A Day of Festivals and Events in Tauranga

Things are happening in Tauranga! That can’t be said for everywhere in New Zealand so today we are taking advantage of the ‘city life’ by hitting a few events that the city has to offer. First up, it’s the Tauranga Street Food Festival!

A Kiwi Celebration!

While farmers markets are a common occurrence on a Saturday in a lot of towns in New Zealand, (Tauranga’s farmers markets are every Saturday, 7.45am-12pm on 5th Avenue), Tauranga is hosting a one-off event this weekend not only to bring various food trucks to the city centre, but to also celebrate the opening of some tidal stairs. Admittedly, we are more interested in the food, but we decide to head down to the city centre anyway to check out some classic Kiwi celebrations.

Tauranga Food Festival

The Tauranga Food Festival is taking place on The Strand, a stretch of road, restaurants and a walkway along the waterfront of the city centre. When we arrive, the car park is pretty funky in itself with a huge colourful mural of a morepork spanning an entire wall of one building facing the car park. We suspect it is another street art piece added to the city that we didn’t manage to find yesterday during our street art crawl.

Another colourful day in Tauranga Another colourful day in Tauranga
Can you believe they made a competition out of this?! Can you believe they made a competition out of this?!
The local brewery additions to the Food Festival The local brewery additions to the Food Festival
Robin is WAY too keen for his crepes Robin is WAY too keen for his crepes

Tauranga’s first bombing competition

Starting our walk along The Strand, we see people gathered around a pier and what must be the all-new tidal stairs. (It turns out that tidal stairs are stairs that go into the water… Woohoo!) We find ourselves a good spot to observe what’s going on only to find that people are doing bombs off the pier.

“This is Tauranga’s first official bomb competition…” an announcer proudly reminds the crowd through the speakers, among commentating on the competitors’ bombing skills. We only manage to catch the end of the splashing, belly-flopping and well-executed bombs, but we are around to see the moment when the trophies are handed out to wet people of all ages.

The announcer gives his final speech thanking everyone involved in this competition dedicated to a “favourite Kiwi pastime.”

Armed with crepes at the Tauranga Street Food Festival

Stuffing ourselves at a food truck feast

We take the opportunity of “quiet time” between events to go stuff ourselves. This is a Street Food Festival after all.

A patch of grass on The Strand consists of a line of about seven food trucks selling burgers, churros, Mexican food with a Kiwi twist, more burgers, seafood and crepes! When away from your own country, you feel like you should be trying something different – a local delicacy or something. But when you have been away from your country for 12 years, like Robin has, the desire for the food you used to eat back in the day comes rushing back at the sight of it! So guess what Frenchy Robin wants to eat?!

Waterfront lunch in the sun Waterfront lunch in the sun
There are all sorts of vessels occupying the harbour! There are all sorts of vessels occupying the harbour!
Live music and good vibes at the Pacific Coast Lodge Live music and good vibes at the Pacific Coast Lodge

Crepes and Dragon Boats

We find a nice sunny spot along the waterfront holding a plate of banana and chocolate crepe and a bacon, mushroom and onion crepe. It turns out that we also have prime spot s for a dragon boat race, as the announcer fills our ears once again telling us to keep our eyes on the Tauranga Bridge…

Sure enough, two long canoes with a dozen paddlers make their way along the harbour. It reminds us of the few times we have seen people paddling in the Maori canoes back in Okains Bay and Rotorua. The two dragon boats engage in a race along the harbour but they are not as quick as us eating our crepes.

Jam Session at the Pacific Coast Lodge

The competitions come to an end but the live music begins with an up-beat acoustic act called Josh Pow. We soak up the sun and relax to the live music knowing that this is not the only jamming session we’ll be seeing today. We head back to our super social hostel in Mt Maunganui, Pacific Coast Lodge, where tonight is Jam Session night!

It has been written on a surfboard hung up in the kitchen all week and now the time has finally come: a Sunday jamming sesh. As this is a working hostel, it gives the majority of guests the time to chill out with tunes before going back to work tomorrow. Matt, the hostel owner, takes the lead with the guitar and familiar renditions, while the long-termers in the hostel praise him with beer, tea and whatever beverages they can find.

We’ve certainly appreciated an easy-going day in the sunny Bay of Plenty, because tomorrow, it’s back to the hands-on adventure activities with dolphin swimming! See you tomorrow!

Laura and Robin

Get comfortable on the waterfront for some dragon boat action!
Get comfortable on the waterfront for some dragon boat action! Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

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See you tomorrow!

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