Situated right on SH-2, a few miles inland from Papamoa Beach, Te Puke is most famous for being 'Home of the Kiwi Fruit'. The name means 'the hill', and the main industry here is agriculture. Dairy farming, citrus fruit cultivation and horticulture provide the backbone of the town's economy, together with a booming tourist trade.
The centre of town is around Jellicoe Street (the main SH-2), between the junctions of Belvedere Street and King Street. This is where all the main shops, bars and restaurants reside. Ignore the urban, industrial feel, and you'll find some very boutique, artisan stores selling everything from fine pate to wooden crafts.
It's worth popping into the Te Puke Information Centre in Jellicoe Street, near the corner of Boucher Avenue, to find out what's going on in town during your stay. In 2008, Te Puke was a destination on one of the legs of the US adventure game show "The Amazing Race", and tourism increased dramatically as a result of its 15 minutes of TV fame. But arguably the reason most people come here, is to visit the Kiwi 360 kiwifruit farm. Hard to miss, thanks to the huge green and yellow kiwi sitting on the grass outside, the orchard has a cafe and shop, and lets visitors trundle around the grounds in 'kiwikarts'.
Te Puke War Memorial Hall (on the dual carriageway section of Jellicoe Street) is an important part of town life. Here you'll find plays, concerts, exhibitions and indoor sports, and an hour spent here will have you feeling like a local in no time. Green spaces include Centennial Park in the west (surrounded by mobile homes but with great views of the Papamoa Hills), Donovan Park (lots of walking paths and a stream), Jubilee Park, and the Te Puke Domain. Other attractions include paintball, horse riding and scenic helicopter flights.
Te Puke is easily accessible from Tauranga (28km), Papamoa (18km), Rotorua (60km) and Whakatane (75km).