The Bay of Plenty is New Zealand's most active volcanic region with many volcanic attractions. On the coast, there are great beaches, and inland there are many lakes. There are also a number of notable cities.
The city of Rotorua is conveniently located within most of the regions volcanic attractions. For this reason and also due to close proximity with Auckland, Rotorua is one of New Zealand's biggest tourist attractions. The more notable thermal areas near Rotorua are Whakarewarewa, Waimangu, Waiotapu, Hells Gate and the Hidden Valley. These reserves all have ecellent examples of geysers, mud pools, fumeroles, thermal rivers, volcanic terraces, and hot springs.
Everywhere you go you in Rotorua you will see steam rising from the ground. Even the motels offer thermal baths and some of this volcanic energy is tapped to provide electricity to the locals. New volcanic vents often appear in the most unlikely places. Roads, properties, lakes, and even golf courses have heat rising from the ground.
The area around Rotorua is also famous for its many beautiful lakes which are ideal for fishing, swimming, and other water based activities. Rotorua is also the best place in New Zealand to see and learn about Maori culture.
Tauranga, on the coast of the Bay of Plenty is one of the fastest growing cities in New Zealand. The reason is partly to do with a warm climate and spectacular beaches. The nearby town of Mt Maunganui now joined to Tauranga by a bridge has expansive beaches, nice cafes, and one of the best lookouts in the country, atop an extinct volcano.
Just off the coast of Tauranga is White Island, an active volcano that erupts regularly everyday. Sightseeing flights over White Island are highly recommended. It you want to venture further afield you could also add in the 3 volcanoes in nearby Tongariro National Park, as well as nearby Mt Tarawera.
Mt Tarawera last erupted early this century totally destroying the famous Pink and White Terraces, which was nicknamed the" 8th wonder of the natural world". It was New Zealand's number one tourust attraction. The remaining mountain after the eruption has a great gash that divides the volcano. You can take walking tours up to the top of this volcano as well as walk around the rim and admire the surrounding view including Lake Tarawera.
The Bay of Plenty is one of the most scenic and diverse regions in New Zealand, and visitors to New Zealand have been known to visit and stay much longer than they anticipated at the expense of the rest of New Zealand. It becomes obvious when you are here just how much this area has on offer.