Keen for a beach getaway? This 3-night itinerary offers the perfect balance of chilled out beach time (surf lessons, anyone?), amazing food and drink, and time to explore what makes Mount Maunganui so magical.
It’s sure to make you smile.
New Zealand's best beach & day walk, surf, brews, epic food, beachfront accommodation.
By Car (to Tauranga):
From Auckland: 2h 45
From Hamilton: 1h 30
From New Plymouth: 4h 15
From Napier: 3h 45
From Wellington: 6h 30
1: Arrive, and chill.
Take your time on the drive into Mount Maunganui; to get a real taste for this beachfront paradise, be sure to drive along Marine Parade and check out the beach on one side, and some of Aotearoa's most expensive real estate on the other.
Check-in at Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park
This campground is epic. Located at the foot of Mauao, Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park is the ideal spot to park up your caravan, pitch a tent, or stay in one of the well appointed cabins. With the Main Beach on one side and Pilot Bay on the other - you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to ocean and beach adventures!
Mauao Base Track
Locals and manuhiri (visitors) flock to the base track of Mauao for a scenic stroll (or run, if you're that way inclined). You can start from the Surf Club end, or the Pilot Bay end and the easy walk will take about 45 minutes (longer if you stop to take photos, which you will). If you're lucky, you'll see some of our friendly wildlife including seals and plenty of sea birds. Say "hi" to the locals and be sure to keep left so others can pass.
Tip: download the Arataki Cultural Trails app and learn about the history and stories of Mauao.
Dinner at Astrolabe
Grab a bite to eat at Mount Maunganui's iconic Astrolabe Restaurant and Bar. Located in the heart of downtown the Mount, you'll find something for everyone on the menu. If you happen to be in town on a Tuesday, you can grab a beer and a burger for ten bucks (lovingly referred to as 'Tight Ass Tuesday').
Stay in one of NZ's best beachfront holiday parks.
Arataki Cultural Walking Trails
2: Beached as.
Today, you chill. Take your time - grab a coffee (there's plenty of cafe's across the road from the campground serving great coffee and food), breathe in the salty sea air, and figure out how you're going to spend your day.
Need some tips? We've got you covered...
- Grab a towel, a good book, some sunscreen, and some water and take your pick between the Mount Main Beach and Pilot Bay. If you're keen for some waves, head to Main Beach. For slightly calmer waters, Pilot Bay is your best bet.
- Keen to learn how to surf? Mount Main Beach is a great destination for surfers of all levels - including learners. There’s no shortage of breaks and there’s often a good right point break off the tip of Moturiki/Leisure Island. There are plenty of surf schools dotted along the beach if you're keen to get a lesson from a pro.
- Book a session with East Coast Paddler; you can hire a board or even book in for a lesson to learn the art of stand-up paddle boarding
- Jump aboard the Kewpie for a scenic 1-hour cruise around Tauranga Harbour. You can even jump off at Matakana Island, and get picked up later.
- Climb to the summit of Mauao. It wouldn't be a visit to the Mount if you didn't grab a selfie at the top of our iconic maunga. For good reason, this is one of the most instagrammed spots in NZ - the climb to the top is definitely worth it!
- Book a tour with V8 Trikes; these epic trikes are the ideal way to see a bit more of the area - and loads of fun to boot! There is a range of tours to choose from, or customise your own if there's somewhere special you want to go.
- For all the thrill-seekers out there - check out Baystation, home to Blokarts! These fun little wind-powered go-karts will keep everyone entertained, especially those who love a bit of a race! You can also experience drift triking, paint ball and laser tag at the same place.
- Treat yourself to a waffle cone from Copenhagen Cones. Across the road from the Mount Hot Pools (and usually with a queue out the door) is one of longest-standing ice cream shops in the Bay. You can smell the delicious waffles being cooked fresh, ready for you to fill with ice cream and plenty of toppings!
At the end of the day, grab some fish and chips and head to Pilot Bay to watch the sunset.
Explore the best of the Bay with our amazing activity providers!
Discovery Surf School
Mount Maunganui Surf Academy
Hibiscus Surf School
Surf Lessons in Mount Maunganui
Kewpie Cruises - Scheduled One Hour Scenic Harbour Cruise
V8 Trike Tours - Tauranga / Mount Maunganui / Bay of Plenty
3: Beach brews.
There's more to Mount Maunganui than just epic beaches. Something we're a little less famous for is our emerging craft beer scene; our relaxed down-to-earth lifestyle has given rise to a bunch of innovative micro breweries, they're definitely worth checking out!
Brew Bus will take you to the beers! Travel in style to a few carefully selected local breweries where you'll sample some of the best, and get a behind the scenes look at where the magic happens. It's a great day out and is perfect way to see the Bay!
Finish the day off with some more brews and some ridiculously good dumplings at The Rising Tide. Located inside the Mount Brewing Co. brewery, this laidback restaurant and bar is a favourite among the locals - and with 39 craft beers and ciders on tap, you can see why! We recommend a tasting paddle - it's the best way to sample a few of the beers!
Sample some amazing craft beers on a tour with Brew Bus!
Brewbus - New Zealand Craft Beer Tours Limited
The Rising Tide
4: Have a whale of a time.
Make the most of your last day in the Bay - book a marine wildlife tour with Bay Explorer or Dolphin Seafaris! A half-day tour out on the water will see you get up close with some of our precious marine wildlife.
Bay Explorer's 5-hour Dolphin & Wildlife Cruise gives you a genuine kiwi experience and the opportunity to get up close with dolphins, whales, seals, and plenty of other epic wildlife! Hear from the Captain - a qualified marine biologist - as he takes you along the pristine Bay of Plenty coastline - he'll share some of the history of region while on the lookout for sealife. Don't forget your camera - the crew will get you as close as possible to capture all those photo opportunities!
Ever wanted to swim with dolphins? Dolphin Seafaris' 5-hour Wildlife Tour will help you tick that one off the bucket list! Head out of Tauranga Harbour past Mauao and keep an eye out for the local common dolphins; the boat is equipped with swim bars for the best in-water experience - the dolphins swim alongside you while you're in the water! It's doesn't get better than that!
Get up close (and even swim) with our marine wildlife.
Dolphin & Wildlife Cruise - Bay Explorer - Tauranga - Bay of Plenty
Dolphin Viewing and Swimming
Not keen on camping?
We know staying at a campground isn't for everyone! Check out some of the other accommodation options in Mount Maunganui...
Oceanside Resort & Twin Towers
Pavilion Beachfront Apartments
Pacific Coast Lodge and Backpackers
Cosy Corner Holiday Park
The Atrium Apartments
Atlas Suites and Apartments
The Reef Luxury Apartments
Belle Mer Apartments
Pacific Motor Inn
Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park
Papamoa Beach Resort
Calais Mount Resort
Casa del Mare
Cutters Cove Resort Apartments
The Pacific Apartments
Papamoa Beach Paradise
Aquarius Motor Inn
Papamoa Paradise - Amazing Accom
The Beaumont Apartments
Capri on Pilot Bay
Where to eat
Mount Main Street is a busy hub of restaurants, bars and boutique shopping. No matter what you're in the mood for, you'll find something tasty to satisfy your tastebuds. The laidback surf vibe at Astrolabe is appealing if you're after a casual meal or drink - it's great for families with a large outdoor area. For something a little more fancy, head to No.8 or Alpino. Rice Rice Baby is newish to the Mount, it's always busy and once you've been, you'll see why!
Where to start! Choose from a HUGE range of epic eateries, bars and cafes.
The Rising Tide
Tay Street Beach Cafe
Latitude 37 Restaurant - Bar
No.8 Restaurant and Bar
Tiaki - Care for the Bay of Plenty
Tiaki means to care for people and place. The Bay of Plenty has precious wildlife and natural landmarks that we encourage special care of. Our community is incredibly active in protecting and enhancing the place they love and all those who inhabit it - we would love for you to join the locals in sharing that same love of place.
Here are some tips on how you can contribute to Tiaki in the Bay of Plenty:
- Observe closures that are in place to ensure safety and protect environmentally and culturally significant areas. Notably, areas such as Omanawa Falls which is currently closed due to overwhelming pressure on the area’s natural environment.
- Help prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease in our forests. Please scrub your shoes and stay on track.
- Protect marine and bird life by picking up discarded fishing lines.
- Take your rubbish (including cigarette butts) with you.
- Show care for our coastline by staying off the sand dunes.
- Practice responsible boating around vulnerable marine life. Slow down and give marine life a respectful distance.
- Show respect for the Bay of Plenty’s friendly, relaxed surfing culture – there’s waves for everyone and we all want to have a good time in the water.
- Take part in one of the local beach clean-ups that happen around the Bay.
And remember, be sure to smile!