There's never been a better time to give the gift of an experience

Now that we've hit the summer season, it feels amazingly good being able to get out on the ocean to spot wildlife, learn to surf, head out for a glow worm kayak tour or soar over Mauao (Mount Maunganui) in a helicopter – and most importantly, being able to do it all with friends and loved ones!

Here are some great Bay of Plenty experiences to gift your favourite people:

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We are lucky in the Bay of Plenty to have an amazing diversity of wildlife in our waters. Speeding out along the coastline, wind whipping your hair, you’ll see dolphins jumping and diving beside your boat, seasonal seabirds soaring on the air currents, penguins, seals, whales, sunfish, sharks, even orca or turtles!

These adventures suits the family or the wildlife enthusiast – kids and adults alike will love the commentary and interesting facts shared by the enthusiastic crews.

Bay Explorer, Dolphin Seafaris and Orca Wild Adventures all offer fantastic tours departing from Tauranga, and Diveworks Charters offer similar trips from Whakatāne.

Landing on a remote beach with Adventure Helicopters Bay of Plenty NZ 4


Your friends or loved ones will feel like superstars when boarding one of these choppers and being whisked away over stunning Bay of Plenty coastline and countryside.

With customisable packages, you can even create your own dream day: drop in by helicopter for a beverage or a fancy lunch at a number of helipad-equipped lodges, or stop in at Waihī Beach for a burger at the Surf Shack.

This gift would be ideal for couples, or groups of friends.

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Tauranga has got to be one of the most beautiful places to tandem skydive. You get to cruise to altitude above Matakana Island and Mauao, surrounded by the glittering harbour and ocean, with Mt Ruapehu and even Mt Taranaki slowly coming into view.

This incredibly beautiful 20-minute scenic flight is just a bonus – because the sensation of jumping out the plane and falling at 200-kilometres-per-hour, and views of Mauao and Matakana Island slowly getting closer again, will completely take your breath away.

This once-in-a-lifetime experience suits couples who’d like a more daring date, or adrenaline junkie friends – or a parent with a bucket list!

The Cave virtual reality experience v2


Virtual Reality (VR) innovation is getting better and better – blow someone’s mind by introducing them to The Cave.

The Cave provides a whole range of VR experiences, from roaming virtual worlds to racing at Bathurst, to Escape Rooms where you must solve a mystery to escape. This experience is great for dads and teens.

Surfing at Main Mount Beach Mount Maunganui


Surfing is so beneficial so many ways: by gifting a surf lesson, you are gifting someone fitness, balance, water safety, stress relief, fun, a connection with the natural environment, and a way to stay young.

What’s more, the Bay has world class beaches to operate surf schools from, whether that’s Waihī Beach, Mauao or Pāpāmoa. This gift would suit anybody and everybody, from young kids through to active seniors.

Mauao adventures stand up paddle boarding


This experience teaches you to paddle a stand-up paddle board (SUP) as well as row a waka ama (outrigger canoe) – with a strong focus on a connection with mana whenua (people of the land). You can explore the waters of the beautiful Mount Maunganui area, and even organise a private adventure such as a picnic in the middle of the ocean, or a paddle to an island. This experience would suit everybody.


7. AQUA 360°

Perfectly positioned on the shores of Pilot Bay and surrounded by a backdrop of pure natural beauty, Aqua 360° offers epic jet ski tours around the moana (sea) and hire packages to suit anyone’s tastes. Aqua 360° is kitted out with the best – from brand-new high-spec jet skis, to adrenaline-packed water fun, like sea biscuit adventures, wakeboarding, water skiing, fishing, high-tech safety equipment, and an A-team of experienced tour guides to explore the moana in style.

V8 Trikes


Have you ever seen (or heard) those beautiful beasts, the V8 Chevrolet trikes, roaring around Mount Maunganui? These were designed and built in New Zealand, and their 5700cc Chevrolet motors have incredible power, low centre of gravity, amazing cornering and smooth riding. The speedy tours head to the beach, the highway, or to scenic lookouts – this experience would suit families or groups of friends.

Experience a night time glow worm kayak tour with Waimarino


A day out at Waimarino Water and Adventure Park, 10 minutes from Tauranga city, is something the whole family will love. They can zoom down a hydroslide, catapult each other off a giant inflatable pillow, attempt the climbing wall, combat on the gladiator pole, swim, kayak, swing, dive and create some great family memories.

For those wanting a more tranquil experience, a Waimarino's Glow Worm Kayak Tour is one of the most memorable experiences you could gift someone. Natural beauty, wonder, luxury, adventure, hospitality, tranquillity, cultural insight and education all come together in a magnificent 3-hour+ journey to the Mangapapa Canyon where thousands of tiny luminescent larvae cling to steep rock walls.

Riverbug on the Bay of Plentys longest river


Getting out on the whitewater in the local awa (rivers) provides that refreshing shot of adrenaline and excitement for that special someone. Riverbugging is an exciting and accessible way to experience whitewater: the small inflatable crafts are safe and easy to manoeuvre. This experience would suit families or groups of friends.

There are plenty more activities you could gift in our amazing Bay of Plenty – with a vibrancy of culture, beautiful natural areas, and real innovation, it’s easy to support local in these interesting times. Your friends and family will thank you for the memories!