Greetings from BoTCom, in a summer that seems gripped by shark fever. For swimmers, surfers and other ocean-going folk, here’s a few reassuring facts.
In New Zealand most shark attacks have been off Dunedin beaches, including three of the 10 fatals. Great whites patrol that area for seals.
New Zealand's last fatal shark attack was in the Bay of Plenty, at Te Kaha on the East Cape – but way back in 1976. An unfortunate spear fisherman had been carrying dead fish and was bitten as the shark, probably a bronze whaler, attempted to seize his catch (As a long-time surfer at Mount Maunganui, you have far more to fear from stepping on a big stingray! - Ed).
We all know the Western Bay has plenty white-knuckle adventures, but adventure hereabouts comes in some pretty laid-back and languid packages. Waimarino’s new freedom kayak tours are a great example.
You’re issued with all the gear, including a GPS, and taken to a launch spot of your choosing on the harbour. After a safety briefing, you paddle off...wherever the mood, winds and tides take you. When you eventually come ashore, you phone the Waimarino team to come and pick you up. What could be more appealing? We have details of Waimarino’s Freedom Sea Kayak Tours in Spotlight.
Also in Spotlight we hit the food and shopping scene at ‘Downtown the Mount,’ with details of some changes. Long-time local favourite Taste of Asia has moved into bigger, better premises, and changed its name. And we profile Kiwiana – the place for very genuine Kiwi souvenirs that aren’t made in China.
We also have details of changes at Longridge Fun Park that’s been given a makeover by its new owners, and re-named Spring Loaded Fun Park. The park is adding chopper rides to the mix of activities.
Hitting the Road? We’ve extended our online bookings from accommodation to campervans. We’ve hooked up with Discovery Motorhomes New Zealand, a company that specialises in organising vehicle rentals, to provide for online bookings.
Look for the Discovery logo throughout bestoftauranga.com. Click on it to choose from a variety of top-name campervans, including Britz, Kea and Maui - all safe, well-established campervan companies.
The Discovery site has lots of information, from insurance details to itineraries. It allows you to compare the layout of the different vans and their prices. Use the website to get a quote from operators, noting that with some, like Britz and Maui, the longer you travel the cheaper the hire rates become.
A $40 voucher to use on some tasty footwear or apparel from Hikoi, the outdoor store at Mount Maunganui, goes to Alison from Tauranga.
We also have two $18 driving range vouchers for Global Golf at Mount Maunganui, going to Charmaine in Tauranga and Cornelis in Welcome Bay. This is the Bay’s latest indoor pursuit, where you can also play a ‘virtual’ round of golf on a famous course.
Your chance to grab a piece of Kiwi culture with a $50 voucher from Kiwiana at Mount Maunganui. It’s all here - from famous buzzy bees and greenstone pendants, to keyrings and wooden handicrafts. We also have two vouchers for Renner Park Golf Course – the Western Bay’s only 9-hole public course, set in the rolling hills of Oropi.
Nick Takes Over the Beach
Surfing's young hot shots (and terrific prizes)! It's the Billabong NZ Grom Surf Series and the Billabong Girls Get Out There Surf Tour, on one big day, Saturday 31 January, Mount Maunganui. International TV channel Nickelodeon will also be there for a free day of fun for the kids. There'll be a tsunami of Nick-tivities...including a massive inflatable, games and give-aways, and you can meet Nick channel's SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick and Dora the Explorer. Ride the mechanical surfboard and be in to win a Billabong surf kit including surf board, wet suit, and lesson with a Billabong Surf Pro. Venue: Tay Street Reserve, 11 am to 2 pm. Free entry. Bring boardies, sunscreen. Check out the website here
Waitangi Day Community Festival 09
Free community concert to celebrate Waitangi Day with local musicians, performers, arts & crafts, food stalls, taa Moko demonstrations, kapa haka and more. Featuring Luke Thompson band, The Mellow Drops, Regan Perry, Ngati Ranginui Kapahaka, Kerry LeLivere, Left Hand Break, and many more. Bring a picnic...also food for sale. This is a drug, alcohol and smoke free event. Venue Whareroa reserve, Taiaho Place (Off Hewlett's Road) Mt Maunganui, Friday 6 Feb, 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Contact: Gavin Smith tel 575 3765, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lion Foundation Surf League
Ocean athletes do battle! The Lion Foundation Surf League is a major surf lifesaving event that showcases the best surf life savers in NZ going head to head for their districts. One of the most watched TV events in the country. Venue: Main Beach Mount Maunganui, Sat & Sun, Feb 7 and 8, 8 am to 4 pm. Contact: Maree Kelly, SLSA, 572 2390.
Marchwood Blues Picnic
'New Zealand's biggest little Festival of Blues music.' The 2009 festival is going to be bigger and better than ever with some of Australia and New Zealand's greatest blues performers including: Dutch Tilders, Phil Manning, Jan Preston, Doc Span, Mike Garner, The Self-Righteous Brothers, Peter Archer and Chris Smart. Venue: Marchwood Farm, Youngson's Road, Omokoroa, north of Tauranga, Sat 7 Feb, 1 pm to 8 pm. Tickets at Baycourt Ticket Direct, $25 per person, children under 15 free.
Elms Twlight Concert
Evening concert in the beautiful grounds of Tauranga's most historic place - The Elms mission house - featuring Vocal Edge. Venue: The Elms Mission House, Mission Street Tauranga, Sun Feb 15, or rain date 22 Feb. Concert 6-8 pm, gates open at 4.30 pm. Contact Patricia Cooper for further information phone 577 0980.
Kapa Haka Festival 2009
The National Kapa Haka Festival is the world's largest celebration of Maori performing arts. This four-day event attracts more than 30,000 audience members from around the country. In the splendid environment of Baypark Stadium in Tauranga the action of the competition goes hand in hand with a large area of stalls and exhibitions. Venue: Baypark Stadium Te Maunga, Thurs 19 - Sun 22 Feb, 4 pm to 10 pm, tel 5777 188 or 0800- 484 2538. Tickets on sale through Ticketdirect or 0800 4TICKET.
It’s that time of the year...back to the grindstone
How to sell food to beachgoers....