenge: Do you want to discover New Zealand’s only active marine volcano on White Island? Would you prefer to take a dolphin “sea-fari”? How about exploring the wildlife and marine sanctuary on Tuhua (Mayor Island) with a day of hiking and diving? You can even opt for a surfing lesson at Mount Maunganui, a relaxed town with one of the best beaches in New Zealand. One day is not enough!

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