10 places to visit within an hour from Tauranga

tahi) Waihi Beach.
You could do one, two or three things suggested here, and in this order.
15259553_656615384520329_8020426862464397102_o.jpg1) The Secret Garden. I’ve visited a couple of times over the past 4 years. I will admit to not being totally enamoured with which really means inspired by the food, drinks or service (but i am a real fuss-pot in this domain). Although i just perused their FB page and the food-porn looks delectable. Looks like i need to go again with my big-gob. The surrounds are to DIE or LIVE for. The Secret Garden transports me to South-East Asia. A haven, somewhere i adored sharing with children. I feel peaceful and truly loved up beneath the green, the sounds of fountains trickling, and my heart escapes to faraway lands. Visit.
0864small (1).jpg2) Orokawa Bay  (a 45 minute walk up over a hill to a secluded beach). One waihi beach website says this: ‘ spectacular panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Waihi Beach, a walk to Orokawa Bay is an experience all visitors remember. Beautiful pohutukawa trees shelter a beach of sparkling white sand offering great fishing, a perfect picnic location, bush walking and surfing opportunities. Swimming in the surf is not advised due to the steep grade of the seafloor. Orokawa Bay is part of a designated scenic reserve and comprises 145 hectares of native bush, including kauri and nikau. Access to Orokawa Bay is by an easy track at the northern end of Waihi Beach, past Oukori Bay then down to Orokawa Bay. This photo from Jane Keam Photography.
3) Waihi Beach Hotel. I haven’t been here yet BUT i have eaten at her sister (from farm to table) bistro under the fairy lights in Britomart, Auckland – Ortolana. Click here for a review from 2014 Viva.

rua) Karangahake Gorge
Falls+Retreat-329.jpg1) Falls Retreat.  For fear of being discovered as a fraud. I haven’t actually been here either (yikes). Yet many fwiends (no that’s not a typo) rave about this place. And if Rachael Stanway (of Sundaise Festival and other such shenanigans) wants to hold an event here, it’s gotta be good for you. I like the sound of pizza and beer and garden. Their website says award winning bistro.
2) Dickey Flat. I’m realising as i write, much of what i’m sharing, is more on my to-do-list, than on my ticked-off-list. Hmmm, does this matter? This is a grandparents favourite. It’s one i supposedly should’ve, could’ve, will-take the kids on at some point. DOC’s website describes it as easy. The only thing i’m not looking forward to is hearing the noise of the cars winding through the Gorge across the river. Humph.
15391266_977181959053279_5798738434291669559_o.jpg3) Sundaise Festival. A piece of relevance. Get your good self, and your bad self if you can still be kind with it, to Sundaise Festival. This happens bi-annually. March 10-12 2017 is the next one – ‘an unforgettable three day celebration of Music, Art and Sustainability in a hidden valley of native bush near Waihi (on the aforementioned Dickey Flat).

whaka-forest-GM-licensed.jpgtoru) The Redwoods – Whakarewarewa Forest.
Take the kids and the bikes for some adventure, or leave everything and everyone behind and take yourself for a walk or run. There are biketracks (graded) for everyone, kids (inner core kids track – grade 1), beginners, thrill seekers. You may be interested to know about the Rotorua Off Road 1/2 Marathon (and other distances) on Sunday 5 March 2017.

b3298f88fc3a1994e374cb4ff315ed97wha) Hamurana Springs. 
Rotorua Travel Secrets dot com says this about these emerald springs: Hamurana Springs is a wonderful place to perk yourself up with a non-strenuous short walk (½hr tops) in a tranquil setting…And the water! Crystal clear but laced with shades of turquoise, jade and emerald, it looks so inviting it’s hard to resist throwing your clothes off and diving right in. Visit yourself then tell me if I’m wrong.’ Who will just do that?

rima) Te Waihou Walkway / Blue Springs (Putaruru). te-waihou-walkway-the-blue-spring-putaruru-nz-clwmqg
Click here for all the ins and outs of how long the walk is, and where to leave from, depending on how long you want it to take. This website also mentions Putaruru’s ‘Over the Moon’ Fromagerie (i mean Dairy Company) where you can buy and taste their award winning cheeses. Well worth visiting here before the walk, to ramp up your afternoon’s picnic.

ono) Wairere Falls.wairere-falls-matamata-new-zealand
Thanks for this detailed description Hamilton & Waikato New Zealand: ‘The return hike to the viewing platform at the base of the Wairere falls takes about an hour and a half. It is an attractive walk along a well maintained track. Small wooden bridges take you across the stream at several points, affording lovely views of little cascades and providing opportunities to cool tired feet in the refreshing water.The sight from the viewing platform is spectacular – water plunges 153 metres over the falls, before forming little streamlets that flow through moss covered rocks and ferns. From here, the more intrepid can trek a further 30 – 45 minutes to another lookout at the top of the falls, from where there is a breath-taking view back over the valley and the Waikato plains beyond. It is about two hours from the base of the falls to this further lookout, so getting there and returning to your car will make this a rewarding full day hike.
There’s plenty of walks to do in Te Aroha (massive), something for all fitness or motivation levels. Click here for a list from DOC. And why not get some thermal love while you’re at it, by visiting the Te Aroha Mineral Spas (for something perhaps more upmarket or private or Te Aroha Leisure Pools for a public larger pool, and toddler pool.

14876586_1230359153702248_938313420614923874_o.jpgwhetu) Julian’s Berry Farm and Cafe – Whakatane.
Open 8am – 5.30pm daily from September 27th 2016 to the end of February, you can enjoy delicious freshly-picked, frozen and pick-your-own berries, along with a range other local produce. Relax with a cup of coffee and fresh berry baking in the beautiful, sheltered child-friendly café overlooking the berry fields. Children love our berry ice creams – which are world famous in Whakatane – and have a ball at the animal farm, playground, and the new mini golf course opened last year.
There’s a heap of PYO berry farms in the Bay of Plenty. My favourite spot is Somerfields in November and December, up the top of Oropi. Don’t tell anyone, but i love to take a wee picnic. They have raspberries, which can be picked into January and blueberries. Then there’s the adorable Redwood Lane Blueberries down the bottom on Tauriko. And a couple of fragrant Boysenberry Farms on Bell Road, Te Puke namely Iona Boysenberry Orchard.

dsc_1871waru) Looking Glass Garden
Open 10am-4pm 7 days in the hills of Te Puke. Last time we visited it was cash only (no eft-pos). Adults $5. Kids $2.50. According to their website it still is. I wouldn’t take a push-chair (there are a few outdoor staircases). Front pack, back pack and many snacks and drinks to re-fuel the kidlets, if the roosters don’t. Dreamland of a place. Here’s a post i wrote about it, some time ago.

kaiate-falls-1-kaiate-falls-15043258iwa) Kaiate Falls 
Te Rerekawau Falls, also known as Kaiate Falls, is a complex of two waterfalls located just 30 minutes’ drive away from Tauranga. The upper waterfall is a classic 3-leaps multi-step falls, and the second one is a typical horsetail falls. For directions look here.
Whilst searching for some goss on these falls, i came across this PDF list of walks in the Bay of Plenty, thought it may be helpful to share…

tekau) …
I’ve run out of puff and it’s past closing eyes, deep breathing slash the onset of snoring, spiced up with slight dribbling, time.
AND also i wanna know what you’d add to this bucket list of sorts.
Your tekau is?

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