Get off your bum, New Zealand... those are not our words, but the AA’s. They’ve come up with a new list of ‘Must-Do’ experiences for the Bay of Plenty, that’s well worth a browse. For background, last year the AA rated the 101 Must-Do Kiwi Experiences around New Zealand, and Mitre Peak in Milford Sound was voted the No. 1 (the Bay of Plenty’s live volcano White Island made it into the top 20).
People’s response to the campaign was so amazing, says the AA, they’re expanding on the Must-Do lists, to create regional ones as well. We urge readers to have a surf through a list of 40 for the Bay of Plenty. Some of these experiences are well known – such as swim with the dolphins, but others are bit more do-it-yourself - such as ‘dig for pipi in the Pacific’ and ‘fish and chips on the beach.’ Naturally, if you are staying in the Western Bay, we urge a surf through our own BoTCom Things to Do pages, beginning with our Top Picks.
Still outdoors, some good news on the popular boardwalk at Mount Maunganui. The council is hatching plans to extend the wooden walkway on Marine Parade, from Pacific Ave to Oceanbeach Road. A committee has been discussing options for the route the boardwalk will take, which is likely to be following the natural contours of the sand dunes - with minimal disruption to the environment.
Out in the hills south of Tauranga, construction of a new adventure playground for the Western Bay is underway. The $8.5 million TECT All Terrain Park is being built in upper Pyes Pa. Some 1600 ha of land, sitting on both sides of Highway 36, was purchased by local councils in 2006. The plan is to develop the park in stages over the next two decades to cater for a range of recreational activities - including mountain biking, rallying, motocross, firearm sports, 4x4, tramping, angling and orienteering. Park Manager Ric Balfour is well into consulting with user groups to ensure their needs are built into a development plan for the park. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or ph 07- 579-6600.
'French Fridays’ at Halo
Halo at The Sebel Trinity Wharf Tauranga, the city’s only 5-star hotel, has gone a bit francophile... with weekly 'French Fridays'. Each Friday from 4pm onwards anyone can enjoy French bubbles for just $7.50 per glass with complimentary canapés, served from 5pm-6pm, with special entertainment from 6pm-8pm. For more details ring 07-577 8704.
Blokart World Champs
Blokart Heaven in Papamoa – home base of the nippy land yachts - has been confirmed as the venue for the inaugural World blokart Championships. They will be held from September 28 to October 4, 2008. An estimated 200 blokarters will be taking part from as far away as the U.K., Europe, U.S., Japan, the Middle East and Australia. On a windy day, karters at this top level will be well worth watching. For more information visit www.blokart.com.
In this month’s Spotlight, Grant Dyson visits White Island – quite possibly the most unique adventure on offer in the Bay of Plenty. Ask yourself, how many live island volcanoes around the world are there, where you can go walkabout inside the crater? Going by boat is hard to beat as these waters have some of the Bay’s best fishing, and there’s a good chance of spotting a dolphin or two, or other marine life. Also in Spotlight, we look at a new gelato (think icecream-think Italian) outlet at Mount Maunganui.
BoTCom brought you details earlier, of the newest addition to the Tauranga dolphin-watching fleet, Dolphin Blue run by Paul and Alison Aitken. The winner of a trip for two aboard their 54 foot launch is Christine from Waihi. Copies of The Best of Tauranga, are on their way to Judy from Tauranga, and Anna from Auckland.
With temperatures sliding as we hurtle through autumn, we have two family passes for the Mount Maunganui Hot Salt Water Pools to give away. A quick reminder that the ‘passive pool’ with jet sprays is heated to a toasty 37.5 degrees, along with the two spa pools. The 18m active pool is heated to 32 degrees, so you can belt out a few lengths without over-heating.
Bay of Plenty Times Home Show
The popular lifestyle event is on at Baypark Stadium. Expect ‘live’ everything say the organisers - live demos, live products, entertainments, and lots of live fun. Entry is only $10 (2 for $10 on Friday), and you can even win a $20,000 kitchen, or a Fijian cruise. To be held on Friday May 2, to Sunday May 4 from 10 am to 5pm. For more information: www.bayevents.co.nz, or Graeme Martin, 576 0513.
SPARC REAL Womens Duathlon 2008
This is part of a series of duathlons for ‘real women.’ The event features a 3.5 km run, 10km bike ride, and 1.5km run. To be held on Sunday May 4, at Ferguson and Kulim Parks from 9am. For more information: www.realduathlon.co.nz, or Sarah Lowell, 09- 303 0193.
Gray Bartlett - 50 years
The ‘guitar man’ has been in the music biz for 50 years, and is hailed by many as this country’s finest guitarist. Guest appearances by some Kiwi country greats such as Brendan Dougan, Patsy Riggir, Jodi Vaughn and Suzanne Lynch. On at Baycourt, Thursday May 8, at 8pm. Adults $65, seniors or a group of ten-plus $60.
My wife and I thought this sign at a local Lollipops Playland in Tauranga was quite indecent, writes a reader. (Source: Sideswipe column, New Zealand Herald)
Hippy dippy, make-love-not-war scooter