The coastal environment of the Bay of Plenty is one of the most significant resources of the region. It contributes to the unique identity of the Bay of Plenty and provides a diverse range of social, cultural, recreational and economic resources. The regional community and the large number of visitors to the region use these resources.
The coastline of the Bay of Plenty region is extensive, with significant enclosed harbours and estuaries, for example, Tauranga and Ohiwa harbours. The total coastal perimeter of the region is 688 kilometres in length. This is made up of 259 kilometres of open coast and 369 kilometres of estuaries. Approximately 37% of the Bay of Plenty region is classified as Bay of Plenty coast.
The regional coastline can be divided into four distinct areas:
- Soft shore (sandy) coast stretching from Waihi Beach to Opape (with the occasional rocky outcrops).
- Hard shore (rocky) coast running from Opape to just beyond Cape Runaway. Overall, 74% of the mainland open coast is sandy and 26% rocky.
- Offshore islands which include the following:
Karewa, Mayor/Tuhua, Motiti, Motu Kaimeanui, Motu Papaki, Motuhaku, Moutohora/Whale, Motukotare, Motunau, Motunui, Motuotau, Moutoki, Otarawhata, Rurima, Te Huke, Tokata, Volkner Islets and White/Whakaari.'
- Harbours and estuaries including the Tauranga Harbour, Maketu Estuary, Waihi Estuary, Whakatane Harbour, Ohiwa Harbour and Waiotahi Estuary.