Many years ago, Tauranga people trekked up local river valleys to find flat stones. They scratched words on them using sharp flakes of black obsidian, the volcanic rock gathered from Mayor Island. These rock tablets were eagerly swapped between writers, in the earliest recorded evidence of a book club. Nowadays, you don’t need to tramp off gathering rocks for a good read, with all the book shops around Tauranga. Catch up on the book store scene in Spotlight.
Get set to break out of your dining comfort zone for something just a little daring...with the return of the Monteith’s Beer & Wild Food Challenge. Spotlight has mouth-watering details, including the local restaurants taking part. It kicks off in Tauranga on Sunday July 13.
We also have what the judges say about our local winner of the Best Cafe Awards, Cafe Botannix. One of the city’s newest cafes, Botannix is part of Palmers Garden Centre at Bethlehem. Runner-up was Café Mediterraneo in downtown Tauranga.
Also in Spotlight, Sebel Trinity Wharf on the waterfront has launched a 100-Mile Menu. This stunning menu features dishes that are all sourced within a 100-mile radius of hotel.
Local Park’s Naked Ambition
Two local holiday parks, including one where clothes are optional, have been named as finalists in the Tourism Industry Awards. Katikati Naturist Park is a finalist in the Visitor Accommodation section, along with Waihi Beach Top 10 Holiday Park. Whakatane-based White Island Tours, which runs trips out to live volcano White Island, is also a finalist in the Visitor Activities section. Winners be announced on August 5.
Like It? Rank it!
A new website gives visitors the chance to rate activities they’ve tried all over New Zealand. Rankers.co.nz gives people the opportunity to rank and review their tourism experiences, and many Bay of Plenty activities have already been ranked. The site allows you to explore the feedback by categories – using words like 'sea kayaking' or 'boat cruises,' or you can search by region. Lots of local ventures are ranked on the site. Butler’s Swim with Dolphins was rated 9/10: ‘a great day out on the water. Very personal, friendly service. Butler is a real character and very entertaining. Great boat with lots of charm. A very natural experience. The swim bar was great for seeing the dolphins and the water wasn't too cold.’
Art for Kids...
Tauranga Art Gallery is hosting art workshops for kids in the July school holidays. The practical art workshops target a variety of age groups. The workshops are related to current exhibitions at the Gallery, using them as ‘the motivation’ for mixed media art work, including drawing, painting and construction techniques for older children. There are modest $10 charges to cover the cost of materials. Bookings are essential, and numbers limited. The first workshop for 7 to 10 year-olds is on July 8. For details: www.artgallery.org.nz The gallery also offers art workshops throughout the term for different age groups.
Art for Grownups...
Catch Surrealist Odyssey at the Art Gallery, the art of a local painter, considered one of New Zealand’s earliest surrealist visual artists. Bullmore taught to support his art career. His first teaching post was at Tauranga Boys' College in the late ‘50s, during which time he held his first solo exhibition as guest artist of the Tauranga Art Society. Many of these works remained in local collections, and are included in Surrealist Odyssey.
Easier Air Travel
An improved service for air travellers on the Tauranga to Auckland route has begun, with a 50 seat Bombardier Q300 replacing the 19-seat aircraft. Additional flights have also been scheduled, providing nine flights a day between Tauranga and Auckland.
Paper Plus Tauranga (formerly Take Note) in Grey Street provided a voucher that goes to Sue in Tauranga. Two Best of Tauranga guide books will go to Bas in Holland and Mariolina in Italy.
Want to go shopping? We're giving away a $50 voucher, which the lucky winner can use anywhere in the Greerton Village Shopping Centre. We'll also be giving away 2 Best of Tauranga guide books.
July is all about visiting hot rock acts and mid winter balls, with a bit of art thrown in for good measure.
Tauranga Society of Artists Annual Exhibition
A reminder to check out the work of local artists... at a free exhibition that runs all month. The annual event features art, wood work, and more. On at Baycourt Exhibition Hall from 1 July to I August, 9am to 4 pm
Elemeno P, Mt Maunganui
Attention rock fans... Elemeno P are back on their first headline tour in two years. They’ve been called NZ’s biggest selling rock band with sales of 60,000 records and 10 hit singles. On at Brewers Bar, 107 Newton Road, Mount Maunganui on Saturday, 5 July. Tickets from Ticketek, Brewers Bar and Tracs record store in Devonport Road,Tauranga. Cost: adults $30.
Monteith’s Beer & Wild Food Challenge
Local restaurants compete to serve up wild food (anything not farmed!) matched with Monteiths beers. The Challenge kicks off in Tauranga on Sunday July 13 and finishes on Sunday August 3. Eight restaurants are taking part.
Mid Winter Masquerade Ball
The masked ball caters for young people aged 16-24, including colleges, training academies & tertiary institutes. It will feature SPACIFIX and DJs, and is strictly alcohol, drug, and smoke free. Ball goers are encouraged to wear a mask. On at Tauranga Racecourse Saturday 5 July. Tickets on sale at Creative Tauranga. For more info, visit www.taurangachristmas.co.nz
Wild and Woolly Tour 2008
The Checks, The Electric Confectionaires and Dukes – billed as three of NZ’s most exciting live acts, have joined forces for the nationwide tour that will ‘banish any winter blues.’ On at the Colosseum at 17 Harington St, Friday 18 July.
Big Energy in a Can Tour - Opshop and Goldenhorse
Big on the Kiwi music charts, Opshop have had amazing success since bursting onto the music scene with their platinum debut album ‘You Are Here.’ Goldenhorse is also one of NZ’s top award-winning and multi platinum selling bands. Each venue will have a Telecom Drop Zone for canned food donations which will go to Salvation Army food banks. On at Holy Trinity Church, 215 Devonport Road Tauranga, Saturday 19 July.
Mid Winter Ball and Charity Auction
For the second year running, the Ruel Foundation is holding its fantastic Midwinter Ball. Enjoy a glass of sparkling champagne and waltzing to the Bay String Quartet. Then, as you feast on the canapés, join the bidding war in the fundraising auction. The Mermaids Dance Band then entertains. On at Mills Reef Winery, Saturday 19 July. Tickets are limited, on sale from Ticket Direct.
Subliminal message about ‘straight backs?’