Complete Travel Guide to Mount Maunganui and Tauranga, New Zealand

by Layla
Published: Last Updated on

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

 

Complete Travel Guide To

Mount Maunganui And Tauranga, New Zealand

 

Mount Maunganui (nicknamed ‘The Mount’) is a laid-back, peninsular beach town, located within the sunny Bay of Plenty region, in the North Island of New Zealand. It forms part of – and is across the harbour from – the city of Tauranga.

Tauranga is a relaxed harbourside city, home to the largest port in New Zealand and it’s the fifth-largest city in New Zealand, due to development and population growth.

Mount Maunganui became one of my favourite places in the entire world, it really is a uniquely special place and I love it there. I have seen a lot of New Zealand however, my time living in Mount Maunganui, was a beachy, simple way of life.

Tauranga has become a popular place to visit due to its beautiful weather and it’s laid-back small city vibe.

Both Mount Maunganui and Tauranga are beautiful, easy-going and fun places to visit so from my collective time travelling and living there, I’ve created this Complete Travel Guide to Mount Maunganui and Tauranga, New Zealand.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Mount Maunganui

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Tauranga

 

 

COMPLETE TRAVEL GUIDE

TO MOUNT MAUNGANUI AND TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND

 

Location: Bay of Plenty region in the North Island of New Zealand

Population: 20,000 in Mount Maunganui, 130,000 in Tauranga – visitor numbers soar in summer peak months

Vibe: Laid-back, beachy sun-filled, surfer vibe with a stylish twist.

Climate: Warm & sunny climate. Described as a temperate oceanic climate. Well-known for having some of the best weather in New Zealand.
Summer – Highs between 25 – 28 | Winter – Highs of around 15 or 16 degrees

Must-Do: Hike up to the top of ‘the Mount’ and witness the incredible 360-degree views, from the ocean to the mountain ranges

 

 

Mount Maunganui And Tauranga Weather

and Best Time To Visit

 

Peak summer season in Mount Maunganui and Tauranga is December – February, although the best time to visit Mount Maunganui and Tauranga is late Spring, around October – November or late summer around March – April.

Mount Maunganui and Tauranga weather in November and March is around 22-25 degrees and so you’ll have plenty of sunny days. You’ll avoid the huge influx of tourists and also the higher ‘peak’ accommodation prices in December – February.

Of course, Mount Maunganui and Tauranga are still beautiful to visit in the peak summer times, you just might have to search a little harder for quiet or less crowded spots.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

 

How To Get To Mount Maunganui And Tauranga

 

By Flight

Mount Maunganui has no airport and so the nearest airport for international flights is nearby Tauranga airport. Tauranga airport serves international flights (usually via Auckland) and also domestic flights from the main New Zealand centers; Auckland, Rotorua, Hamilton, Wellington, or Christchurch.

 

By Bus

How to get to Mount Maunganui is pretty simple once you’re in New Zealand. I don’t currently drive, so to get to and from Mount Maunganui, I fly into Auckland airport and then I get the national Intercity bus service which is very popular amongst travellers.

It’s just a 4-hour ride from Auckland, you can catch the Intercity bus right at Auckland airport and it’s an incredibly picturesque journey. The Wild Kiwi and Stray Travel adventure bus tours also stop at Mount Maunganui.

 

By Boat

Many international cruise ships stop at Mount Maunganui port – if cruising is your thing.

 

By Car

I recommend renting a car for complete transport freedom around Tauranga and Mount Maunganui – Avis, Budget, Hertz and Thrifty all have rental desks at Tauranga airport. Or you can book your car rental online here in advance to avoid missing out.

 

From Tauranga Airport

Currently, there is no airport service to or from Mount Maunganui from Tauranga airport. There are taxis available at the airport such as Tauranga Mount Taxis or Uber is now available. Use Uber my referral code mr9ljb to get $10 off your first Uber ride.

 

 

Things To Do In Mount Maunganui And Tauranga

 

Mount Maunganui and Tauranga are laid-back, with mostly warm and sunny weather and both places offer something to do for everyone. From sunbaking on the beach to hiking to discovering gourmet food – you’ll be covered here.

The town of Mount Maunganui is quite unique and named after it’s resident, extinct volcano which was formed 2-3 million years ago. It’s officially known by its Māori name Mauao but is commonly known in New Zealand simply as The Mount. The town itself also gets referred to as ‘The Mount’, because the town sits at the bottom of the mountain.

The formation of the Mount has made this beach town unique, with the large volcano giving the town an amazing swimming beach (Mount Main Beach) on one side of its peninsula, and the sheltered Pilot Bay on the other side.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Pilot Bay on one side of the Mount

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Mount Main Beach on the other side.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

The Mount summit view of the peninsula on both sides.

 

Climbing the Mount (Mauao) in Mount Maunganui

One of the must-do activities in this city is climbing ‘The Mount’ mountain itself.
The Mount Summit Track is a moderate-hard, 45 min climb to the 232m summit, but you’ll be rewarded with panoramic, breathtaking views of the whole town and of both the harbour and beach sides of the peninsular.

There are two different routes up the mountain. It’s suitable for anyone of moderate fitness and yes, it can be done in trainers/sneakers – although take care as it’s quite steep in areas and there’s loose gravel, which makes the way down a bit trickier.

Many Mount locals climb it every day, using it as their local gym and you’ll often see a steady stream of climbers or hikers at sunrise. Sunset is also a very popular time to climb The Mount, to catch a gorgeous sunset view.

For the less adventurous hiker, there is The Mount Base Track that is 3 km and takes around 40 mins to complete. It is New Zealand’s most popular walk with extensive ocean views and white sand beach inlets along the way, where you can stop and take in the beauty of the coastline.

The well-maintained track is suitable for strollers, runners and groups of people and is easily accessible from anywhere around the base of the mountain.
One of the beach inlets off the base track is my local hang-out for those lazy beach days.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

View from The Mount summit.

 

Soak in the Mount Hot Pools

After a hike up or around The Mount, take a soak and relax in the Mount Hot Pools. The Mount Hot Pools are geothermically heated, natural saltwater pools, located at the bottom of The Mount and are a must-do in Mount Maunganui.

There are large activity pools, smaller passive pools, as well as private pools – all at different temperatures. The Mount Hot Pools are a unique feature of the town, and very popular with tourists and locals alike. They have won endless awards on TripAdvisor and are have been awarded Silver Qualmark status.

The Mount Hot Pools are open all day and into the evening and are also perfect for warming up in the winter when there’s a low wind chill.

TIP – Most apartments or hotels may have tourist discount vouchers available for the Mount Hot Pools – just ask at Reception where you’re staying.

 

Mount Maunganui Main Beach

On one side of the giant Mount is the Mount Main Beach, which is where everything happens. Learn to surf, do a bit of beach lounging, rent a SUP, try out Windsurfing, or play Volleyball.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Mount Main Beach.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Mount Main Beach

 

Watch cruise ships at Pilot Bay

Situated on the other side of the Mount is the sheltered Pilot Bay beach, where you can lay around on the beach and watch the cruise ships arriving and leaving. It’s a sheltered bay so it’s perfect for swimming too.
It also hosts some of the biggest cruise ships during the summer months including the grand Ovation of the Seas cruise liner.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Watch the cruise ships leave from Pilot Bay.

 

Walk to Moturiki Island (Leisure Island)

Moturiki Island is a small island that sits just off Mount Maunganui Main Beach and you can literally just walk out to it from the beach.
Connected to Mount Main Beach by a man-made land bridge, Moturiki is very accessible for an island. Moturiki has a colourful history including being inhabited by early Maori settlers, established as a blasting quarry in 1911 and then being made into an Aquarium and then a Water Park, which has left it with the local name ‘Leisure Island’.

Moturiki island is now a protected reserve and has a popular walking track from the beach to its northern tip, where you can see a spectacular blowhole shooting water upwards, usually during high tides and large ocean swells.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Moturiki island

 

Adrenalin Forest in Tauranga

Get your blood pumping with an aerial adventure that you shape yourself at Adrenalin Forest. Test your skills on this aerial obstacle course designed to be fun, but also both challenging and confidence building.

Challenges include the Indiana jump, wrecking balls, a commando flying fox and Tarzan jump, but don’t worry, you’re always attached to a safety line.

 

BayStation – Blokart and Drift Trikes

If you’re into Blokart Sailing or Drift Trikes, Baystation at Baypark Entertainment Zone is where it’s at. BayStation offers their electric Drift Trikes – unique three-wheeled machines – on an all-weather drifting track, in a specially designed indoor pavilion.

The Blokarts – their fun, fast, compact wind-powered go-karts – are available on a purpose-built outdoor track. These fun ‘Land Yachts’ don’t need you to have sailing experience – so everyone can have a go.

 

Explore The Strand and the waterfront in Tauranga city

For the foodies and nightlife lovers, check out the bars & restaurants covering the length of The Strand in Tauranga city. Try Lone Star Cafe & Bar, famous for its legendary burgers and ribs.

Or Brooklyn Patio and Eatery for wood-fired pizzas, cocktails and daily specials. And get your sports fix at Cornerstone Pub with their big outdoor screens and Sky Sports channels.

I love RYE Bar and Grill just around the corner from The Strand, who serve delicious Americana based food. They also do an awesome pineapple mojito – be forewarned they’re deliciously addictive.

You can check out the famous Hairy Maclary Sculptures on the Tauranga waterfront – too cute for words. I’m a sucker for anything dog-related.

Take in the waterfront harbour views or if you want to get on the water, you can rent kayaks or SUPs.

 

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Hairy Maclary Doggos

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

They all have little coats on, because it’s winter! – CUTE

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Tauranga Waterfront with bridge to Mount Maunganui in background

 

Visit McLaren Falls

Just 10 mins drive out of the laid-back city of Tauranga itself, you’ll find McLaren Falls, a picturesque parkland set alongside Lake McLaren.
McLaren Parkland is family-friendly and very popular for camping, kayaking, trout fishing, picnics, and bushwalking, it’s also host to a few summertime concerts.

Walk the short waterfall track to the beautiful and quaint waterfall McLaren Falls. After dusk, you can even spot glow worms either side of the track.

 

Visit 17th Avenue Historic Village in Tauranga

Whether you want to buy art, attend a workshop, or do some boutique shopping the 17th Ave Historic Village is a well-kept secret in Tauranga. Discover original and replica buildings from early Tauranga in natural bush surrounds and beautiful gardens.

Open seven days a week and entry is free.

 

Explore Tauranga Container Mall

Explore Tauranga’s recent creation, Our Place – a vibrant, shipping-container city or shopping complex, in the heart of downtown Tauranga.

Made entirely from shipping containers, Our Place has Artisan Retailers, Boutique food offerings,  a community garden, live music, community workshops, pop-up bars, and a pop-up kitchen that hosts food rescue groups.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

 

Browse Mount Maunganui Markets

For local craft buys or souvenirs, don’t miss the Little Big Markets held on the first Saturday of every month in Coronation Park.

The Little Big Markets have the vision to create a place to bring communities together and showcase a range of local artists, artisan and local produce stalls. The ideal place to buy all things craft-ey or locally-made.

TIP – No money to spend on shopping? The markets are free to enter, so sometimes I go only for the yummo food trucks and the atmosphere.

 

Festivals in Mount Maunganui

There are a few festivals held in Mount Maunganui:

  • One Love Festival – Reggae & Roots Music Festival
  • Bay Dreams Festival (usually held in January)
  • Tauranga Coffee Festival – (I know, right – coffee addicts unite!)
  • Tauranga Food Wine and Music Festival

Many more – check out EventFinda for all festivals and events in Mount Maunganui and Tauranga.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Tauranga Coffee Festival

 

 

 

Where To Stay – Mount Maunganui Accommodation

 

Belle Mer Beachfront Apartments

Self Serviced Apartments – Mid-range – $$

  • Heated outdoor pool
  • Beachfront – opposite Mount Maunganui Main Beach
  • Mount Maunganui accommodation perfect for couples
Check prices now >>>

 

 

The Pacific Apartments

Apartments – Luxury – $$$

  • Large balconies and floor-to-ceiling glass windows
  • Flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi
  • Hot Tub, Fitness Centre and Heated Outdoor Swimming Pool
  • 2, 3 & 4 bed apartments – great for groups or families
Check prices now >>>

 

 

Mount Backpackers

Backpackers/Hostel – Budget – $

  • Ultimate location – 5 mins walk from the beach
  • Cheap Surfboard and Bike rental
  • Outdoor BBQ area, TV area with Netflix & free Wi Fi
Check prices now >>>

 

For more details on these places to stay, or for more Mount Maunganui accommodation and Tauranga accommodation options, check out my Mount Maunganui and Tauranga Accommodation Guide.

 

You can also use Airbnb for Mount Maunganui accommodation. Use my Airbnb coupon code for $75 AUD discount off your first Airbnb booking.

 

 

Where To Stay – Tauranga Accommodation

 

The Tauranga on The Waterfront Motel

Motel apartments – Mid-range – $$

  • Motel rooms with uninterrupted water views
  • Peaceful location – still only 10 mins walk from the city
  • Satellite TV and free high-speed Wi-Fi
Check prices now >>>

 

 

Sebel Trinity Wharf Tauranga

Hotel – Luxury – $$$

  • Stunning Harbour Views
  • Flat-screen TV’s, Satellite TV and unlimited Wi-Fi
  • Fitness Centre and Infinity Swimming Pool
  • Hotel has 24/7 Reception, free parking, room service and a private pontoon
Check prices now >>>

 

 

Arthouse Boutique Backpackers Hostel

Backpackers/Hostel – Mid-range – $

  • Excellent location – very close to town and the InterCity bus stop
  • Creatively designed, friendly and chilled hostel – for relaxing not partying!
  • Great for couples or solo travellers – beautiful double rooms available & dorm rooms
Check prices now >>>

 

For more details on these places to stay, or for more Mount Maunganui accommodation and Tauranga accommodation options, check out my Mount Maunganui and Tauranga Accommodation Guide.

 

You can also use Airbnb for Tauranga accommodation. Use my Airbnb coupon code for $75 AUD discount off your first Airbnb booking.

 

 

Where To Eat And Drink In Mount Maunganui And Tauranga

 

The ‘main street’ or ‘strip’ area – Maunganui Road – is the most happening area in Mount Maunganui as this is where you’ll find the popular bars and and trendy eateries, restaurants and cafes.

In Tauranga the best eateries, restaurants and bars are on The Strand, with a few more around the waterfront and city centre area.

 

Mount Maunganui Cafes

 

Cafe Eighty Eight – This cafe on the main strip of Mount Maunganui stands out as having a bit of character and is my personal favourite. I love their unique decor, with retro armchairs in the window, art-deco mirrors and covered courtyard full of repurposed fence palings and pallet plants.

There’s something for everyone here, yummy counter food, amazing coffee, delectable smoothies, delicious breakfast and brunch options, plus plenty of vegetarian and vegan choices too.

 

Tay St Beach Cafe – This beach-side Mount Maunganui cafe is a favourite amongst the Mount locals with it’s laid-back charm and fresh food. It has a relaxed, beachy vibe, indoor and outdoor dining space and is dog and child friendly too.

The traditional Kiwi and Asian fusion cuisine on the menu, draws in the foodie crowds every day and the cafe boasts a gorgeous view over the sand dunes over to Tay St Beach.

 

LUCA Coffee shop – This boutique coffee shop pumps out amazing quality coffee and does it in a stylishly designed interior. If you’re a coffee snob like me, trust the local’s recommendation on this place, the coffee at Luca is superb quality and you’ll always get great service too.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Cafe Eighty Eight

 

 

Mount Maunganui Restaurants

 

The Pizza Library – Unique and iconic to the Bay of Plenty, Pizza Library is literally a library and book themed restaurant serving delicious, handcrafted gourmet pizza.
The dining experience is what attracts the crowds, set in a old-style library, all of the pizzas on their menu are named around famous novels such as Charlotte’s Web or Narnia.

 

Mount Social Club – Located in the downtown area of the Mount, here you’ll find eclectic bar grub served in a chilled hang-out environment.

The iconic Mount Social Club has been going since the 70’s and in 2014, it underwent a full makeover, using recycled, reclaimed building materials. The interior has a lot of funky, upcycled furniture and unique decor. Totally instagram worthy.

You’ll find gluten-free and vegan options here, plus the food at The Mount Social Club is created using only free range traceable, organic meat and fresh local produce.

 

Hide – Thirst & Hunger – Hide Bar is literally hidden and you’ll miss it if you blink. Hidden down a lane-way on the main strip, Hide Bar is THE place to go if you love beer, wine or cocktails and they do incredible food too. It’s a sunny courtyard by day, turning into a cool and lively bar by an open fire at night.

I adore their cocktails here, so much imagination and effort goes into them, I tried a Raspberry & Vanilla Vodka cocktail here that was SO good, I still dream about it.

 

Astrolabe Brew Bar – Astrolabe is a Mac’s brewery bar that has become Mount Maunganui’s famous gastro-bar. Lively and welcoming by day, but has a real buzz at night-time when it kicks the vibe and the music up a notch.

Popular with the backpacking crowd, Astrolabe hosts food specials almost every day and has a family pub style dining area, plus a huge outdoor beer garden.

 

Tauranga Cafes

 

The Nourished Eatery – This vegan and gluten free cafe on Willow Street, has drool worthy items on the their menu like; Banana Buckwheat Hotcakes with coconut yoghurt, Salted Caramel French Toast and Veggie Poke or Buddha bowls. Yummo.

I nommed an amazing Matcha Citrus latte here once and the staff really know their stuff when it comes to plant-based goodies.

 

Love Rosie Bakery & Cafe – Often mentioned as ‘the best cafe in Tauranga’, Love Rosie Bakery & Cafe offer quality, crafted and speciality cakes, desserts, sandwiches and excellent coffee.

This place is always busy, rammed with locals usually – owed to it’s outstanding reputation – and because it’s small, getting a seat can be tricky. So if you’re short on time, it’s best to visit after the lunch rush (but before they close at 3pm).

It’s located a little out of the town centre, but still only 20 mins walk up Cameron Road, then turn right onto Ninth Ave. When I did a house sit in The Avenues area, Love Rosie Cafe became my local coffee place. If you’re a coffee and cake connoisseur, it’s worth the walk – their cakes AND coffee are amazing.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Coffee & Cake utopia – at Love Rosie Cafe

 

 

Tauranga Restaurants

 

Lone Star Cafe & Bar – With a picturesque view of Tauranga Harbour, this place serves legendary burgers, prawns, ribs, huge steaks and sharing nacho plates. Large portions and reasonable prices. Plenty of drinks available here too, such as craft beer and cocktails.

 

Brooklyn Patio and Eatery for share plates, wood-fired pizzas, cocktails and daily specials. Eat and drink on their balcony for stunning harbour views. On a budget? Go at lunchtime for $15 daily lunch specials.

 

Cornerstone Pub offers a friendly atmosphere, big outdoor TV screens with all the Sky Sports channels and live music most nights, with no door cover charge.

 

Rye Bar & Grill – Located just around the corner from the Strand, is Americana themed Rye Bar & Grill. Rye specialise in Americana classics such as, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Ribs, Fillet Steaks and amazing burgers. I’ve eaten at many places in the world and this place is one of the best for quality food.

Their cocktails are superb too – I’m a huge fan of the Pineapple mojito, they go down waaay too easy.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Pineapple mojitos? Yea, just keep them coming.

 

 

Places To Eat: Vegetarian Or Vegan In Mount Maunganui

 

Mount Maunganui is definitely a place for the foodies, whether you’re gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan. You don’t have to look far to find delicious plant-based, natural food.

 

George Cafe is a great cafe for plant-based and home-made goodies and delicious coffee. Located right near around the corner from Omanu beach, it’s the perfect place for a pre or post-beach walk snack.

Grab an almond milk latte or a plant-based, homemade pastry from the counter. George also does a weekend, yummy sweet treat, (think plant-based vanilla doughnuts) – check their Instagram page for weekly teasers.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

George Cafe, Mount Maunganui

Mr Jacksons Plant-Based Vegan Food Truck can be found on Macdonald St, Mount Maunganui, and popping up at any festival in the Bay of Plenty area. This popular food truck makes delicious tofu burgers, pies, nachos, brownies and shakes – all vegan.

 

For great street food, try Johney’s Dumpling House which is located within the popular Rising Tide bar. This place is regularly jam-packed with crowds of locals, and is the perfect place for a weekend lunch or catch up with friends, over a cold craft beer.

Choose from a huge range of fruit beers, IPA’s, stouts, and ciders all made on-premises in their own brewery. Complete it with an order of delicious pan-fried or steamed Pork & Prawn, Triple Shroom or Vegetable Dumplings or steamed BBQ Pork Buns.

 

 

Where Are The Best Views And Photo Spots

In Mount Maunganui And Tauranga

 

Mount Summit – The summit of the Mount (of Mauao), is the best place to get a 360 degree view of Mount Maunganui town and beach, the inner harbour and port, the peninsula, Matakana island and all the way down the Bay of Plenty coastline. You can also see over to the Kaimai ranges, and as far as the Coromandel Peninsula on clear days.

 

Tauranga Harbour Waterfront – In Tauranga anywhere along the harbour or waterfront has great views. Walk along the harbour a little further to Elizabeth Street, for great views at the Matapihi Footbridge lookout.

 

Otumoetai – Catch any bus to the suburb of Otumoetai and walk the Waikareao Estuary Walk, which follows the peninsula round, for beautiful views of the city and of the Mount. It’s an walking excellent track, made up of a mixture of sealed footpaths, gravel tracks and boardwalks.

Because Otumoetai is only 30 mins walk from Tauranga city, you can do just part of the loop walk and get on a bus back to Tauranga city. No hiking footwear needed and you’ll pass three cafes on the way to re-fuel.

You can even do the full estuary loop walk (10km) if you’re keen. At sunset, you’ll see lots of mud flat birds out foraging.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

View from Mount Summit

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Views from Tauranga Harbour walkway

 

 

Best Instagram Spots In Mount Maunganui

 

  • Summit of The Mount overlooking the city
  • Street Art & Wall Murals on Mount Maunganui Road
  • Walk out to Moturiki (Leisure Island) at sunset to get view of The Mount, the beach and of the town
  • ‘Wings’ wall mural on Tauranga Waterfront

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

View from Moturiki Island

 

 

Getting Around And Transport In Mount Maunganui And Tauranga

 

Public Transport

Bus is the easiest way to get around Mount Maunganui and Tauranga on a budget. There’s no local train service here in the Bay of Plenty, although there is a regular bus network called BayBus that serves Tauranga, Rotorua, Whakatane, Te Puke and Katikati.

The bus service that runs between Mount Maunganui town, Bayfair shopping area and Tauranga City is called the BayHopper service.

The BayHopper buses in Tauranga and Mount Maunganui aren’t as regular as you’d find in a city, so always check the timetables online.

 

Taxi

Taxi is the only way to get around at night in some areas. Buses stop running quite early on weekend nights, so always check Bayhopper bus timetables.
If we were out at a bar in Mount Maunganui town at the weekend and missed the last bus back to Bayfair or Papamoa, we used to get a taxi. Or sometimes, we’d walk all the way back along the beach – depending on our mood!

You can call local taxis Tauranga Mount Taxis or just use Uber. Use my Uber referral code mr9ljb to get $10 off your first Uber ride.

 

Car Rental

As Mount Maunganui is on a peninsula at the southern end of Tauranga Harbour, driving is the most convenient form of transport for visiting Mount Maunganui and Tauranga. And for doing day trips from this area.

As I don’t currently drive I do use the public transport but I find it very limiting, especially for day trips. So to explore Mount Maunganui or Tauranga and the surrounding area with complete freedom, renting a car is the most effective option. Book your rental car online in advance here, with RentalCars.com to get some great deals.

Once in Mount Maunganui, you can rent bikes from many places in town and you can cycle around the Mount or Tauranga easily, as there are many cycle tracks and beautiful routes to choose from.

 

 

Day Trips From Mount Maunganui And Tauranga

 

Rotorua

For true kiwi culture and history take a drive just one hour south from Mount Maunganui and you’ll find Rotorua, the home of ‘Maoridom’ and the cultural hub of New Zealand.
Steeped in history, you can take a historical tour of a living Maori village, take part in a traditional ‘hangi’ cooked in the steaming ground, experience the geothermal natural wonders of a geothermal/cultural park or explore the Rotorua lakes.

Due to the volcanic activity in the geothermal parks of Rotorua , you will find geysers, thermal mud pools and colourful sinter terraces. You can book through a tour company and visit the Kuirau Park, Te Puia Park or Orakei Korako area.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Lake Tarawera at Rotorua Lakes

 

 

Hobbiton

For a taste of ‘Middle Earth’, no trip to this area of New Zealand is truly complete until you’ve seen a real Hobbit hole. Hobbiton attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year and is a charming and magical place to visit.
I’ve been lucky enough to have visited many times as my partner used to work there as a Gardener and it is only 1 hour drive away from Mount Maunganui.

New Zealand is famous for being the filming locations for the trilogy movies, Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit.
Setup by the director Peter Jackson, Hobbiton was created as the location of ‘The Shire’ depicted in the movies and is one of the few existing movie set locations, that is open to the public.

After filming The Hobbit trilogy, Peter Jackson left behind the beautiful movie set you’ll see today, showcasing 44 permanently reconstructed Hobbit Holes and The Green Dragon Inn, all set amongst the green, rolling hills of a working sheep farm.

The only way to experience Hobbiton is by guided tour. Although you can drive directly to Hobbiton yourself and go in the Shires Rest cafe for coffee or lunch, you cannot access the movie set unless you are accompanied by a Hobbiton tour guide in a tour group. Most tours that you book, will offer transport to and from where you’re staying in Tauranga, Auckland or Rotorua.

It’s a must-see if you’re a movie fan, Hobbiton is as vivid, charming and authentic in real life as it is in the movies.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

 

White Island

If you like unique nature experiences and want to walk on a live volcano, (who doesn’t right), then a tour to White Island is for you. Whakatane is a pretty beach town just 1 hours drive down the coast from Mount Maunganui and it’s here you can pick up a boat that takes you over to White Island.

White Island (Whakaari) lies 49km off the coast of Whakatane and is one of the worlds easily accessible volcanoes. Guided tours are available every day and gas masks and hard hats are provided as this active volcano is still very active!

Billowing clouds of smoke from White Island can be seen on a clear day from all down the Eastern Bay of Plenty. A guided tour will take you around steam vents, bubbling mud pits, and boiling volcanic streams.

UPDATE: Note – In light of the recent tragedy on White Island, in which the volcano erupted whilst tourists were visiting, I send my heartfelt, deepest sympathies to the families of the people, who lost their lives there.
Everyone must make their own decision about visiting White Island, but for now White Island is closed to tourists, until further notice.

 

 

Shopping In Mount Maunganui And Tauranga

 

For luxury shopping or shopaholics, the ‘Mount Mainstreet’ strip of Mount Maunganui (Maunganui Rd) is adorned with boutique stores. From beach boho brands like Neon Gypsy and TigerLily to exclusive designer brands, you’ll find it all here. Mount Mainstreet is lined with phoenix palm trees, and only a few mins walk to the beach, so you’ll always feel in ‘beachy mode’ when you’re shopping here.

For an affordable, high-street shopping experience, get to Bayfair Mall, the biggest shopping mall in the North Island, outside of Auckland and Wellington. You’ll find brands like Mecca|Maxima, Seed Heritage, and Peter Alexander. Plus all the high street brands, surf and streetwear, outdoor gear, department stores, trendy cafes, eateries and a cinema.

Tauranga Crossing in the suburb of Tauriko is a large, contemporary mall with popular brands such as; H&M, North Beach and Platypus. Plus it has a dining precinct full of amazing global eateries, an outdoor town centre and a cinema complex. It’s a vibrant shopping centre with a unique design – worth exploring.

Papamoa Plaza and Fashion Island Outlet in the suburb of Papamoa are great for shopping too. You’ll find department stores and lots of eateries and cafes in the Plaza and heaps of outlet stores in Fashion Island carrying brands such as; Decjuba, Cotton On, Skechers, Puma, Under Armour and Converse.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Mount Main Street – Maunganui Road

 

Supermarkets

  • Countdown – in Bayfair Mall and in Papamoa Plaza
  • New World – Cnr Tweed St & Maunganui Rd
  • Pak n Save – Tauranga on Cameron Rd, Papamoa (oppo the Plaza), and one in Tauranga Crossing

Discount or Department Stores

  • Kmart – in Bayfair Mall
  • Farmers – in Bayfair Mall and at Tauranga Crossing
  • The Warehouse – Cameron Road in Tauranga & Papamoa Plaza

 

 

Where For Health And Wellness In Mount Maunganui And Tauranga

 

For Yoga

  • Mount Yoga for Bikram and Hot Yoga classes. (On Tawa St in Mount Maunganui).
  • House of Yoga for Vinyasa Flow, Yin, Pregnancy, Meditation & Restorative yoga classes (On Newton St in Mount Maunganui).

 

For Mindfulness or Meditation Classes

  • Mind Your Karma Retreat Centre is ran by Kati Ludwig, check out her Facebook page for classes. (On Oceanbeach Rd, Mount Maunganui).
  • Meditation Tauranga – For online and drop-in Group Meditation classes. Check their website for class details.

 

For Spa Days

  • Mount Skin and Body – For facial or body treatments, massage or IPL. (Maunganui Rd, Mount Maunganui).
  • Mount Hot Pools – For soaking in naturally hot, saltwater pools. (Adams Ave, Mount Maunganui).

 

For Health Shops

  • Huckleberry NZ – Organic Grocer – for natural, organic and gluten free foods, bulk whole foods and natural beauty & skincare products. Has refill hub, cafe and instore Naturopath. (MacDonald St, Mount Maunganui).
  • The Source Bulk Foods– Organic and natural bulk wholefoods. (Bayfair Mall, Girven Rd, Mount Maunganui).

 

 

Alial Travel Gal’s Personal Recommendations:

In Mount Maunganui And Tauranga

 

  • The Mount Main Beach for beach hangs.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

 

  • Hanging at Pilot Bay for watching cruise ships leave.

 

  • Walking the Mount Base Track and lounging or sunbaking on the tiny beach inlets.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

 

  • Brunching at Cafe 88

 

  • Check out the wall murals on Maunganui Road

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

 

  • Drinking any of the amazingly put-together cocktails at Hide Bar

 

  • Catching the sunset from the top of The Mount Summit

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

  • Buy Fish & Chips from Mount Fish and Chips on Maunganui Rd – and for the ultimate Kiwiana dining experience – this is best eaten on the beach.

 

  • Nomming all the vegan and home-made treats at George Cafe by Omanu Beach
Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Vegan Vanilla Doughnuts at George Cafe

 

  • Sit at the top of Mt Drury (it’s only a tiny hill) with a beer, to catch the sunset

 

  • Grab a Copenhagen Cones after an energetic walk or hike up or around the Mount – a post-Mount walk ritual for many locals.
Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Post-climb ice cream from Copenhagen Cones

 

Being in Mount Maunganui and Tauranga is serene with a beachy energetic underflow – it feels simply blissful. It is small and in a very isolated part of the world, however it’s charming and laid-back character will win you over.

Take it slow, spend some time and unwind here, and you’ll experience the true blissful vibe and atmosphere of Mount Maunganui and Tauranga.

Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

Beachy

 

Happy & Safe Travels

Alial 🙂

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, we receive a small commission. This will never cost you any extra and often, you receive a special discount. This support helps me keep my website going and we appreciate your support!

 

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Mount Maunganui Tauranga Mount Maunganui accommodation

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3 comments

Pat 22 December 2019 - 7:32 PM

We were here in March 17, a first return for me after a 38 year absence. You don’t mention. Bobby’s Fish n Chips in Tauranga, a beaut spot on a warm day sitting dockside eating some of the best fish in Kiwiland. Hope to return soon!! Thanks for the memories.

Reply
Layla 23 December 2019 - 12:57 PM

Thanks for reading Pat. I don’t know Bobby’s Fish n Chips in Tauranga, but always good to find other great recommendations. And I agree, it is totally the best eating Kiwi fish n chips by the ocean 🙂

Reply
Naomi Kerapa 27 July 2020 - 6:53 AM

Maoao spelt incorrectly above (mauao)
Excellent capture of Tauranga. Yes, Bobby’s is very iconic. Very popular fish n chip place
in Tga.

Reply

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