Papamoa is the largest suburb of Tauranga. It sits in the Bay of Plenty Region on the northeastern coast of New Zealand’s North Island. For much of its history, The entire region was an incredibly rural area. In fact, widespread settlement of the area did not start until the early 1980s, thus making Papamoa a very recent destination in the overall history of both New Zealand and the region.
Now, Papamoa is one of the fastest growing areas in New Zealand, with that growth spurned on by the increase in popularity of coastal communities, its close proximity to Tauranga, and the many local shopping developments.
Papamoa is perhaps best known for its 16 kilometre stunning white sandy beach that stretches fro the boundary with Mount Maunganui in the west to the Kaituna River in the east. In addition to all the recent amenities that have found their way to Papamoa, Papamoa Beach attracts huge numbers of visitors each year.
What to Do – Papamoa
First and foremost, Papamoa Beach. The beach is the perfect place for visitors to enjoy a variety of activities, ranging from swimming, surfing, beach games, coastal walks, and much more. The beach is patrolled by well trained lifeguards during the peak summer months, thus making it a relatively safe place to swim.
The most popular swimming spot is right outside of the Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club, where visitors will find plenty of car parking nearby as well as changing rooms. Generally speaking though, the beach is safe for swimming, boogie boarding, or any other sort of water fun when the water is calm.
However, visitors should be aware of the water conditions before they go swimming. Strong rips and large waves can occasionally form along the beach.
The Beach is also a fantastic surf spot when there is a swell running. This part of the coast boasts both left and right hand breaks, with the best waves occurring around mid-tide. Kite and windsurfing are also popular at Papamoa Beach.
Of course, if the conditions aren’t right for swimming and you aren’t a surfer of any kind, Papamoa Beach is a great spot to just enjoy the day lounging on the beach. Find a comfortable spot and enjoy the day laying out in the sun, building sandcastles, playing beach games, or digging for pipis.
Another fantastic outdoor destination, Kaiate Falls is just 30-minutes from Tauranga. Visitors can enjoy a walk down a well formed trail through stunning forest. At the end, they are treated to the beautiful sight of Kaiate Falls. The falls cascade down in stages, ending in a wonderful swimming hole that is the perfect place to cool off after your journey.
Hills Regional Park
Hills Regional Park is a hiker’s haven. The park is filled with some of the regions most popular and beautiful walking and running tracks. The 135ha park overlooks the sprawling plains of Papamoa below and all the way out to the coastline. The climb to the highest point in the park takes about 45-minutes.
At the highest point, visitors will be 224 metres above sea level and will be treated to fantastic views. There are a number of other, less hilly tracks in the park that are great for walkers and runners of all fitness levels.
The park is also home to seven pa sites (where Papamoa’s original Maori inhabitants lived) within the park. In fact, the park was originally created in order to help protect the cultural heritage in the area.
The majority of the walking tracks are well formed, but good walking shoes are recommended. Walkers should also bring a bottle of water as there is no water tap in the park.
Papamoa itself is also filled with a variety of attractions for visitors to enjoy. As the area has grown, it has added a number of wonderful shopping attractions, such as Fashion Island and Papamoa Plaza. There are also a number of restaurants, cafes, and other eateries that make Papamoa the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing day walking around and exploring the town.
Where to Stay – Papamoa
Papamoa has a wide range of accommodation options for visitors to choose from, including holiday homes, 5-star beachfront villas, campgrounds, or family resorts. No matter what you are looking for or what your budget is, there is something for you in Papamoa.
Travelling from Abroad?
The closest airport is located in Tauranga. It is serviced by several airlines offering flights to Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, as well as a few regional destinations.
Auckland and Wellington both have large international airports that are easily accessible for visitors travelling from outside New Zealand. Tauranga is only a short, 30-minute drive from Papamoa.