Mount Maunganui, Bay of Plenty

Mount Maunganui is a beach resort with an extinct volcano at the end of the strip of land, more like dune sand, that connects it to the mainland and Tauranga in the western Bay of Plenty.

Extinct Volcano ‘The Mount’

‘The Mount’ volcano, as both the volcano and town are often referred to, is a popular place for both locals and tourists to get some daily exercise by walking, or even running, up to the summit and back down again. Alternative and more leisurely walks around the Mount instead of up to the top can be chosen by anyone not wanting to go to the summit.

The views over islands such as Matakana Island, Mount Mauganui golden sandy beach and town, and across Tauranga, are worth the effort of going right up to the top at least once if you can! This famous landmark is 232 metres high and can be seen from all around the Bay of Plenty.

Beach

The golden beach extends over twenty kilometres to Papamoa in the East, and beyond, and it is perfect for playing beach games or swimming. You can also go surfing on long boards, and if you are inexperienced lessons can be had from New Zealand Surf School. If you are experienced, just hire out a board and wetsuit and get advice about surf conditions from any of the surfing shops.

Alternatively, sea kayaking is available… you can even kayak at night if you fancy something a bit different.

Accommodation and Campgrounds

You have a choice of hotels, motels, backpacker hostels, and camping or camper site pitches.
It is unusual to see in New Zealand but the northern end of the beach has apartment blocks and condos alongside a campsite with rows of campervans.

Some campervan pitches at the Mount Maunganui Domain Motor Camp are practically on the beach, right at the foot of the ‘Mount’.

Mount Maunganui Domain Motor Camp
Mount Maunganui Domain Motor Camp

I think to be sure of getting one of those beach front pitches in the height of summer you would have to book well in advance.

At other times of year such as spring and autumn you may be luckier at short notice but the beach front pitches are in demand.

In fact, I think it would be as well to book any accommodation well in advance at Mount Maunganui!

Hot Pools

The hot saltwater pools (chlorinated) are an attraction to be enjoyed with several different sized pools right up to one you can swim in and several for relaxing, including a child friendly toddler’s pool.

Walking and Tracks up the Mount

Caution Tracks Can be Slippery, Mount Maunganui Sign, Tauranga City

Both tracks are well maintained but have an uneven hard surface.

Although the tracks are relatively safe you should take care with your footing and look out for falling rocks (and runners overtaking you).

There are steps in places where it is really steep and I guess the track is around a metre wide.

In wet weather be careful you don’t slip.

Waikorire Track

The Waikorire Track is approximately 800 metres, is difficult, and takes around 20 minutes to get to the summit depending on your fitness levels.

Oruahine Track

Oruahine Track is classed as moderate and you can get to the summit in around 30 minutes (530 metres).

Other walks in New Zealand

Boat Trips and Cruises

There are a range of boat trips to be had from 45 minutes to a whole day, from dolphin watching to fishing charters.

Nightlife

For nightlife, the town has some lively bars and good restaurants to choose from, most busy during the summer months when it is reputed to be a bit of a party town, although I have not personally been out into the bars at night so I can’t say exactly how much of a party atmosphere there is. I’ve heard it is good for seeing in the New Year though.

Information Centre

The Information Centre is located near the hot pools and camp site at the bottom of the Mount. It’s quite well hidden and you can’t see it until you are practically at the door.

Airport

Tauranga does have an airport if you want to save driving time by getting a flight!