G’day and kia ora from Best of Tauranga.
Here at BoTCom we love to ferret out (or stumble on) new and interesting places and pursuits. Our latest find, about an hour from Tauranga, must rate as one of the Bay of Plenty-Waikato region’s most unique tourist attractions – Hobbiton, the movie set near Matamata. Excitement is mounting there, as it will be used as a location for the new Peter Jackson film, The Hobbit. Hobbiton was used in filming the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s now coming up to its 7th anniversary as a local (and internationally known) LOTR tourist attraction. We went to check out the Shire, and discovered it’s not just for obsessive LOTR fans the locals call ‘hardcore ringers.’ Our Hobbit findings are in Spotlight.
Greerton Village, southern gateway to Tauranga, is a very pleasant place to be these days, with its well tended flower beds and big, leafy green trees. It’s also home to a surprising variety of eateries these days, from takeaway Turkish to Tauranga’s first French creperie, Le Chat Noir. And in keeping with the village concept, Greer’s gastro pub is well on the way to its aim of becoming the ‘ultimate village pub.’ Our reviews are also in Spotlight.
At Tauranga Art Gallery, ships and sea captains are topics of the moment. In Spotlight, we look at the latest exhibitions – including a very different look at Captain Cook, The Captain. The exhibition draws on historical and contemporary art, plus images of Cook in educational resources, stamps, coins and even Kiwiana.
Good Reads – Camping and Nosh
If you’re looking for a Christmas present with a local flavor… Narratives with Nosh is a mix of stories, poems and recipes compiled and edited by Margaret Beverland and published by Tauranga Writers. The book aims to generate income to assist young Bay of Plenty writers as they learn the tools, techniques and tactics of the writer’s craft. Tauranga Writers PR Jenny Argante says you can read a poem or a story while you stir your Biltong Potje, collect the ingredients for Whore’s Spaghetti or wait for your Liqueur Ice Cream to set. Enjoy! For details on how to buy the book, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Tauranga Writers, PO Box 13 533, Central Tauranga 3141.
Sometimes we don’t know how good we’ve got it... A new guide to the best campsites in New Zealand – Let’s Go Camping – features McLaren Falls Park in the lower Kaimais. It’s one of ‘66 great places to pitch your tent or park your van (and what to do when you get there).’ It took Sarah Bennett and Lee Slater 20,000 kilometres and six month's solid work to knock off this guide. Sarah Benett is the author of Best of Wellington, sister publication to the Best of Tauranga guide this website was based on. Sarah Bennett is a snappy writer and astute reviewer and observer. We highly recommend this to you as you sally forth into summer. (Random House NZ, $39.99)
Campervans, Mobile Homes...
Fortunately, the official welcome mat has stayed out for you folks who roll up to the Western Bay in your campervans and mobile homes – and want to stay a night or two. The council has reviewed its policies on mobile homes in public places, and decided to stick with them. The rules allow overnight stays (no more than two nights in a row) at 5 sites; Memorial Park, Greerton Park, Fergusson Park, Marine Park at Sulphur Point, and Waikareao Foreshore Reserve. This free camping is banned on Marine Parade at Mount Maunganui!
The Bay of Plenty has many terrific places to explore in a campervan. Country Caravans on Hewletts Road at Mount Maunganui are now stocking the KEA fleet, Ranging from the two-berth Traveller, Scout and Freedom, through to the four- and six-berth motorhomes – the Dreamtime and Endeavour models. The campervans have features like flat screen TVs and DVD players, gas central heating, air conditioning and solar panels to keep auxiliary batteries charged. For more information: 575 0170.
Back Porch Cafe has a new menu and is now opening for dinner, from 6 pm Wednesdays to Sundays. The new menu will focus strongly on seafood; lobster, oysters, prawn, scallops, crabs and a signature dish of calamari with ‘brasserie-style food, says chef Michael Price. Main dishes on the new evening menu include port fillet with sweet kumara puree, and confit duck leg with lamp sausage. The well-named Back Porch Cafe in the Central Parade Shops at 510 Central Parade, has an outdoor courtyard area. Tel 575 3337.
Cafe Versailles has a special deal on until the end of December. For every booking of 12 people or more, you’ll receive a free bottle of Domaine Sounit Chardonnay valued at $39.50. Book for 24 or more – two free bottles of Chard, etc.
You may have caught the news that the Bay of Plenty licked New Zealand in the ice cream stakes. We managed the ranking of 6.3 scoops in a cone per capita. In total the Bay devoured 17.1 million scoops, well ahead of Nelson Marlborough Tasman on 856,000. Bethlehem Four Square in Tauranga was named Bay of Plenty's ice cream high-roller, and the store's Kelvin Gregg welcomed the news that we are the scoop capital of New Zealand. ‘There have been times when I've thought I'd hang up my scoop, but I won't be doing that now! We have customers who have been coming here for ice creams for over 40 years.’
A local couple has produced the first vanilla crop outside the tropics by creating a Pacific Island climate in their own backyard. Garth and Jennifer Boggis' business Reunion Food Company has grown vanilla in Tonga since 2003. Now they've recreated a Tongan Shade house on their Te Puna property. Garth Boggis says the computer-controlled heating system maintains a balmy climate between 14 degrees and 30 degrees with 80 percent humidity. He says the cooler end of the temperature range has produced vanilla pods with a chocolate-y flavour.
Assorted Indoor Things to Do
Every Wednesday evening, from 3 - 7pm, the Cargo Shed on Dive Crescent is transformed into a market filled with locally made, and designed, arts and crafts. The market also has 'farmers market' style produce. The Cargo Shed market will also be open Saturdays and Sundays from 10am - 4pm.
Raining, blowing...you can still play golf galore! Global Golf at 12 Kereiti Street, Mount Maunganui have celebrated their first year of running the ‘Ultimate Indoor Golf Experience,’ Where you can play (virtually) at one of 79 golf courses around the world. They offer 30 minutes on the driving range for only $15, or else you can play 9 holes for $20 per person, with no time limit.
Three double tickets to the Gartshore Tauranga Wine & Food Festival are on their way to Diane, Wayne and Deirdre. It all happens at the Wharepai Domain on 6 December - the best of local food and entertainment. And 3 Tauranga, Bay of Plenty 2010 Calendars are on their way to Dale, Christine and Matt. Congratulations!
Two lucky people will be on their way to the Shire - yep, the home of Bilbo Baggins and his mates at Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours. Be in to win as they say, as this terrific prize is worth over $100.
We also have three Tauranga (Bay of Plenty) 2010 Calendars to give away.
Night Fever - The Bee Gees Tribute
Three highly talented Australian vocalists harmoniously join forces along with their live band to present Night Fever, a celebration of the four decade-strong success and popularity of the group. Adult $49, Child under 16 $29, Group 6+ $44 Venue: Baycourt Theatre, Wednesday, 4 November, 8 pm to 10.30 pm. Tel 5777188 or 0800 484 2538, www.ticketdirect.co.nz
Bay Boat Expo
The Expo happens on and off the water... new and used boats for sale, trailer boats, engines, boating courses, all kinds of boating and fishing gear as well as a variety of professional marine services. Admission by gold coin donation in support of the local Coastguard and the Bay of Plenty Sailing Academy Trust. Venue: Tauranga Bridge Marina, Southern Break pier, Friday, 6 November, Saturday, 7 November, 10 am to 6 pm.
Tauranga BodyArt Show
An annual showcase of some of the most creative makeup artistry you’ll ever see on stage. The Show has been set up as a regional event to feed outstanding achievers into the Awards where talent is quickly recognised. Venue: Baycourt Theatre, Saturday 7 November, 7.30 pm to 10 pm/ Adults $22, seniors, groups 10+, students (ID required) $18, child (0 to Secondary School) $12. Presented by NZ BodyArt Trust and Tauranga BodyArt.
Bays and Bridges Challenge
A 14km fun run/walk around Waipu Bay starting on the Strand, proceeding over the Harbour Bridge, through the airport, around the edge of Omanu golf club and returning to The Strand via Matapihi Rd and the Railway Bridge. Venue: The Strand, Sunday 8 November, 7.30 am to 11.30 pm. Tel 572 0762 Tauranga Ramblers Athletic Club
The Grinder Multisport Event
This event is concentrated in McLarens Falls Park and covers some of the Bay's most spectacular terrain. Features a 10km run / 15km mountain bike challenge / 11km kayak and 5km challenge course. Attracts individuals and teams from all over the country. Venue: McLaren Falls Park, Sunday 8 November, 9 am to 1 pm. BOP Polytechnic. Tel BOP Polytech 544 0920
Rods On The Waterfront
Classic car and hotrod show held on Tauranga's waterfront. This show attracts many of NZ's top show cars and includes dragsters, hotrods, street rods, classic cars. Outdoor event, but moves to Spring Car Park Building if it rains. Entry at the gate $5. (Door sales only) Venue: Strand Car Park, Saturday, 14 November, 10 am to 3 pm.
Tauranga Moana Seafood Festival
The aim of the festival is to create and extraordinary seafood event celebrating first class Kaimoana what will delight your tastes with your love of seafood, NZ culture and creativity. Also features fire dancers, art and music entertainment. Venue Dive Crescent, Tauranga, 28 November, 5.30 pm to 10.30 pm. Tickets $28. www.seafoodfest.co.nz