Guide12 Hours Tauranga

When you only have 12 hours somewhere you want to hit the best places first, right? Here’s our guide to the coolest spots in Tauranga.

Plates of food on a table.

Your guide to the best things to do in Tauranga

A large coastal city and the fifth most populated city in New Zealand, there is so much to love about Tauranga. Just three hours south of Auckland, Tauranga is a lifestyle and tourism hot spot and the options for you to explore here are endless. From coffee shops, art galleries and epic local businesses to beaches, waterfalls and mountains, you are sure to be busy while you are visiting trying to get it all done in one day. So to make it easy for you, we have made a list of things to do in Tauranga if you only have 12 hours and want to make the most of them.


Wake up at The Cob Cottage

662 Te Puke Quarry Road, Te Puke

Wake up in Cob Cottage, an organic building set high in the Papamoa Hills and made from a mix of clay, sand and straw. It has amazing thermal properties, soaking up the sun from the day and slowly releasing the heat keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Sleeping two people in the queen-sized bed, it’s the perfect place for a romantic getaway.

An outdoor bath at Cob Cottage Tauranga.

8am: Coffee at Folk Brewers

148 Durham Street, Tauranga

Head down to Folk Brewers on Durham Street for a cup of ambition to start your day off right. Using Ozone coffee beans, they will brew you up the perfect cup of coffee every time, served alongside a delicious menu. Hans has created a beautiful space that makes you feel connected and part of its own little community as soon as you walk through the door.

Coffee being served at Folk Brewers.

9am: Breakfast at Bread Head and Love Rosie

50 Ninth Avenue, Tauranga

Unifying Bread Head Bakery with Love Rosie Bakery has created the ultimate spot for any bread and pastry lover.  When the coffee has entered your bloodstream and you start feeling peckish, this is the place to be. Have your pick from the delicious selection of pastries ranging from almond croissants, Portuguese tarts and Danish’s, or if you’re in the mood for bread - rosemary loaves, ciabatta and baguettes are plentiful.

Pastries in a cabinet.

10am: Vintage Shopping at Ooplah

53 Ninth Avenue, Tauranga

Once you have had your fill of pastries and bread head down to Ooplah, a beautiful local business created by a family who moved to the sunny Bay of Plenty all the way from France. With gorgeous homeware pieces curated from French markets, you will find everything from large furniture to small knick-knacks. You are sure to fall in love with a unique piece to take home that has people asking, “where did you get that?!”.

Antiques on display inside Ooplah.

11am: Culture at Sumer

3 Waihirere Lane, Tauranga

Established in 2018, Sumer Art Gallery was created as a place to support emerging and established international and NZ contemporary artists, and to provide a venue for national and international collectors to visit and appreciate dynamic and innovative art while they are visiting the region. Open Wednesday to Saturday, you will love the vast array of art they have on show, and also being able to support artists at any stage of their career is always a plus!

Exhibition in photo: Jan van der Ploeg Ready or Not 14 May – 20 June 2020

An exhibition at Sumer Art Gallery.


12pm: Culture at Tauranga Art Gallery

Cnr Wharf and Willow Streets, Downtown Tauranga

Opening its doors in 2007, Tauranga Art Gallery boasts 500 pieces of work. Focusing on work with local content by local artists, it’s a great way to get to know Tauranga a little better. The exhibits range from illustrations to photography, with themes that will get you thinking, and you can even take a t-shirt, jewellery or some homewares home with you.

The exterior of the Tauranga Art Gallery building.

1pm: Lunch at Our Place

91 Willow Street, Tauranga

After being inspired by Tauranga’s amazing galleries, you are probably losing stamina to keep going, and this is where Our Place comes in. Built out of 37 shipping containers, Our Place is the perfect spot to rest those weary feet, eat some amazing food and explore the area (we recommend popping into Ritual Goods; The Style Loft and The Trading Rock). Get your dumpling fix at Johneys Dumplings or pop by Hello Rosie for the best vegan junk food you’ll find. Also pop into High Tide for a quick beer if you fancy it too.

Now hop in your car and drive to Mt Maunganui.

Johney making dumplings at Johneys Dumpling House.

2pm: Shopping at Paper Plane

100 Maunganui Road, Mt Maunganui

Satisfied and ready to get going again? Head to Mount Maunganui to continue exploring. While the beach and Mount Mauao itself are very impressive, if you feel like pottering around some shops Paper Plane is where you should go. A carefully curated store filled with quality homewares, fashion and lifestyle goods, the team goes out of their way to constantly evolve their curations and discover unique makers and shakers.

Shelves stocked inside Paper Plane store.

3pm: Afternoon Coffee at Luca

90 Maunganui Road, Mt Maunganui

No doubt by now you are ready for your next cuppa of the day. Find Luca Café in the heart of Mount Maunganui serving delicious coffee roasted by Coffee Supreme, that hits the spot every time. If you are feeling peckish (again), they serve locally sourced goodness such as bagels and donuts as the perfect accompaniment to your coffee.

Hop in the car again and drive the 15 minutes to Papamoa.

A man peering out the window at Luca Cafe.

4pm: Beers at The Island Brewery

20 Domain Road, Papamoa

Pizza, craft beer and live music / dj's, what more could you want? The Island Brewery is the perfect venue to spend some time relaxing and listening to some tunes. Talented upcoming musicians get a chance to wow you with their performances, and you get to sip beer, chat with friends and enjoy the sunshine in a relaxed beachy setting, the ideal way to spend an afternoon. Have a stroll on the beach before heading back to the Mount for an early dinner.

People drinking inside The Island Brewery.


6.30pm: Dinner in Mt Maunganui: Rice Rice Baby

136 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui

There are too many amazing places to eat to stop now, so head to Rice Rice Baby for dinner. Serving authentic Vietnamese goodness until late, these guys have so many amazing options for meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike. However, they don’t accept bookings, but one of the friendly team members will take your number and text you when a table is ready for you to eat your heart out. 

Close up of fried Vietnamese food.

8pm: Beer at Rising Tide in Mt Maunganui

107 Newton Street, Mount Maunganui

Rising Tide is the place to be if you are a lover of beer and want a wide range to choose from. With a 17 tap bar on the deck in the summertime, you are sure to find a beer that tickles your taste buds. But no matter what time of the year you come, they have you covered with windbreaks and outdoor heaters for those cooler times. These guys will make you want to stay all night.


Words by: Hayley James, Not Just Another Pretty Face.

Beer being poured at Rising Tide.

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