Tauranga, New Zealand is located around 2 and a half hours drive south of New Zealand's largest city, Auckland. Tauranga was once a small, seaside town thought of as retirement central. These days it is a vibrant busy city, with a population of about 120,000 it is New Zealand's fifth largest city, only eclipsed in size by Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton.
Tauranga is the largest city in New Zealand to have a Maori name. The feature point in Tauranga is Mauao or "The Mount" as it is known by local residents. It is a 232m high extinct volcano located at the end of the Mount Maunganui peninsula. It is considered sacred or "tapu" by local Maori and features extensively through local local legend. Mauao has some brilliant walking tracks around the base and up to the summit and is a favorite of many for scenic walks, jogs and hang gliding from the summit.
Tauranga has a warm sunny climate which makes it a favorite among holiday makers. Mt Maunganui has one of the best beaches in New Zealand, even with it's own artificial reef. There are numerous cafés, restaurants and bars through out Tauranga. You can choose from the main "restaurant strip" The Strand in Tauranga, a beach side restaurant in Mt Maunganui or even an exclusive lodge in the hills. With Tauranga being so close to Auckland, you can easily visit for a day trip, although there are plenty of quality hotels in Tauranga if you wanted to spend a while longer- which I highly recommend!