What began as a great idea from Kiwi inventor Paul Beckett and followed with a modest commercial production in an old hangar at Tauranga Airport is now thrilling adrenalin junkies around the world.
The invention was the blokart, a 1.65m long and 1.4m wide steel kart with sails reaching up to 5.5m in height, designed to be raced along the wide open New Zealand beaches at speeds of up to 100km/h.
Paul’s family business has now sold 10,000 blokarts in 27 countries around the world and the invention has spawned competitive events everywhere from New Zealand to the USA and Lithuania.
But you don’t have to own a blokart to enjoy the thrill. You can try this unique sport in its birthplace by hiring the equipment, getting tuition and even blasting around the world’s only purpose –built tar sealed track in Papamoa, a seaside suburb of Tauranga.
Blokarting is just one of the many activities in Tauranga.
Our top 10 picks ranging from the adventurous through to the more genteel are:
White Island – travel by boat or helicopter to White Island, one of the world’s most accessible active volcanoes and get a sense of that it would be like to walk on the moon
Swim with the dolphins – get up close and personal with some of the around 40,000 dolphins that make their home in the waters of the Bay of Plenty
Mauao – Mt Maunganui – walk around or up onto the summit of this geographical icon or take a soak in the geothermally heated saltwater pools at its base
Glow-worm kayaking – kayak at dusk on Lake McLaren to a rock canyon where thousands of glow woms light up the night sky
Learn to surf – take advantage of the safe surf at Mt Maunganui beach to hone your surfing skills
Jet boating – jet boat 12 kilometres through a narrow gorge of native bush on the Kaituna River
White water rafting – thrill yourself silly with a rafting expedition on the scenic Wairoa River and its turbulent grade five rapids
The Elms historic house museum – get a feel for life in the early 19thcentury with a visit to The Elms, the oldest heritage site in the Bay of Plenty
Vintage Aircraft – see a large display of classic aircraft at the Classic Flyers Museum
- Best fish and chips – sample the Kiwi favourite, fish and chips at the Fresh Fish Market , Dive Cresent. Locals love to sit here enjoying what they think are the best fish and chips in the Bay and possibly New Zealand, as they watch the fishing boats return after a day at sea
Air New Zealand flies between Tauranga and Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch linking it with 23 other destinations on its domestic network. For information and to book flights to Tauranga visit www.airnewzealand.com
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