Tauranga, the bubbly "Western Bay" city in the Bay of Plenty, straddles a sandy peninsula flanked by a sheltered harbour on one side and a fantastic surf beach on the other. Tauranga’s sandy beaches and weatherboard edifices give way to a veritable fruit bowl; the surrounding landscape is sprinkled with kiwi fruit vines and filled with avocado orchards and vineyards. The city holds enormous appeal for young families and professionals alike. Its scenic beauty and laidback lifestyle belie a thriving business, international trade, culture, fashion and horticultural science hub. The Port of Tauranga is New Zealand's largest port in terms of gross export tonnage. Tauranga gazes across the bay at Mount Maunganui, an extinct volcano. The white coastal surf beaches of "The Mount" are a huge drawcard during summer, when tourists flock in droves to the city. Tauranga’s cultural calendar may be more subdued than other major New Zealand cities, but its local cultural scene boasts a growing number of galleries and music events. During the long sub-tropical summer evenings, Tauranga’s liberal scattering of beachside cafes, bars and restaurants will more than satisfy the socialite in you. Its unhurried pace, uncongested streets, affordable cost of living and healthy coastal lifestyle make Tauranga an enviable destination, both short- and long-term. What is special or unique about your city? The region’s temperate climate, hours of sunshine and safe, white beaches are a draw for holidaymakers year round. Tauranga and the beachside town of Mt. Maunganui are dominated by the harbour and "the Mount", a 232-meter-high extinct volcano from which climbers can enjoy panoramic 360 degree views. The city’s population is 115,000 and is growing rapidly because of its broad appeal as a beautiful, comfortable and fun place to live. What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city? Tauranga is a water-lovers' delight due to its attractive beaches, safe harbour and natural hot-water pools. Boating, fishing, swimming and other outdoor recreational activities dominate. The residential area is surrounded by horticultural and farming land, yet 44 per cent of New Zealand’s population lies within just 200 kilometres of Tauranga. A strong café culture exists in the area, alongside outdoor recreational activities such as tramping, hunting, fly fishing, jet boating and yachting, which feature strongly. Are these impressions likely to change? While the region will continue to grow in population and popularity, the general impression of the place is unlikely to change. Only limited areas of high-rise development are allowed and access to beaches and greenbelt areas will remain.