• Photo: Steve Heap / Shutterstock

Tauranga

The population center of the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga is one of New Zealand's fastest-growing cities. Along with neighboring town, Whakatane, this seaside city also rates as one of the country's sunniest spots. Unlike most local towns, Tauranga doesn't grind to a halt in the off-season, because it has one of the busiest ports in the country, and the excellent waves at the neighboring beach resort of Mount Maunganui—just across Tauranga's harbor bridge—always draw surfers and holiday folk.

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