Cruising Bay of Plenty

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There's plenty to marvel at around New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty: dramatic volcanic and geothermal formations, sweeping white-sand beaches and an abundance of birdlife and marine animals. Whakaari (White Island), which lies some 50 kilometers (30 miles) off the coast, has been New Zealand’s most active volcano since Captain James Cook circumnavigated the country in 1769. The region’s ongoing volcanic activity produces natural hot springs and thermal pools galore. Thousands of dolphins call the Bay of Plenty home, so they're easily spotted off the coast, along with orcas, pilot whales, giant sunfish and manta rays—not to mention many native birds.

The area’s wealth of resources isn’t limited to the coastline. Most of New Zealand’s famed kiwifruit comes from the agricultural interior of the Bay of Plenty, along with half the country’s avocados and many of the summer berry crops. When you sail into Tauranga Harbour, you’ll find yourself with plenty of appealing options to explore: the beaches of Mount Maunganui, Tauranga’s art galleries and Maori cultural sites. If you want to venture farther afield, take an excursion to a mineral spa in Rotorua.