Take your pick of places to cool off

By Allison Hess

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Grab some swimmers, bust out a rashie or squeeze into a wetsuit - Bay of Plenty Times readers have spoken out about their favourite swimming spots around Western Bay. Last year Mount Maunganui Main Beach was declared the best beach in New Zealand for the third time running but readers have highlighted other great places to take a dip. In no particular order, here are some of the favoured swimming spots in our region.
Kalani Lecomte, 12, jumping off Salisbury Wharf. Photo/John Borren
Kalani Lecomte, 12, jumping off Salisbury Wharf. Photo/John Borren

Salisbury Wharf

A classic favourite for kids and teens, Salisbury Wharf in Pilot Bay is sheltered, calm and well-loved as a jumping platform.

Little ones can splash and paddle in calm water in Pilot Bay, while the big kids can jump off the wharf to their heart's content.

After a swim, chomp on tasty fish'n'chips and wave goodbye to cruise ships.


Newdicks Beach

For a taste of the real New Zealand, Newdicks is the place to visit.

Kids can paddle in a gentle stream flowing towards the surf while swimmers and surfers will appreciate the impressive waves.

The $3 fee to enter private land and the dusty trip down Newdicks Beach Road in Maketu is worth it.


Kaiate Falls

Kaiate Falls
Kaiate Falls

If ever there was an indication of a beloved swimming hole it's that, despite health warnings about E.coli contaminated water, people continue to swim and frolic in Kaiate Falls.

Overlooking the less-than-savoury water conditions, the falls is an idyllic place to swim, picnic and cool down.

Tucked away in lush bush, two sets of falls wow first-time visitors and regulars alike. Its shade and refreshing water make it a popular place on scorcher days. A half-hour journey from central Tauranga, in the hills of Welcome Bay, the falls are reached by a short but steep descent down well-maintained steps.


McLaren Falls

McLaren Falls
McLaren Falls

McLaren Falls is another treasured swimming hole.

People soaking and cooling off in the pools above the falls by the main bridge is a familiar sight in summer.

Its location in the Kaimai Ranges provides beautiful scenery and serene surroundings.

Tramping, camping and fishing is also popular in the area.


Shark Alley

Shark Alley
Shark Alley

Nevermind the off-putting name - Shark Alley is the complete package for any swimming experience.

Escape from the hordes of beach-goers at the Mount main beach? Check. Softer, family-friendly waves ideal for learner surfers and boogie-boarders? Check. Flat and sandy shore to dry off in the sun? Check. It is located on the other side of Leisure Island from Main Beach.


Omokoroa Beach

Omokoroa Beach
Omokoroa Beach


Omokoroa sits a mere 20-minute drive out of Tauranga, well away from the hustle of the city.

Safe swimming conditions make it family-friendly and the jetty is a perfect spot to drop a fishing line.

No beach trip is complete without ice cream and the nearby dairy has any sweet tooth covered.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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