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208km (129 miles) SE of Auckland; 86km (53 miles) NW of Rotorua

Once-sleepy Tauranga is New Zealand's second-fastest-growing area after Queenstown, and has one of the largest natural harbors in the country, with over 1,000 yachts and launches moored in two marinas. The Port of Tauranga is also a popular stop for cruise ships. It has an urban population of about 120,000 and boasts 2,400 hours of sunshine per year. Tauranga and its nearby beachfront neighbor, Mount Maunganui, are thriving urban centers, and no matter what time of year you visit, you'll be spoiled with choices for anything related to outdoor beach-driven activity.