Explore Mount Maunganui New Zealand: A Visitor's Guide

Mount Maunganui Highlights

  • Mount Maunganui is a popular tourist destination in New Zealand, known its stunning beaches and outdoor activities.
  • Once a separate town, Mount Maunganui was amalgamated into Tauranga in 1989.
  • The main beach in Mount Maunganui has been voted as the best beach in New Zealand, with its pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters.
  • Visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities, climbing the majestic Mount Maunganui summit to relaxing in the Mount Hot Pools.
  • Mount Maunganui is also a great place to explore the local culture and art scene, with many galleries and museums to visit.
  • Whether you're looking for a relaxing beach holiday or an adrenaline-filled adventure, Mount Maunganui is the perfect place to visit in New Zealand.

Beaches and more

Situated in the Bay of Plenty region on the North Island of New Zealand, Mount Maunganui offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and vibrant culture.


Mount Maunganui, also known as Mauao, is a resort town that boasts of New Zealand's best beach. With its golden sand, clear turquoise waters, and breathtaking views, it's no wonder that this beach has gained such recognition. Located just a couple of hours from Auckland, Mount Maunganui attracts big summer crowds with its seemingly endless beach and iconic mountain hike. Whether you're a sunbather, a surfer, or simply someone who enjoys the sound of crashing waves, Mount Maunganui Beach has something for everyone. In fact, it has been crowned the 'Best Beach in New Zealand' by TripAdvisor and ranks among the top 25 best beaches in the world.


But Mount Maunganui is more than just a beach destination. The town is nestled at the base of an extinct volcano, also called Mount Maunganui or Mauao. Standing at 232 meters above sea level, this majestic volcano, also known as Mt Maunganui, offers panoramic views of the ocean, coastline, and Tauranga's harbor. A hike to the summit of this peninsula is a must-do activity for any visitor, providing an opportunity to connect with nature and immerse oneself in the beauty of the surroundings.


In addition to its natural wonders, Mount Maunganui is also home to a vibrant art scene. Local galleries showcase a diverse range of artwork, from traditional Maori art to contemporary masterpieces. Immerse yourself in the local culture and discover the unique artistic expressions that make this town so special.


Whether you're seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural exploration, Mount Maunganui has it all. Join us as we explore the top attractions and activities that make this town a must-visit destination in New Zealand.


Things to do in Mount Maunganui


1. Ascend the Majestic Mount Maunganui Summit

One of the most iconic attractions in Mount Maunganui is the summit of Mount Maunganui itself. This extinct volcano, standing at 232 meters above sea level, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding area and is a must-visit for any visitor.

The mountain, known as Mauao in Maori, holds great cultural significance to the local Maori people. According to legend, Mauao was a hill with no name until it fell in love with the beautiful hill Puwhenua. In a desperate attempt to win her love, Mauao asked the patupaiarehe, magical forest people, to drag him towards the ocean. As the sun rose, Mauao was caught by the morning sun and became the majestic mountain we see today.

Climbing to the summit of Mount Maunganui is a popular activity among locals and tourists alike. The hike takes approximately 40 minutes, but the effort is well worth it for the stunning 360° views of the ocean, coastline, and Tauranga's harbor. Don't forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of this natural wonder in this popular place. The summit of Mount Maunganui rises 232 metres from the sea, making it a challenging yet rewarding hike.


2. Unwind at the Pristine Pilot Bay Beach

If you're looking for a more relaxed beach experience in Mount Maunganui, head to Pilot Bay Beach. Situated on the inner harbor side of the town, this beach offers a peaceful and sheltered environment for swimming and sunbathing.

Pilot Bay Beach is a popular spot for families and those seeking a quieter alternative to the main beach. The calm waters and gentle waves make it a safe and enjoyable place for children to splash around. The beach also provides a great spot for picnics and barbecues, with plenty of grassy areas and picnic tables available. If you're planning to drive, be sure to arrive in the morning to secure a good spot close by.

For those looking for a bit more excitement, Pilot Bay offers opportunities for water sports such as kayaking and paddleboarding. Explore the crystal-clear waters and enjoy the stunning views of Mount Maunganui from a different perspective.

Whether you're looking for a peaceful day at the beach or a fun-filled adventure on the water, Pilot Bay Beach is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the beauty of Mount Maunganui.


3. Adventure to Moturiki Island

Just off the coast of Mount Maunganui lies Moturiki Island, also known as Leisure Island. Connected to the mainland by a land bridge, this small island is a great option for those seeking a unique outdoor adventure.

Moturiki Island offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy. Take a leisurely walk around the island and discover its hidden coves and rock formations. Explore the rockpools and get up close to the marine life that inhabits the area. The island is also a popular spot for birdwatching, with a variety of native bird species to be found.

For the more adventurous, Moturiki Island is a great place for cliff jumping and rock climbing. Test your skills and take a leap of faith into the crystal-clear waters below. It's an exhilarating experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

No matter your preference, a visit to Moturiki Island is a must-do when exploring Mount Maunganui. Immerse yourself in nature and discover the beauty of this hidden gem in the Bay of Plenty.


4. Soak in the Relaxing Mount Hot Pools

After a day of exploring Mount Maunganui, treat yourself to some relaxation at the Mount Hot Pools. Located at the base of Mauao, these natural hot pools offer a perfect place to unwind and rejuvenate.

The Mount Hot Pools feature a range of mineral-rich pools, each with its own unique temperature and therapeutic benefits. Immerse yourself in the warm waters and feel the stress melt away as you take in the stunning views of Mount Maunganui.

The hot pools are a popular spot for both locals and visitors, providing a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you're looking to soothe tired muscles or simply enjoy some quiet time, the Mount Hot Pools are the ideal place to do so.

Don't forget to bring your towel and swimwear, as well as some sunscreen if you plan to enjoy the outdoor pools. Treat yourself to some well-deserved relaxation and experience the healing powers of the Mount Hot Pools during your visit to Mount Maunganui.


5. Experience the Thrill of Skydiving with a View

For the adrenaline junkies out there, a skydiving experience in Mount Maunganui is a must-do. Take the plunge and experience the thrill of freefalling from thousands of feet above the stunning Bay of Plenty.

Skydiving in Mount Maunganui offers a unique perspective of the town and its surroundings. As you soar through the sky, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the coastline, the ocean, and the majestic Mount Maunganui. It's an adrenaline-pumping experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Whether you're an experienced skydiver or a first-timer, there are options available for all skill levels. Professional instructors will guide you through the process and ensure your safety throughout the entire experience.

So why not take a leap of faith and see Mount Maunganui from a whole new perspective? Skydiving is an unforgettable adventure that will leave you feeling exhilarated and ready for more.


6. Immerse Yourself in Art at Local Galleries

Mount Maunganui is not only known for its natural beauty but also for its vibrant art scene. Explore the local galleries and immerse yourself in the rich artistic culture of the town.

The Mount Maunganui area is home to a variety of galleries, showcasing a range of artwork from both local and international artists. From traditional Maori art to contemporary masterpieces, there is something to suit every taste and preference.

Take a leisurely stroll through the galleries and admire the diverse range of artwork on display. Many galleries also offer the opportunity to meet the artists in person and learn about their creative process.

Whether you're an art enthusiast or simply curious about the local culture, a visit to the galleries in Mount Maunganui is a must-do. Immerse yourself in the beauty and creativity of the art world and discover the unique artistic expressions that make this town so special.


7. Take a Scenic Walk along Mount Maunganui Road

For those who enjoy leisurely walks and stunning views, a scenic walk along Mount Maunganui Road is a must-do. This picturesque road runs parallel to the coastline, offering breathtaking views of the ocean and the surrounding landscape.

The walk along Mount Maunganui Road takes you past charming cafes, boutique shops, and beautiful beachfront properties. Take your time to explore the area and soak in the laid-back atmosphere that characterizes Mount Maunganui.

As you stroll along the road, you'll be treated to stunning views of the coastline and the iconic Mount Maunganui. The sparkling blue waters and golden sand create a picturesque backdrop for your walk, providing plenty of photo opportunities along the way.

Whether you're an avid walker or simply looking for a peaceful way to enjoy the scenery, a walk along Mount Maunganui Road is one of the best things to do in Mount Maunganui. Lace up your walking shoes and get ready to be captivated by the stunning views that await you.


8. Prepare for Excitement with Whitewater Rafting

Looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure in the Bay of Plenty? Look no further than whitewater rafting in Mount Maunganui. Brace yourself for an exhilarating ride down the rapids and experience the thrill of this popular water sport.

  • Whitewater rafting is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the Bay of Plenty while getting your heart racing.
  • Professional guides will lead you through the rapids and ensure your safety throughout the adventure.
  • No prior experience is required, making it accessible to people of all skill levels.
  • Whitewater rafting is a thrilling activity that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
  • So get ready to paddle, navigate through the rapids, and experience the rush of whitewater rafting in Mount Maunganui.


9. Spend Quality Time at Maunganui Beach

Maunganui Beach, voted as the best beach in New Zealand, is a must-visit destination in Mount Maunganui. With its pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters, this beach offers the perfect setting for a day of sun, surf, and relaxation.

Maunganui Beach is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, making it a great spot for families with children. The gentle waves and lifeguard patrols ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

For those looking to learn how to surf, Maunganui Beach is the ideal place to take surf lessons. Professional instructors are available to teach beginners the basics of surfing and help them catch their first waves.

Whether you're lounging on the sand, building sandcastles with the kids, or riding the waves, Maunganui Beach is the perfect place to spend quality time with your loved ones. So grab your beach towel and sunscreen, and get ready to enjoy a day of fun and relaxation at Maunganui Beach.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Time to Visit Mount Maunganui?

The best time to visit Mount Maunganui is during the summer months, from December to February. The weather is warm and the town comes alive with vibrant energy. It's the perfect time to enjoy the stunning beaches and outdoor activities that Mount Maunganui has to offer.


Are There Any Entry Fees for the Attractions?

Most of the attractions in Mount Maunganui, such as the Mount Maunganui summit and the beaches, are free to visit. However, some attractions, such as the Classic Flyers Aviation Museum, may have entry fees. It's always best to check the specific attraction's website for the most up-to-date information on entry fees.


How to Get Around Mount Maunganui Conveniently?

Getting around Mount Maunganui is convenient and easy. The town is relatively small, and most attractions are within walking distance. However, if you prefer to use public transport, there are buses available that connect Mount Maunganui with other parts of the region.


Can You Suggest Activities for Families with Children?

Mount Maunganui offers a range of family-friendly activities that children will love. Some popular options include visiting Maunganui Beach, exploring Moturiki Island, and enjoying water sports such as kayaking and paddleboarding. These activities are safe and fun for children of all ages.


What Are the Must-Try Local Foods?

When in Mount Maunganui, be sure to try some of the local cuisine. Must-try dishes include fresh seafood, such as fish and chips or a seafood platter, as well as traditional Maori dishes like hangi, a slow-cooked meal prepared in an earth oven.


Recommendations for Evening Entertainment?

Mount Maunganui offers a vibrant nightlife scene, with a range of bars, clubs, and live music venues to choose from. Enjoy a night out on the town and experience the lively atmosphere that Mount Maunganui has to offer.


Tips for First-Time Visitors to Mount Maunganui?

For first-time visitors to Mount Maunganui, here are a few tips to make the most of your trip:

  • Pack sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.
  • Don't forget your camera to capture the stunning views and memorable moments.
  • Explore the local cuisine and try some of the must-try dishes.
  • Take the time to relax and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of this coastal town.


How to Respect the Local Culture and Environment?

Respecting the local culture and environment is important when visiting Mount Maunganui. Be mindful of the cultural significance of Mauao and treat it with respect. Dispose of your rubbish properly and follow any guidelines or rules for visiting protected areas. Show appreciation for the local culture and engage in sustainable tourism practices.


Are There Any Guided Tours Available?

Yes, there are guided tours available in Mount Maunganui. These tours offer the opportunity to explore the town and its surrounding areas with the guidance of knowledgeable professionals. Whether you're interested in hiking, cycling, or sightseeing, there is a guided tour available to suit your interests.


What to Do in Case of Emergency?

In case of an emergency in Mount Maunganui, dial 111 for emergency services. It's always a good idea to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, as well as familiarize yourself with the local emergency services and hospitals in the area.


Best Practices for Sustainable Tourism

To practice sustainable tourism in Mount Maunganui, follow these best practices:

  • Dispose of your rubbish properly and recycle whenever possible.
  • Respect the local flora and fauna by staying on designated trails and not disturbing the natural habitats.
  • Support local businesses and buy locally produced products.
  • Conserve water and energy by being mindful of your usage.
  • Practice responsible wildlife viewing and avoid feeding or disrupting the animals.