Crashes and congestion plagued highways in and around Tauranga yesterday as thousands of travellers made their way to the Western Bay of Plenty these New Year holidays.

The New Zealand Transport Agency warned of backed-up eastbound traffic building through Katikati and Te Puna in the afternoon. The agency asked motorists to avoid State Highway 2 if possible.

However, a five-car crash on State Highway 29 at Tauriko also prompted police to warn of "extensive delays".

Police said no one was seriously injured in the crash but also asked motorists to avoid the area if possible.


The crash happened at 12.45pm near Gargan Rd.

The congestion came as revellers made their way to Bay Dreams music festival at Baypark, Mount Maunganui.

Organisers estimated 25,000 people would be at the festival's main event today and residents have been warned all week of delays in and around the city.

Police said that with the extra visitors to the city, drivers should allow for slow progress on the road.

The traffic was snarled in all directions around midday but had calmed down by 1.30pm.