Welcome back to BoTCom as another year cracks along. It’s been a sizzling summer, and not just according to all the locals saying things like ‘it’s been a hot summer just like we used to get!’ It's officially the best holiday weather in years with temperatures in the Bay topping 30-plus. The weather experts say the long, hot, sunny days have been due to a series of anticyclones that normally don't appear until February.
Spotlight has details on new hovercraft joyrides on the harbour – just a taste of what’s to come when a full-blown (sorry) hovercraft service kicks off! Hovercraft Tours is part of Adventure Aviation, a specialist aviation company that lays on a full range of flight experiences. For more information: Hovercraft Tours Tauranga, phone 574-3737 or freephone: 0800-737-700. Website : www.bayhovercraft.co.nz
Also in Spotlight, we visit Aloha Lili’s at Mount Maunganui, and report back our findings. Lilli’s is a top spot for a cocktail at the base of our regional landmark, the dormant volcanic peak of Mauao.
It’s a little bizarre perhaps, a little like train-spotting... Cruise Ship Spotting is in full swing, now that summer is cranking. Tauranga has lots of folk who turn out when a huge liner is docking or departing. People line the waterfront for a close look at the luxury floating cities. It’s a busy time for cruise liners with another seven in February.
Ship spotters who want to know arrival and departures times - visit the Port of Tauranga’s website. Go to www.portoftauranga.co.nz and click on the ‘Cruise Ships’ link.
Coming up soon, BoTCom will have new pages profiling the Western Bay’s top 10 beaches - with a rundown on what each has to offer. Choose the beach to match your mood, from the densely peopled Kiwi Copacabana of Main Beach at Mount Maunganui, to the bushy serenity of Anzac Bay at Bowentown. Don’t like our choices? Send us yours plus a photo and we’ll publish them in our newsletter (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In time for the most settled weather of summer, we’ve also updated our Cruises Charters and Fishing pages – adding newbies such as Sunfish Charters Limited. Sunfish 1 is a gleaming white 12 metre sport fisher does it all – from sightseeing to sport fishing and serious big game safaris – with plenty of home comforts on board. Call Mike on 021-047 6758 or visit their website www.sunfish.co.nz
On the accommodation scene, Ridge Country Retreat is about to begin construction on an additional six units plus a new conference room and hot mineral pools. The new addition is expected to be complete by June this year. RCR is a luxury retreat tucked into 35 acres of native bush high in the Papamoa hills. Run by Penny Oxnam and Joanne O'Keeffe, last year the lodge won the ‘Best Retreat Centre’ category of the NZ Corporate People’s Choice Awards. For more information visit www.rcr.co.nz.
Matahui Lodge has just been reassessed as a five-star Qualmark rated Guest and Hosted accommodation. The Katikati lodge offers three luxurious rooms with stunning harbour, vineyard, and orchard views. Visit www.matahui-lodge.co.nz.
A reminder... the Tauranga Art Gallery has now been open for nearly three months, and its featured art and exhibitions change regularly. The gallery is ideally situated right across the road from the new Tauranga i-SITE – easily spotted by visitors to the region. The gallery is open from 10am to 4.30pm daily.
We’ve done the prize draw and a $100 Adventure Aviation flight voucher will soon be on its way to Jemma. The Rohde family of Tauranga will receive entry tickets for a family of 4 to Classic Flyers Aviation Museum and Tauranga Military Collection.
Rachel has scooped up four tickets for the popular outdoor concert at Mills Reef ‘Stars Under the Stars’ (January 27th). The tickets were kindly donated by promoter Craig Wilson.
Things don’t get much more thrilling than this, but you need nerves of steel...a trial aerobatics flight courtesy of Adventure Aviation valued at $110. And to help you keep cool we have two family passes to Baywave, Mount Maunganui’s aquatic and leisure centre.