Mount Maunganui Area Guide
Mt Maunganui (232m) & Mt Maunganui beach
from Moturiki Island - © Naturespic.com
On one side of the peninsula lie the clear, sheltered waters of Tauranga Harbour, and on the other, the beautiful surf of Ocean Beach. In between, the busy strip of land is crowded with apartments, shops and restaurants, and has a reputation as a party town, particularly at New Year. It remains a good family holiday spot, though, playing host to surf lifesaving events, beach volleyball, sandcastle building, and surfing contests. It is also a fine place to learn to surf, with two surfing schools, and a new artificial surfing reef expected to be completed in 2006.
Away from the beach, there are excellent short walking tracks on the Mount, known to local Maori as Mauao, or 'caught by the dawn'. A 45-minute track around the base gives spectacular views of the ocean and harbour, with great fishing and picnic spots along the way. The one-hour walk to the summit is well worthwhile for the stunning, panoramic views it offers.
For a less strenuous walk, stroll around tiny Moturiki Island (Leisure Island), which is joined to the main beach at Mount Maunganui. There are great sea views from here, and spectacular geyser-like displays from the blow hole at the seaward end when the sea is rough.
Just across Marine Parade is Hopukiore (Mount Drury) with its Maori burial caves and terraced-evidence of historic Maori occupation. A walking track through the trees to the summit provides good views.
For relaxation, turn to the Hot Saltwater Pools at the foot of Mauao, where there are spa pools, private hot pools, and a tepid lap pool.
Along the coast, the great sweep of Mount Maunganui's Ocean Beach extends to Papamoa Beach, a pleasant spot away from the bustle of the Mount, and a great place for surfing, swimming, and relaxing.
Mount Maunganui is linked to Tauranga by a harbour bridge, and there is a ferry service in peak holiday season from December 26 to February 6.