Coffee in hand, I watched the rolling surf as the sun rose over the horizon. There is no better way to start the day, and I did this each morning from my beachfront villa at the Papamoa Beach Resort in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.
From here, my days only got better. I found a paradise that caters to everyone.
For visitors to New Zealand, Papamoa Beach Resort offers an opportunity to relax or play, as well as the perfect base to explore the Bay of Plenty.
Centrally located, yet it feels like worlds away when you are sitting on the endless beach.
UPDATE: Papamoa Beach Resort is now part of the Tasman Holiday Parks group.
Be inspired by New Zealand…
Papamoa Beach accommodation options
There is something for just about everyone at Papamoa Beach Resort, with options including:
- Villas (up to 5 guests) – this was our choice, see below for details
- Baches and holiday units (up to 10 guests)
- Cabins (up to 6 guests)
- Campsites for tents, motorhomes, or caravans
Where is Papamoa Beach Resort?
Papamoa is a suburb of Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. It is located along the east coast of the North Island. The resort itself is on Papamoa Beach.
Drive time from Papamoa to Tauranga is 20 minutes, to Mount Maunganui is 15 minutes, to Rotorua 52 minutes, and to Matamata (Hobbiton) 50 minutes, rendering the resort quite centrally located.
Who should stay in Papamoa?
Papamoa Beach Resort is ideal for many people, although not for everyone. If you are using it as a base to also explore the Bay of Plenty, you will want a car.
Do you fit into one of these categories?
Beach lovers: Whether you stare out at the sea, build sandcastles, swim, or surf, there is no easier way than having a stunning beach right out the door.
People who like extra space and a kitchen: With cabins, baches, holiday units, and villas, there is no need to cram the family into one room. We had a villa, allowing us to sleep in a separate room from the girls. (see details below)
Families with children: The beachfront is nature’s playground, but if that’s not enough, the resort has plenty of facilities ranging from giant jumping pillows to a private spa pool (see below for details).
Groups: When you are travelling with friends, extended family, or other groups, it’s nice to find a place with options that hold up to 10 guests. Or, stay in adjoining campsites.
Tent and campervan enthusiasts: Okay, this isn’t us, but if it’s you, there are 250 camping sites with free facilities (see below for details).
Resort lovers: There are plenty of resort activities available for those who leave the stunning beach long enough to do something else. (see below for details)
Almost, but not quite for everybody
Couples who stay in 5-star luxury with room service: If this is you, check out these Bay of Plenty options instead of Papamoa.
Young people who like to stay in backpackers within walking distance to the popular city bars: If you fit this bill, you might be happier in Tauranga. Although, before you book, check out this hot spot (Papamoa Beach Tavern), just a 7-minute walk away.
Our Beachfront Villa at Papamoa Beach Resort
Our beachfront villa was impressive, with oceanview floor-to-ceiling windows and a sliding patio door. The tastefully decorated main living area had a table, as well as a surprisingly comfortable queen bed. We also had a small kitchen, a bathroom, and a second room with two twin beds.
Despite being right on the beach and carpeted, it was surprisingly clean and without sand residue indoors. The bathroom was the only area completely understated but also clean.
Keeping us comfortable, our villa had a heat pump, which can act as an air conditioner in the summer. It also offered electric blankets.
Our patio had a second table, and this was where we chose to start our days with coffee and breakfast as we watched one of the day’s first sunrises. Sunrise in Papamoa is only three minutes after the sunrise in Gisborne, a city that prides itself on being the first in the world to see the first light each day.
Beach resort life
Very much a classic New Zealand accommodation, we had everything we needed and more. There was enough to do at the beach resort that we never had to leave (but we did). The surf-patrolled beach offers safer swimming, or you can surf, fish, or just have a walk along the white sands.
Aside from ocean activities, we had access to bicycles, a private spa (requires booking), a library, giant jumping pillows, an adventure playground, a mini-tennis court, a petanque court, and a library.
Plus, there are fun bikes and cruiser bikes available for an extra fee. If that’s not enough, the tour desk can arrange other local options.
Papamoa campsites and shared facilities
In total, there are 250 terraced campsites earmarked for tents or campervans. There are also a fixed number of “Weekenders.” These are owned campsites allowing owners to keep their camper there all year but are limited to 100 annual days of use.
Campers have access to free Wifi, hot showers, modern bathrooms (plus family bathrooms), 2 communal kitchens with refrigerators and freezers, covered barbeque areas, and dining areas with Sky TV.
Papamoa as a base for exploring the Bay of Plenty
With a list of things we wanted to do in Mount Maunganui and Tauranga, we had considered staying in one of those two cities. Had we stayed in one, we still would have needed to drive to the other, and we had the advantage of the beach. In retrospect, we made the right choice, as we had the best of all worlds.
The only downside was that we didn’t allocate enough time to do it all. Bay of Plenty highlights include:
- Tour a kiwifruit orchard.
- Hike up Mt. Maunganui and enjoy the views.
- Get out on the water and spot dolphins.
- Admire street art in either Tauranga or Mt. Maunganui.
- Night kayaking to a canyon filled with glow worms.
- Take a day trip to Hobbiton and enjoy the shire and movie sets from Lord of the Rings.
- Visit Rotorua and enjoy the geothermal activity, adventure, or relaxation.
The ideal place for a conference
Papamoa Beach Resort is the perfect mix of work and play, creating the ideal location for a conference. Sunrise, a morning swim, then a few lectures indoors or an afternoon meeting out on the sundeck. The conference facility seems well equipped.
General information on Papamoa Beach Resort
The Bay of Plenty is a great addition to any North Island New Zealand itinerary.
- The Papamoa Beach Resort is at 535 Papamoa Beach Road.
- Note: the free Wifi is very limited, and payment plans are available for purchasing additional Wifi.
- There is plenty of open parking on-site, plus one allocated spot for each unit or campsite.
Save on your NZ trip with these resources
These are our go-to companies when we travel. We believe this list to be the best in each category. You can’t go wrong using them on your trip too.
- Flights: we use Expedia for the best and cheapest flight options.
- Accommodations: we use Booking.com (hotels) or BookABatch (self-contained).
- Cars (gas or electric): we use RentalCars to search for deals and dealer ratings.
- Campervans or Motorhomes: we use Campstar where Albom Adventures readers get a 3% discount
- Activity discounts: we check Bookme.com for discounts of up to 70% on activities.
- Private guides: we love the private guides at Tours by Locals
- Travel Insurance: our go-to is World Nomads*.
Check out our travel resources page for more companies that we use when you travel.
*World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
Save for your travels to the Bay of Plenty
If you enjoyed this article, please share it on social media and save it for later on Pinterest.
Will you stay at Papamoa Beach Resort when you visit the Bay of Plenty?
You might also like:
- What to Do in Rotorua New Zealand: A First Timer’s Guide
- Free Things to do in Rotorua, New Zealand
- 25 Fun Things to do in Tauranga and Mt Maunganui
- Kiwifruit Country: See What We Found on a New Zealand Kiwi Fruit Farm
Disclaimer: We were guests of the Papamoa Beach Resort. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.
It looks lovely there. Sadly we didn’t get to The Bay Of Plenty during our 9 months in New Zealand.
Would love to go back there, when we win the lottery…
Jessi (Two Feet, One World)
I’ve not spent much time in Papamoa but I do think of it as the quintessential NZ beach town – which this has confirmed! What a lovely spot 🙂
Lisa (Travel Loving Family)
Wow what a view!! And that beach at sunset is particularly incredible;)
Camila @ Adventitious Violet
Wow how amazing to have such a view and so close to the beach!!
Looks perfect – family friendly, lots of activities and an outdoor deck. I’d definitely stay there!
So gorgeous!! I’d love to visit NZ one day.
No matter how many times I see the sunset or sunrise it never gets old, and this looks like a magical place to take in the show! There’s nothing like the ocean is there?!
Looks like a great beach resort! I especially love the Jacuzzi! I do miss having one!
Sharee (Inspire Family Travel)
We absolutely love New Zealand, and look forward to returning one day! It’s great to have knowledge of places to stay from people who have already been there, so I will be noting this for the future – thank you!
I’m dying to go the Bay of Plenty! Spent a bit of time on the North Island and now regret not making it to Papamoa. This resort looks like our vibe. Laidback, great views, outdoor spaces to enjoy the sunrise, sunset and a good meal. Love the idea of being among the first in the world to see sunrise.
That beach looks amazing. What a fabulous view, Rhonda! These look as though they’ve got great facilities for families too.
What a gorgeous place! I love beach resorts and could totally picture myself having a relaxing holiday here!
I love New Zealand so much! It’s such a gorgeous country. I haven’t been up to the Bay of Plenty yet but will definitely keep this resort in mind for when I do 🙂
WOW this looks incredible and that view! Heaven!
That is how I felt every time I looked out our window, starting from first light.
I have a very dear friend in NZ and would love to visit one day
Be sure to tack on plenty of time to tour the country, including the Bay of Plenty.
That is such a beautiful view. The resort looks really nice, it looks great for whole family and would fit them as well.
It’s great for everyone. There are plenty of families and things for them to do, it being beachside, it is also a great place for adults to relax.
Thanks for another glorious adventure Rhonda. I always love your posts on travel.
The color of that ocean water and the beautiful sunrise is spectacular- looks like a wonderful vacation
It was even more beautiful live.
That sunrise was definitely worth getting up for! How lovely to be right on the ocean, I’d love waking up and seeing that right out of my bedroom! It’s great that there’s lots for families, I think I’d have to have a go on the jumping pillows, I used to love those when I was a kid!
Good news – jumping pillows are fun for adults too, and those are for all ages. And as for the sunrise, it was totally worth getting up for.
This is some place I’d love to visit! Nothing beats up the feeling of joy and bless when waking up to a beautiful sunrise! Lovely resort indeed
That is exactly how I felt each morning when I woke up and watched the sunrise.
Handmade Jewelry Haven
It looks like a stunning beach! I wonder if there is any seaglass there? 😉
Thanks for sharing,
We walked quite a bit on the beach and didn’t see any sea glass, but we were not looking for it either.
oooooh yes! we hope to make it to NZ someday with our crew. This is a fantastic review. I love all the pictures that really help me picture our family there!
I hope you get a chance to bring the family. New Zealand is paradise, and Papamoa it the place to enjoy it.
I love how close your villa is to the beach! You even have shops and restaurants within walking distance! What a convenient location.
Yes, we were the perfect distance from the beach. Close enough to hear the waves, far enough to have a bit of privacy.
Lydia C. Lee
That looks beautiful!! You really sell NZ to me!
Is it time to start planning your trip.
What a great place to stay, something for everyone. – Margy
Very true. There really is something for everyone from campers to those who like a bit of pampering.
Kay L. Davies
More than ever now, I want to visit New Zealand. Unfortunately, I don’t think I could manage 30+ hours in a plane crossing the Pacific, but I can dream. Your photos almost make the dreams come true. Thank you so much!
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel
Perhaps you could break up the flight. I am guessing you are in the UK if the flight is that long. Perhaps, a stopover in the Dubai, then Singapore, Sydney and finally New Zealand with plenty of time to explore the country and time to relax at the beach too. . Then you could go back the other way and circumnavigate the globe. We did it a few years ago, it was awesome.
Nothing better than having a room on the ocean. It’s my favorite place to be. Lovely place that looks like lots of fun.
Have a fabulous day, Rhonda. ♥
My favourite place too. I love sitting out on the deck and enjoying my breakfast.
What a nice place both modern and quaint the perfect holiday, lovely photo of the path leading to the beach and also the morning sunrise 🙂
Have a villatastic week Rhonda 🙂
Wow, this is the kind of relaxing paradise I’ve always dreamt to experience. The Papamoa Beach Resort is something I really have to consider If I get to New Zealand, since it offers not just the relaxing environment, but also the stunning scenery. The beachfront Villa is really that beautiful, and I wouldn’t mind staying there forever if that’s the kind of view I get. Thank you for sharing this with us.
LOL – I wonder if forever would be too long, but I don’t think so. It really was quite a bit of paradise.
I have loved reading blogs based on New Zealand before and I loved reading your experience too!
The beachfront villa seems majestic! I would love to spend my entire day idling there, or planning a fun activity in the sun! Thanks for a wonderful read!
I’m not good at idling, but if I were, this would be the perfect place to do it.
How fabulous and gorgeous!
Yes, both nature and villa.
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Heck with camping – I’m staying at one of those nice villas! Looks incredibly clean and new as well.
LOL – that was exactly my thoughts, and I loved every minute in my villa.
So serene Rhonda. We tripped through the Bay of Plenty one fine Saturday afternoon. Perfect weather for enjoying the peaceful water and deep blue skies. This offers a different feel too; Maori country, a bit out of bonds when pondering land rights from what I heard. Makes for a fascinating, beautiful, wilderness feel to it all.
Thanks for sharing 🙂
Yes, there was a bit of a rugged wild feel to the beach and surrounding grasses.