From Ancient Rainforests To Whitewater Rafting – The Bay Of Plenty’s Best Hidden Gems

A huge part of the entire ethos of the Roxborogh Report is writing about hidden gems – be they in travel or music. Sometimes, those gems are hiding in plain sight. As in, the Bay Of Plenty already happens to one of the best known holiday regions in New Zealand – especially for Kiwis travelling domestically – but there’s still so much of it yet to discover. As I’ve discovered!

Click here for my recent NZ Herald feature that highlighted some of those best, lesser-known attractions that the Bay Of Plenty can proudly shout from the rooftops. We’re talking things like Otanewainuku – a remarkable, never-logged, 1200-hectare tract of rainforest that’s just a 20-minute drive out of Tauranga (special thanks to Tom and the team at Foris Eco-Tours).

We’re talking the thrills of jumping into a one-person inflatable “bug” that’s like a cross between a kayak and a white-water raft and traversing the rapids of the beautiful Lake Aniwhenua (90-minutes from Tauranga – special thanks to Don and the team at Riverbug).

Accommodation-wise, we’re talking a brand new, 5-star barn-style property just metres back from the famed white sands of Papamoa Beach called Paradise Beach. As I say in the article, “My wife Aimee and I had the upstairs loft, our baby Riley her own bedroom below, and everything about this high-end, sun-splashed, open-plan property shouted that rare harmony of relatability and luxury”. Many thanks Paradise Beach!

And we’re also talking the ever-expanding restaurant and cafe scene of Tauranga and the Mount:

“…specifically Bayfair’s Izakai (a sublime, unexpected fusion of Maori and Japanese cuisines), Papamoa’s Pearl Kitchen (owned and operated by award-winning chef Andrew Targett) and Papamoa’s The Good Home (a family friendly gastropub that had “sumptuous” fish ‘n’ chips according to my wife’s Nana, 93-year old local legend June Cosgrove).” – Tim Roxborogh, NZ Herald.

Another theme to my article was based on a speech I heard from tourism industry guru (and founder of Conscious Travel) Anna Pollock. As you can read in my feature, Pollock spoke at an event in The Mount in March saying that we need to aim higher than merely being “sustainable” when it comes to tourism. In a world in the grips of a sharp awakening due to a Covid-19, there’s a real opportunity for a positive reset in how we approach travel and tourism. Click here to read more.

With that in mind, a special word for Foris Eco-Tours who I really couldn’t recommend more highly. Despite threats from predators like rats, possums and stoats, and despite the enormous deforestation that plagued New Zealand throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the forests that remain in this country aren’t just visually stunning, they are of international ecological significance. Foris Eco-Tours can take you deep into some of our greatest wilderness areas – many of which are places most Kiwis have never been – where their expert knowledge of New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna really brings things even more to life.

So get planning and support local tourism!

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