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The East of the North Island

Bay of Plenty coastal region has lovely beaches offering sailing, surfing, swimming, fishing, kayaking and dolphin watching.   White water rafting is available on some of the rivers.  Just inland is a major fruit picking area, particularly for zespri gold (a new variety of kiwifruit) which is a large export crop. 

At Tauranga we have one of the country's  largest ports.  Further east Whakatane is the main coastal town with a sub-tropical climate ideal for swimming and  surfcasting for most of the year.  The white sandy beaches are lined with hundreds of holiday homes. 

Offshore, and readily accessible lies NZ's only continuously active volcano - White  Island. 

Inland you will find Kawerau, an attractive paper mill town, and an hour inland is Rotorua,  a major centre for Maori culture  displays, natural thermal activity, beautiful lakes, bush and forests

    Taupo is situated at the northern end of Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand, formed  by one of the largest volcanic eruptions ever recorded.  The town has much to offer the visitor  including, at times, an unsurpassed view of the three volcanic cones of Mts Ruapehu, Tongariro  and Ngauruhoe across unpredictable waters of the lake.  Many water sports are available although trout fishing is the chief one.  Forest and mountains  for the tramper are within easy reach as is the lakeside for the less energetic. Turangi, at the  southern end of the lake, is also famous for fishing and has a small geothermal area of its  own.  Look for steam rising from the scrub-covered hillsides.

  Further round the coast, the East Coast is the sparsely populated coast between Opotiki and Wairoa with Gisborne being the largest centre.  The East Coast has a charm of its own - Maori settlements dot the coastline, each having its own individuality and attractions and lots of seafood.  Much of the steep rugged hinterland remains largely untouched except for some hardy sheepfarmers - it  is a wilderness park. 

      Towards the south you will find hot springs at Te Puia and Morere and  you may venture to Mahia for fishing, sea food and water sports.  Waikaremoana,  the "Lake of  rippling waters", is fringed with virgin forest alive with many of the native forest birds.  It is  well worthwhile taking time to explore some of the many walks available for both the fit and not so fit.  

Gisborne, a city of 35 000, is isolated from other centres but is steeped in Maori and early European history.  It is proud that it is the first city in the world to greet the new day.  The  Poverty Bay district is one of the three main grape growing areas in New Zealand. 
    The Hawkes Bay awaits the traveller with hot, dry summers and mostly fine clear winters.  In the steep back
country,  sheep farming is the chief occupation, but on the  fertile plains, as well as dairy and fat lamb farming,
are vineyards, orchards and  vegetable gardens.  These supply fruit and vegetable processing plants in
nearby  Hastings, and the district is an important wine producing area.  Many of the farming families  have been
here for generations as evidenced by some of the old homesteads. 

Napier and Hastings are the hub of the northern area.  Both were devastated by an earthquake in  1931 and the resulting rebuilding produced Art Deco buildings of world renown.  In the Bay  there are a number of places of interest to visit, including the
Cape Kidnappers gannet colony.  

Further south at Norsewood and Dannevirke, Scandinavian travellers will find a little bit of  home where Norwegian, Swedish and Danish immigrants settled.


Check out  http://www.tauranga.co.nz/   http://www.greatlaketaupo.com/   http://www.napiercity.co.nz/