3 hours drive south from Auckland is Tauranga, the largest city in the Bay of Plenty. It has one of the north islands most popular beach towns ‘Mount Maunganui’ just 15 mins from the centre of the city. It’s a great spot to walk on one of the many boardwalks and the surf beach is popular all year round. The Mount, as the locals call it, is where you can stay with your motorhome or camper at the Mt Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park
. It’s a great location to explore the area and if you’re lucky you can get a spot right on the beachfront. Be prepared for early morning exercisers pounding the boardwalks outside your camper!
It definitely worth staying here at least a couple of nights with your Motorhome or camper, there are great hot pools next to the campground and if you’re here in summer there is plenty going on including markets, surf championship, beach volley ball and of course for those less active just a gentle stroll around the base of the mount, perhaps with a creamy gelato in hand.
Travelling away from Tauranga heading south, your nose will tell you when you’re nearing the town of Rotorua. A geothermal wonderland – there’s nowhere else in NZ quite like Rotorua. The Redwood forest hosts some of the countries best mountain biking tracks and there’s nothing like a long day riding and then soaking in one of the many thermal hot pools in the city. My favourite is the Polynesian Spa, which has pools of various temperatures in a lovely outdoor setting, looking across the thermal steaming flatlands. Make sure you do wash your swimming suit out a few times afterwards however! I’ve had to throw away a few in my times here.
Staying a few nights in Rotorua is a must. The maori cultural show ‘Mitai’
is a great way to experience a traditional hungi and you can arrange for them to collect you from your accommodation so no need to worry about moving your motorhome once your settled at the campsite. You will be their guest for the next few hours to view traditional maori dancing, warrior fighting, a huge buffet dinner and a visit to the glow worms. Your host is very entertaining and will have you laughing at his many jokes. After the show you will be taken back to your accommodation.
Just out of town heading south is the geothermal park of Wai-O-Tapu.
If you get here early enough you will see the geyser go off, and then take a relaxing walk around the rest of the park. The most favourite is the champagne pool with it’s steaming blue lake and bright orange edges. It’s very tempting to want to put your foot in – but don’t! The water is extremely hot!
This part of the North Island is a great place to discover beaches, lakes, and forests. It is easy driving these roads with your motorhome. Spending a few nights in both Tauranga and Rotorua won’t disappoint you.
Click here to book some of the great activities in Rotorua