You can see Mount Maunganui’s iconic mountain, Mauao, for miles around – and when you’re standing at its summit, the view is even more impressive.
Mauao stands 232m above sea level and its summit tracks are not a casual stroll. You’ll need a reasonably good level of fitness and mobility to climb to the top but it’s certainly worth the effort.
You can survey the entire Western Bay of Plenty from this vantage point – right down the white sand coastline to Papamoa and beyond, over the harbour and Tauranga’s city suburbs, and north across Matakana Island towards Bowentown and Waihi Beach.
The Kaimai Ranges loom in the distance behind Tauranga while the blue Pacific Ocean stretches out as far as your eyes can see. The view is simply breathtaking. Make sure you take a camera with you to snap a selfie with the city and beach far below.
It’ll take between 30 minutes and 45 minutes to reach the summit, depending on how frequently you stop along the way. Once you’re at the top, there’s the odd picnic table and plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the 360° view. Seek shade in the large pohutukawa trees or find a large rock to perch on.
Mauao means ‘caught be the dawn’ and plenty of people enjoy climbing to the summit to greet each new day. There are several summit tracks to choose from and they’re popular throughout daylight hours. But when the sun is hot it can be hard work, so pace yourself and take plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat.
The two most popular tracks are the Oruahine and Waikorire tracks. Both start from the ocean side of the base track. Just follow the boardwalk along the beach and past the surf lifesaving club to begin.
The Waikorire track is the steepest path, with well-formed staircases winding up the eastern side of this extinct volcano. You’ll reach a section of lovely native bush about two thirds of the way up and can enjoy the rest of your walk to the top in the shade.
The Oruahine track takes you around the northern and western side of Mauao, offering magnificent views of the open ocean and Matakana Island, in particular. This walking track eventually joins the 4WD track and you’ll need to negotiate the steep shingle road to reach the very top.
You can also walk the entire 4WD track which starts at Pilot Bay – however, you cannot drive up here. Vehicles are only allowed up for maintenance and emergencies.
Public toilets are available at both Pilot Bay and in front of the surf lifesaving club on the beachfront. A water fountain is also on the ocean beach side, so make use of whatever facilities you need before you set off.
Please note - There are no rubbish bins on Mauao. Please take all rubbish away with you.
Mt Maunganui (Mauao) Summit Walk
Mt Maunganui Summit Walk