While we think you need to spend MUCH more than 12 hours in Mount Maunganui, if you only have a few hours to check it out – it’s best to be organised! Here’s some of our top tips for 12 hours in Mount Maunganui.
1. WALK UP OR AROUND MAUAO
If you only have time to do one thing while you're here, it's got to be a walk up or around Mauao. The walk to the summit takes about 40-minutes and is challenging in parts (we're talking stairs, and lots of them!) - but the view at the top is worth it! The base track walk is equally beautiful and a great alternative if you're not keen on working up a sweat!
2. GRAB SOME BRUNCH AT EDDIES AND ELSPETH
2A Terrace Avenue, Mount Maunganui
This bakery meets cafe is where the locals love to hang out. You'll be treated to an amazing cafe menu full of all the favourites, plus be delighted by the smell of freshly baked goods from the artisan bakery side of the operation. The coffee is good as are the almond croissants.
3. CAKES & SCONES AT SPONGEDROP
10 Salisbury Avenue, Mount Maunganui
Spongedrop Cakery is home to not only the best cupcakes in town, but also the best cheese scones. Located in downtown Mount Maunganui, Spongedrop is a great place to stop for break from shopping - grab a coffee and some cake or a scone and enjoy!
4. CHECK OUT THE SHOPS
Mount Maunganui is not only blessed with some of the country's best beaches, it's also a great place to go shopping. Maunganui Road (referred to locally as 'Main Street') is dotted with boutique clothing and gift stores, galleries, souvenir stores, and plenty of restaurants and bars to keep you hydrated.
5. GRAB SOME VIETNAMESE AT RICE RICE BABY
136 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui
Head down to the coolest (and brightest!) little place in town. Rice Rice Baby serves up the best Vietnamese around - and boy, do they have fun doing it! If the bright green exterior doesn't give it away, the crowded tables certainly will. But don't despair if it looks busy - the food comes out super quick so you won't have to wait long for a table
6. CHILL OUT AT ASTROLABE
82 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui
Keen for something a bit more laidback for the afternoon? Head to Astrolabe and find a table in the sun out the back. There's plenty of space and loads to keep the kids entertained. Grab a beer and some food and settle in! This place is an institution in the Mount and has evolved over the years into what it is today, it's the perfect place to soak up the beachy, surf vibe the Mount is famous for.
7. SPLASH AROUND AT PILOT BAY
A trip to Mount Maunganui wouldn’t be complete without stopping at Pilot Bay (the harbour side of the peninsula); this is a great spot for families with young children who want to splash about in the water without getting knocked off their feet by big waves. The calm water and sensational views appeal to SUP enthusiasts and it’s a perfect place to learn. Grab a waffle cone ice cream from Copenhagen Cones (honestly, the queue is worth it) or fish and chips and enjoy the sunset.
8. ICE CREAM FROM MOUNT MADE
262 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui
Mount Made Ice Cream makes use of the Bay’s fruit-producing superpowers, using hyper-local Bay ingredients like berries from Somerfield’s, tea from Webster’s, chocolate from Solomon’s Gold, kiwifruit from Zespri and grapefruit from friends’ trees. It is by no means your run-of-the-mill ice cream store and is well worth checking out!
9. SEE THE BAY WITH V8 TRIKE TOURS
121 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui
If you're short on time but want to check out the wider Tauranga area - and you love a bit of wind in your hair - then book a tour with V8 Trikes. You'll get to see some of the best spots in the Bay, all while riding on the back of a V8 Chevrolet trike!
10. SHOP UP A STORM AT BAYFAIR
Girven Road, Mount Maunganui
Bayfair is a one-stop-shop for shopping, dining, and entertainment. With over 140 stores and restaurants under one roof, there is plenty to keep everyone entertained for hours!
11. DINNER & DRINKS AT FIFE LANE
512 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui
For a truly exceptional dining experience, Fife Lane is a must. Situated in a rather non-descript building on the main road in Mount Maunganui, Fife Lane offers an unforgettable dining experience. Treat yourself to classy cocktails, an impressive selection of meat (and you get to choose your own steak knife!), vintage wines in an intimate and sophisticated setting.
12. JAPANESE MAORI FUSION AT IZAKAI
19 Girven Road, Mount Maunganui
Once people discover Izakai, they often return. Since opening in Mount Maunganui in May 2019, the restaurant has quickly established itself as a not-to-be-missed dining destination.The menu is given variety through the seasons so there will be new dishes to try and cocktails like the Buzzy Cuzzy (based on a Japanese sour but made with hyper-local ingredients like honey from Pāpāmoa) to sample.
13. EAT LIKE AN ITALIAN AT PIZZAROMA
10 Adams Avenue, Mount Maunganui
For authentic Roman-style pizza (Teglia Romana), head to Pizzaroma at the base of Mauao, opposite Mount Hot Pools. The light, crispy bases are made with a unique dough, making them lighter and easier digest than traditional pizza. Grab some to go and head to the beach to catch the sunset - perfect!
14. GO FOR A SOAK AT MOUNT HOT POOLS
9 Adams Avenue, Mount Maunganui
Hot salt water eases aches and pains and is believed to help improve mobility and detoxify our bodies. A variety of pools are nestled right at the base of Mauao and feature massage jets, shade sails and built-in seating. There’s a terrific toddlers’ pool and you can treat yourself to a soothing massage or private pool if you wish. This is one of the Bay’s top tourist attractions and shouldn’t be missed.
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