Best of Tauranga Newsletter - November 2009

Greetings from the Best of Tauranga team.
It’s ugly and dangerous...the festive season I mean, bearing down on us like a rabid rhino.
Brace yourself for hot-day-road-rage, the relentless horror of Xmas music in store and on radio, the annual, slightly manic hunt for those thoughtful, caring Christmas presents we’re all bound to try and find. Get set to pack on the calories as you attend those appalling office parties. Remember with a nasty little start, you forgot to book the cat into the cattery for Christmas.  And that’s just the start of December.

But the Tweeting, Facebooking, fecking strange world we live in, there are still good things happening. Here at BoTCom, we specialise in pointing you to some of good stuff happening round the Western Bay – things to do in the great outdoors, and around the town. Where to eat, drink, & stay. 

In Spotlight, we focus on a new adventure activity – the Blob. It’s a sort of bungie in reverse, that hurls a human from just above water level in ‘human catapult’ fashion. Blair Anderson at Waimarino, in the great tradition of Kiwi DIY, designed and manufactured his own blob.

We also focus on a breakthrough for visitors who want to stay on Mayor Island (Tuhua), and explore the ancient volcano known for its birdlife and black volcanic obsidian. There hasn’t been reliable lodgings on the island since the long gone days of the Game Fishing Club.

We’ve never had it so good for wine buying in downtown Tauranga, with the launch of the city’s first (at least in the past 3 decades) specialty wine shop. We profile Karen (Karo) Gambitsis at  Gambino’s - a don’t miss for intelligent wine-buying.

And we call in to size up the Quarry Tavern at Te Puna after its big facelift. No need for any dirt-digging, we much liked what we found, and report in Spotlight.
Eat, Drink, Shop ...
At Rain Bar, Papamoa... Order an entree, main and dessert, presenting a voucher from their website – and get a free draught beer. The offer ends on December 10. 

Summer BBQ Buffet Lunches by the water... Every Friday Halo Lounge & Dining – at Sebel Trinity Wharf Hotel. Round up family & friends for this summery interlude on the sunny decks of the Sebel, overlooking  Tauranga Harbour.  All the Kiwi favourites on offer - steak, sausages, fish, chicken, an array of salads and a refreshing fruit platters...for only $16 per person. More details: tel 577 8704

Mount Maunganui eateries snapped up top honours in Food Bay of Plenty’s ‘Plenty of Flavour’ competition. The three winners of the contest that ran for six weeks during September and October, were Two Small Fish (fine dining), Tay Street Beach Café (casual dining) and Mount Bistro(consumer’s choice). Competition ambassador and Deli on Devonport owner Peter Blakeway says increasingly,  people want to know where their food is coming from, and this competition has raised the profile of the quality food and beverages produced right here in the Bay.

A Great Kiwi Sausage - and you can get it in Greerton! A local butcher has been recognised for his black pudding in The Great New Zealand Sausage Competition. David Pinkerton of  Greerton Quality Meats won a bronze medal for his black pudding.  It’s a family recipe passed down from his grandmother but comes down to quality ingredients which he says makes a quality product. David Pinkerton says customers are after good product at a reasonable price.

Buy local when it comes to Christmas gifts...such as long-burning and individually handcrafted candles from Flicker Candle Emporium. They sell New Zealand made Candles , in a choice of colours and fragrances. To go with the candles, you can also buy accessories, such as candle plates, hurricanes, holders, burners and scented melts, snuffers and even funky matches. Flicker is in the Goddard Centre, or visit

Big thanks to all the people – locals and visitors alike – who’ve snapped up thousands of our Tauranga (Bay of Plenty) 2010 Calendar. We’re somewhat humbled by your great response to our ‘buy local’ campaign. If you’re short of a well-priced, useful Christmas present, you’ll find it at good book stores, New World Supermarkets, Paper Plus Stores, etc. For more information click here.     

Want to see a friendly artist at work in his studio? Bryce Brown is a full-time artist who paints from his home studio in Judea. Bryce's paintings are said to have ‘the boldness of the Modernists, the grace of the Masters, and exude a true sense of the classic New Zealander.’  He has a good stock of ‘past and present’ paintings at his Tauranga studio in Oak Lane (opposite Carters), and often has visitors passing through to browse. BB paintings are in private collections in New Zealand, the UK, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, etc. Bryce has a great website with lots of info and photos of his new works, well worth a browse:

Support a local artist, Debbie Tipuna, who’s often illustrated local writers’ books. She’s a finalist in the Bay of Plenty region for this year’s Yellow Art Awards competition.  The winning art work will be on the cover of next year’s White pages. Visit to vote for Debbie. There’s something in it for you too, because everyone who votes will go into the draw to win a seat at the charity auction where the artworks will be sold after the competition. Plus, you’ll get $500 to bid with that night. 

Jan from Tauranga
has picked up one of our biggest ever prizes, a double pass to the terrific  Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours in the Waikato. They’re off to see one of the main locations for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, where scenes for The Hobbit will also be filmed.    

Three Tauranga (Bay of Plenty) 2010 Calendars are on their way to Amy, David and Maya.  

New Prizes
Five lucky couples are off to the Mills Reef Stars Under the Stars Concert, Sunday 31 January, 2010.  The headline act is lead singer of the internationally famous ‘Little River Band’, Glenn Shorrock. 

And for overseas readers only (sorry Tauranga locals) 3 Tauranga 2010 Calendars.

Don’t Miss...
Check out the Christmas lights! Central Baptist Church, Cnr of Cameron Road and 13th Avenue. The Church also has programmes from Thursday December 17, including Christmas Carols Sunday, December 20.

National Jandal Day
Help lifeguards keep the beaches safe! Wear your jandals on December 4th and make a donation to a Surf Life Saving collector. All funds raised from this national appeal are distributed to the area where the money was collected.  More information:
Tinman Triathlon
One of the country's longest-running, most prestigious. Tinman is a terrific event for spectators too. Individuals and teams compete – swim, cycle, and run - over sprint and standard distances. The Tinman is a lead-in for athletes competing in the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman, and also a chance for triathletes to test their fitness for the major events of summer. Venue: Pilot Bay, Mount Maunganui, December 6, 8 am to 12 pm. More information: 

TrustPower Christmas Festival and Santa Parade
A day of family entertainment with street entertainers, activities for children, bands, and a parade of floats. Venue: Phoenix Car Park, Downtown Mount, Sunday, December 6, 11 am to 5 pm. More information: tel 575 9911.

Gartshore's Tauranga Wine and Food Festival
Reminder on the annual festival that showcases local wine, food and entertainment.  Venue: Wharepai Domain, Sunday December 6, 12 pm to 6 pm. Venue:  Wharepai Domain, tickets $25 from Baycourt TicketDirect, Baycourt Theatre, 38 Durham St.

Christmas at the Races
Celebrate in a unique, memorable way at Tauranga Racecourse.  Free children’s entertainment throughout the day, and live music. The day includes ‘The World's Largest Office Christmas Party’ is $80 per person.  Venue: Tauranga Racecourse, Cameron Road, December 11, 12 pm to 6 pm.  

Eco Baby & Kids Christmas Market
Eco-conscious products & gifts for little people. More than 25 stalls selling pre-loved, hand-made and new, including wooden toys, cloth nappies soft toys, supadoh, handmade maternity wear, etc.
Kid's play area, competitions, colouring table, food and drink. Great market for all the family, and to buy some unique, green Christmas presents. QE2 Stadium, Saturday December 12, 10 am to 12 pm, admission free.

The Black Seeds New Year’s Eve Party
An 11 hour long New Years Eve Party featuring The Black Seeds supported by ‘DJ Dust’ from South America and local band Sonic Gigolo. Venue: Papamoa Tavern Garden Bar, 20 Domain Road, Papamoa, 2 pm to 1 am, December 31st. Tickets R18, pre-sales at $68.

Surfbreaker Triathlon
750m swim, 16k bike and 5k run. Venue: Main Beach, Mount Maunganui, Monday December 28, 8 am to 11 am. More information: Tel Sheryl McLay 574 7594


Lawbreakers –  showing no remorse

Posted: Sun 01 Nov 2009






Things to Do

Hot Pools



Where to Eat



Top Picks

© - Privacy Policy - Contact Us