Te Puke's warm climate and fertile volcanic soils make it a very horticultural district, allowing it to grow a wide variety of citrus fruit such as lemons and oranges, in addition to kiwifruit. The town markets itself as the "Kiwifruit capital of the world," and is the centre of an industry which supplies a large percentage of the total world production of the fruit. Livestock are also farmed, notably dairy cattle. The surrounding area contains many pip-fruit and avocado orchards, and supporting these forms the backbone of the region's economy. Many locals also commute to nearby Tauranga and Mount Maunganui.
Get in edit
Drive southeast from Tauranga, or take one of the Bayhopper buses from Tauranga, Mt. Maunganui, or Rotorua. Shuttle buses are also available that will get you to Auckland airport, although the firms operating these (and the tariffs they charge) seem to change quite regularly.
Get around edit
There is no public transport to speak of within the town itself, though the local Bayhopper buses pass through regularly.
- 1 Comvita Honey Tour, 23 Wilson Road South, Paengaroa, ☏ , toll-free: 0800 493 782, fax: , email@example.com. Visitor Centre: M-F 08:30-17:00, Sa-Su 09:30-16:00. Tour through the honey and health product manufacturing facilities of Comvita. Their Manuka Honey bars are yummy and you should try some delicious honey flavoured Kapiti ice cream too; interesting visitors centre as well.
Go swimming on the local beaches at Papamoa, or Maketu (drive east 6 km, then follow the signs north). Pristine, unspoiled beaches.
- 2 Kiwifruit Country, 316 State Highway, Paengaroa (5 km south of Te Puke), ☏ . Farm tours and kiwifruit wine tasting.
- 3 Golf Te Puke, 847 State Highway 2 (7 min drive south of Te Puke, towards Whakatane), ☏ . Lovely 18 hole challenging, but easy walking, course. Superb playing conditions and reasonable green fees. Bar and catering on most days. Caravan and mobile home sites. Pro Shop. Test yourself against their famous - or infamous - black tees.
There is usually seasonal work available in the kiwifruit industry provided your visa status permits you to work (this is often checked by potential employers). Peak season for picking and packing is from late April through to June. The work can be physically hard but pays a reasonable wage for labour (by New Zealand standards) and is not difficult.
There are cafes and restaurants on Jellicoe St, the main street, all offering reasonable to good food. In addition to the many take-out businesses offering pizza, gyros, a variety of Asian food, and the ubiquitous New Zealand fish and chips, Jellicoe St has a good Indian restaurant (the Mini Punjab) and a few bars that also double as restaurants.
- 1 Mini Punjab Restaurant, 8 Jellicoe St, ☏ . Indian food at reasonable prices.
- 2 Te Puke Hotel, 110 Jellicoe St, ☏ . A reasonably good restaurant and bar.
- 3 The Trading Post – French Bistro, 1 Hall Rd, Paengaroa (5 km south of Te Puke), ☏ . Has a very good reputation locally, offering high quality meals from brunch through to a late dinner.
- 4 Vesey's Restaurant, 50 Jellicoe St, ☏ . Good Indian food, takeout food also available.
- 5 Seaside Cafe & Restaurant, 2 Townpoint Rd, Maketu, ☏ . Seafood restaurant with an attached fish and chip takeaway. Excellent food. $20+.
There are bars and pubs on Jellicoe St, although the nightlife is far better in Tauranga and Mt Maunganui.
There are 2 reasonable camping grounds within easy driving distance that offer a cheaper alternative to staying in a motel. Motels in Te Puke may be a lower cost alternative to those in Tauranga or Rotorua, and the town's location between the two areas makes it a reasonable choice if you are planning to explore the Bay of Plenty.